Tag Archives: Data Loss

Mitigating Security Risks in the Cloud

Many understand the importance of data and agree that data should be protected in an efficient manner.  Companies are also realising that moving essential services to the cloud — from CRM to voice to communications — has many advantages.  In order to develop an efficient data protection, storage and transfer protocol, most rely on the cloud. The Cloud based models are more flexible, efficient, scalable, and integrated. These have great potential to save money. On the other hand, careless, unplanned migration to the cloud could bring its own issues and risks, and therefore, a careful well thought after plan is needed before migrating to the cloud.

Data breaches have become a daily global occurrence these days. Leading organisations, associations and groups are facing security threats on a daily basis. So, how do you minimise the chances of data loss or breach?

The cloud enables the users to store data in multiple locations for easy access and restore in case of a disaster. It is very important to have all your security related questions answered from the vendor you are planning to use.  Here are some tips for users who want to reduce the risks while moving to the cloud.

Get Answers to your Security Questions:

Get connected with the online representatives and ask the basic security questions. It would be better if you discuss the concerned security matters with the experts and find out if they align with yours. In most cases, the clients ask following questions:

What type of data protection strategies does your company use to avoid data loss?

  1. Is customer support available for 24/7?
  2. What are the modern techniques (feature sets) being used to protect my data?
  3. Any data breach at your company? If so, tell me how you handled it?
  4. Do you have a security checklist template that we can check?

Partnering with a cloud based service provider has added benefits, as the provider has its own experts in house that can monitor up-time, implement security measures, monitor services around the clock, and implement necessary protocols to protect and backup the data.

Always check the proper security facilities and features. This can be done by checking the history of a cloud service provider (for instance, by talking to present and former clients, reading reviews online).

Consider the following four factors to evaluate cloud service providers:

  1. Secure facility for storage: The cloud service provider should provide details about the security of their storage facilities. While digital security is important, security of the actual physical premises and the employees who work there are also very critical.
  1. Preventive activities: As hackers are becoming creative to be successful in breaches to access data, service providers must have security protocols in place to stop potential risks before they actually happen. The cloud service providers should satisfy the client, for instance, by showing that they encrypt the data during its flight and at rest; monitor any risks 24/7; and inform the clients when security is a concern.
  1. Privacy of data: Data stored in the digital data centres should be treated with high degree of security, as they are important for the users. It is required to check how a service provider maintains the privacy of data. All types of materials such as files, folders, video conferencing data, and call recording data should remain safe and secure, with encryption technologies.
  1. Data loss protection:In case of a sudden data loss, the service provider should have an efficient data recovery system to quickly restore the data. Alert systems help in achieving an efficient data recovery.

Derisory Backup Methods Results in Data Loss

Data recovery provider, Kroll Ontrack, has released results from its second annual survey of customers who lost valuable data.

One of the key findings from the survey was that consumers and businesses have increased their attempts to protect their data by backing it up but have used inadequate methods which resulted in data loss.

The survey results report that 65% of respondents had a backup solution in place at the time of a data loss incident. This is a 5% increase from the figures reported in 2013. What is concerning is that 59% of respondents claimed that they were taking a backup to an external hard drive. 15% utilised a cloud based backup solution whilst 10% used a tape based backup solution. 55% of the respondents also claimed that they made sure backups ran on a daily basis.

Despite so many consumers and businesses utilising a backup method, the main reasons for backups failing and therefore resulting in data loss are:

–          The external drive was only connected on an occasional basis; backup not automated and instead performed on demand.

–          The backup ran out of destination space.

–           The backup profile did not cover all of the device requiring backup.

Abhik Mitra who is a data recovery product manager at Kroll Ontrack believes that having a data backup solution in place is just one step to ensure that data isn’t lost.

Mitra stated, “As the year-over-year survey results demonstrate, conducting backups is just step one in a complete backup strategy. Regularly ensuring your backup solution works effectively and the data is accessible is also paramount.”

As there are now a host of backup solutions available, there are very little excuses for businesses to be utilising a solution that isn’t adequate to meet their needs and demands. This survey also exposes the lack of quality that some backup solutions provide to consumers and businesses as data loss still occurs when backups are meant to be running.

Mitra added, “With backup technology getting better in quality and price, it is no surprise we saw an uptick in the percentage of people implementing a backup solution. What is interesting is that those that spend time, effort and money to implement the solution still experienced data loss, proving that one needs to be extremely diligent to ensure their chosen backup method is successful.”

One feature of a backup solution that is regularly overlooked is the monitoring aspect. An effective monitoring system that is easy to understand can help reduce the likelihood of a data loss incident from occurring. A cloud based backup solution also brings several advantages than other solutions and should be seriously considered.

Do you utilise a backup solution? Are you confident that you can recover your data no matter what happens?

Is Virtualisation / Agile IT Exposing Businesses to Data Loss?

Virtualisation is fast becoming the standard in IT infrastructures, giving IT managers decreased deployment time, and increased flexibility. Regardless of where that virtual environment resides, the cloud or onsite, IT professionals now have the ability to spin up new servers in minutes. With all the positives that Virtualisation brings (there are numerous), is this new ease of deployment leading to careless planning and deployment which is leaving business exposed to data loss?

For example, if a new SQL server was required for testing or development of a new business application, traditionally a new server would be required. This process includes an application for the expense to management or the finance department, there was then the waiting time for delivery, deployment and configuration. Standard practice would then be to add the new server to the backup routine during the deployment or configuration stage.

In a virtual environment, that new SQL server can now be agreed, specd and deployed in a morning through the Hypervisor GUI or Cloud provider’s interface. All to often backups are not included in that process, or everything is backed up including elements that shouldnt. This careless or blas attitude to deployment and backups could be costing business money, in more ways than one. Let’s not forget that this scenario only deals with a test server. In virtual environments, business critical servers, such as exchanges or live database servers are often hosted, meaning that backing up that virtual server (or preferably the entire environment) becomes a necessity.

Consider the company is using a capacity based backup model, being billed on a per GB or per TB basis. The new server has 2Tb of data residing on it, some needed some irrelevant. The addition of the whole server would see a dramatic increase in the business’s backup costs.

Now consider that the server wasnt added to the backup cycle and 4 months of development work for the new application all resides on said server. However the day before deployment of this application, the underlying storage fails, and 4 months work is gone forever, or at the very least is difficult to recover, costing more time and ultimately money.

With the importance of IT systems growing each day, it has never been as important to ensure that effective and efficient backup systems are in place that give your business the protection and recovery capabilities that are needed to minimise impact and cost to the company. Company networks and infrastructures are becoming increasingly diverse, as more products become available. Having a backup product in place that can manage all important aspects of a business’s IT infrastructure is a vital part of good business practice.

Disaster Recovery: Federal Agencies Unprepared

A new report named Disaster Unpreparedness has been published by MeriTalk which is an online community and go-to resource for government IT. The report which was underwritten by NetApp and SwishData details how confident IT professionals working for federal agencies are with their current data backup and disaster recovery solutions.

In December 2012, MeriTalk surveyed 150 Federal Department of Defence and civilian IT professionals to see how confident they are with their current disaster recovery strategy, how resilient they deem their strategy to be and how often they test their strategy.

The federal IT professionals who participated in the survey scored themselves very highly for their data backup and disaster recovery preparedness with 70% giving their agency a grade of A or B. Despite the IT professionals awarding their agency such high marks for their data backup and disaster recovery preparedness, only 8% believed that they would be able to recover all the data in the event of a natural or man-made incident.

It is widely expected that the IT professionals who are working for the federal agencies and their current data backup and disaster recovery solutions will come under greater pressure in the next couple of years as the amount of data that they are dealing with is expected to increase. Agencies expect that the amount of data needed to be backed up will grow by 39% and therefore causing a huge amount of problems. 25% of the Federal IT professionals believe that their current data backup and disaster recovery solution will only be suitable for the next 12 months and no longer whilst 46% believe that their current solution will be sufficient for the next 12 months.

The federal IT professionals are also experiencing problems with testing their disaster recovery plan as often as they would wish. It was reported that on average, their disaster recovery plan was tested 2.5 times in the last 12 months. However, when asked how many times they would recommend running their disaster recovery plan in 12 months, an average of 5.3 was suggested. It was also revealed that the main reason for the federal IT professionals not being able to run their disaster recovery plan as often as they would like was due to lack of funding which contributed for 68%, a lack of support from the agency owners and having an incomplete solution in place both contributed for 42% each.

The importance of having a fully working and tested backup and disaster recovery solution in place is vital for the running of a company in the event of a man-made or natural disaster. Ideally, you will utilise a robust cloud based solution where your data is stored in two geographically separated data centres. Having the knowledge that you can recover your data, no matter what happens at your office and/or the primary data centre where a copy of your backed up data is being kept is becoming ever more important. By not being able to recover 1% of your data could have a detrimental impact on the reputation of your business and financially.

Why utilise a solution when you believe that it will not be able to cope with your expected data growth and cannot recover all of your data in the event of a disaster?

Can your backup solution cope with data growth? Are you confident that you can recover all your data in the event of a disaster?

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