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Data Resilience Strategy: Consider a Multi-Layered Approach

Data Resilience Strategy

Data Resilience Strategy

This is part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories. In this submission, Arcserve Director of Product Management Ahsan Siddiqui offers advice on how to create an effective data resilience strategy via a multi-layered approach.

What is data resilience? In a nutshell, it’s a mindset that all organizations should adopt to meet their business-continuity plans and keep their operations up and running. There are many moving parts, but overall, it’s as simple as that.

The good news is that 83 percent of IT decision-makers are now including data resilience in their business strategies, according to a global survey by Arcserve. The bad news is that only 23 percent have a mature approach to data resilience.

It is not enough because a solid data resilience plan is essential as organizations move to hybrid IT environments. When performance needs arise or a catastrophic failure occurs, organizations must have a well-thought-out and battle-tested plan for recovering their data.

The reality is that data is the fuel that modern businesses run on. When companies lose access to their data, they lose the ability to go forward. Data resilience prevents this from happening. It allows every organization to quickly recover from a data-threatening event and flourish in the digital economy.

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Data Resilience Strategy

Here are three key steps to help your business develop a robust data resilience strategy:

Create a Plan (and Test it Often)

The strength of any data resilience strategy depends on the regular testing and adjustment of all its parts. To be reactive is not good enough. You can’t wait for a disaster or attack to occur, then scramble to implement your strategy and find out if it’s good enough or not. Planning and testing are indispensable to success. Indeed, a well-devised and continuously tested data resilience strategy can mean the difference between having a business and having no business.

Numerous studies have shown that organizations that suffer a ransomware attack or other type of data-loss event have a lot of difficulties winning back their customers. One study showed that 88 percent of customers would stop using the services or products of a business they no longer trust and that 39 percent lose trust in a company that misuses data or suffers a data compromise. You get the idea. A data-loss event or hack of any kind can be fatal.

Get Executive Buy-In

Data resilience should be the responsibility of top executives and business owners, not just the IT department. And yet data resilience is still not a priority in the C-suite of many organizations. It must be, especially with introducing new cybersecurity measures such as the NIS 2 Directive in the EU. A successful data resilience initiative starts at the top, with buy-in from C-level executives and the board of directors. When this happens, the rest of the organization will recognize the importance of the effort, keep it top of mind and rise to the occasion when necessary.

Data resilience initiatives face slow adoption in many organizations precisely because they lack champions at the top. Like any investment, a data resilience initiative needs support from the whole company, from the corner office to the cubicles, across every department. It also requires buy-in from external partners and service providers. For an initiative to work, all participants must know their role in everyday operations and during a disruptive event. Without buy-in from all parties, there will be some who don’t perform when the chips are down.

Take a Multi-Layered Approach

The key to achieving data resilience is a “multi-layered approach” and deploying an infrastructure that supports all your data resilience requirements. One vital layer is doing frequent backups and creating copies that can be stored in a digital immutable vault. During this process, storage snapshots should be taken and secured in a vault. When a disaster or attack happens, and data is compromised, you have these snapshots available for instant recovery. Indeed, that’s how the Italian municipality of Palermo recovered its data after a recent cyber-attack.

Automation and orchestration are two other important parts of a multi-layered approach, which help streamline data recovery. These parts should include processes and automated workflows that instill consistency and minimize complexity when time is of the essence and quick thinking is required. That way, you can bring back your data fast and get back to business as usual without critical damage to your business.

Another critical element of a multi-layered approach is 3-2-1-1 data protection. It means maintaining three backup copies of your data on two different media – tape and disk, with one of the copies placed offsite to enable quick recovery. Further, you should have one immutable object storage copy. Immutable object storage continuously protects data by taking a snapshot at 90-second intervals. Even if disaster strikes, those data snapshots enable you to return to a recent file state.

Final Thoughts

A good data resilience strategy does a lot for your business. It enables you to manage rapid data growth and handle various workloads, unify data recovery and quickly get back up and running after any event that compromises your data. It brings many benefits to your organization, including enhanced performance, reduced costs, reliable and efficient business operations, minimized risk, and strong protection in every part of your company.

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