Data Recovery: Averting Disaster in the New Normal

Data breaches are the new normal, with threats such as ransomware and malware attacks continuing to increase in velocity and ferocity. In today’s world, it’s not a matter of if an organization’s data will be compromised, it’s a matter of when.

Yet, despite this new reality, a new study from Dimensional Research commissioned by StorageCraft shows that 66% of IT decision-makers believe that their CEOs don’t want to know the details of data recovery or aren’t interested in it. In other words, many CEOs either don’t know or don’t care what steps their organizations can take to recover data in the case of an attack.

Focusing on Data Recovery

In today’s digital age, where data is the lifeblood of every organization, this is turning a blind eye to a critical vulnerability. With attacks and resulting data loss all but certain, data recovery should be at the top of every organization’s priority list.

The question for every business leader and business owner is this: Are you having the right business continuity discussions with your IT teams and partners, and are you setting the right metrics for data recovery?

Perhaps you’ve convinced yourself that because you migrated your data to the cloud, it is safe and sound. Maybe you have complete confidence in your cloud provider to protect your data. Sadly, reality usually doesn’t support this conclusion.

When moving to the cloud, every organization needs to appreciate the fact that cloud security is a shared responsibility between the data owner and the cloud service provider. Leading providers including AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform typically secure the core infrastructure and services as part of their responsibility. When it comes to securing corporate data, however, that responsibility lies squarely in the hands of the customers. Organizations that don’t realize this obligation face a higher likelihood of suffering data loss.

Creating a cadence of regular discussions, metric setting and reporting on your organization’s security posture is only half of the equation. While prevention is always a priority, preparing for the eventuality of data loss is a wise investment of energy. We are entering the “recovery era” in data management, which means robust and tested recovery plans are essential.

Following are the three most important steps business leaders can take immediately to get on top of the data recovery issue and minimize business downtime, should disaster strike.

Have a Heart-to-Heart With Your Technology Team

Your IT team wants to know that you’re listening to them and that you’re taking the problem of data loss and recovery seriously. Indeed, 69% of survey respondents don’t think their CEO is adequately aware of or appropriately concerned about the business impact of data issues.

It’s time to turn this around by engaging your technology team. Ask them how confident they are in your company’s ability to recover from severe data loss. Can it be done in a week? In a day? Or in an hour? The answer to these questions can shape the economic impact to your company of a data loss event. Ask them about your company’s recovery plan and when was the last time it was tested? Because even though 96% of companies have a data recovery plan, Dimensional Research discovered that nearly a quarter never bothered to test that plan.

Most tech folks have real anxiety over data growth, data loss and business continuity. And they don’t want to suffer in silence. Engaging with your team to gain a shared perspective of risk level, business impact and mitigation approaches can ensure that your IT infrastructure is aligned with your business imperatives. So, have these conversations with your tech team and let them know that you share their concerns and have their backs. When crisis strikes, your team will have yours in return.

Invite the Entire Organization to Participate in the Discussion

When you have that conversation about data loss and prevention, bring cross-functional teams into the mix. This includes your employees from sales, marketing, engineering and customer service. You may have a marketing executive who is working on a big data analytics project or a field service leader who is working on gathering remote telemetry data on all your customers or even an engineering lead implementing a new AI or big data project.

These teams and their projects are shaping the future of your business, so you should involve them in the conversation. First, all members of the tech team should be aware of their data availability and reliability requirements for their respective projects. If they know the extent of data that needs protection, they can put in place the necessary infrastructure to ensure that all new data can be backed up and restored quickly when needed. Secondly, it’s vital for you, the CEO, to hear those conversations firsthand so you understand the impact of data loss on the business and what resources your technology team will need to protect your data and the future of your company.

Don’t Wait to Act

The expression that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may never be as applicable as it is now. Our world is being rocked by three exponential trends feeding this crisis—the explosive growth of data, the virulent spread of ransomware and increasing business value of continuous access to our critical information. Combine these trends with strict new regulations and compliance requirements around data management—such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, Europe’s GDPR and Australia’s Notifiable Data Breach scheme—and it’s clear that addressing these issues now, while the trends are still in their early stages, will be the much more effective and cost-efficient approach.

When it comes to getting ahead of the curve and making data storage and recovery a priority, there is no day better than today. Leaders and companies that can figure out a game plan today will be better positioned to make the most of their data tomorrow.

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