Are you backing up junk and missing the jewels?
Here’s the risk - and the remedy.

11 Jun 2020

Your backup’s rolling, and so all’s well with the world.

Only it’s probably not, because research we carried out recently indicates that only about 21% of available business data is being protected by backup, on average.

This means that some 79% of data is not being protected, with a correspondingly high probability that what is slipping through the net includes data that is business-critical.

In fact, as we mentioned in an earlier post, a study of over 500 UK businesses by IT specialist Beaming revealed some pretty shocking numbers on data backup and data loss, with well over 50% of UK businesses at risk of losing critical data!

Why do organisations get critical data backup so wrong?

The challenge is this: different kinds of business data come with different degrees of risk attached to a failure to back them up.

Focusing backup in the wrong places can mean you’re protecting junk and missing the jewels, but it can also cause you to burn through system capacity unnecessarily, rendering the resources available for essential backup scarcer, and – when you then need to expand them – more costly.

In short, you need to make sure you’re backing up the right stuff, and enough of it, in the right places, or face snowballing data and financial risk.

But how do you do this, without spending many hours manually trawling through a mountain of electronic information which, in any case, changes by the second?

Insight is all

The key is to choose a backup system that has an in-built understanding of the kind of data that’s there, how it behaves and how users interact with it, and the backup actions it should therefore prompt.

Broadly speaking, this is about automatically flagging three issues to you:

  1. Data that is not backed up (a potential operating / business continuity / compliance risk) and which devices it is being stored on
  2. Data that is ‘stale’ (not accessed for a significant length of time and therefore potentially either riskily out of date or simply taking up space unnecessarily)
  3. Data that is reaching server capacity (potentially requiring archiving).

If your backup system can surface these issues as they happen, in a centralised console that covers all your data, it can raise real-time opportunities to reduce risk, increase system efficiencies and make more cost-effective use of capacity.

After all, as long as you can see it, you can probably deal with it!

Bringing backup out of the background

This kind of backup is already available, but what it will ultimately deliver is more than the ability to bring you actionable insights into where absence of backup is an issue and where less so.

Instead, it will intelligently examine combinations of factors like data types, volumes and file sizes in order to evaluate case-by-case risk and, where necessary, automatically produce proactive alerts.

For instance, we are working hard to develop the Insights feature so it shows you messages like “You have 10GB of PDFs not selected for backup”, “You have 12,000 Word documents not backed up,” or “You have an SQL database on your system but you are not protecting it” all to identify, based on the combination of information available, backup issues that are potentially urgent for any organisation.

And given that nearly half of all Board directors (47%) and one in three small business owners (31%) say human error and accidental loss have already been the cause of data breaches within their organisation, according to research cited in specialist publication Helpnetsecurity.com, it’s only by bringing backup out of the background and putting it right in users’ line of sight in this way that you will ensure your organisation’s resilience.

Know what’s important – and protect it

“He who defends everything defends nothing”, said Frederick the Great, and the point that he was making was that your priority must be to provide adequate protection for all your greatest points of risk.

And so it is with your data – the greater the damage you would incur if you lost it, the greater the importance of keeping it protected by backup.

Do you suspect that, in the 21% of data that you’re probably currently backing up, you’re missing much of what you should be jealously guarding? But you just can’t look into it easily enough to be sure?

Sounds like you need to take action – and learning more about what Insight means is a great place to start.