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Keep the Gremlins Out of Your Data: Take These 4 Steps

By Shridar Subramanian, CMO, Arcserve:

Halloween is a time of scary monsters and eerie happenings. It’s also a time to think about the many gremlins that can assail your company’s data and wreak havoc with your business.

The most frightening data horror story in recent memory is about Pixar during the production of Toy Story 2. One of the film’s animators accidentally entered the wrong command and instantly deleted about 90% of the film’s files. Even worse, the data backup system malfunctioned due to inadequate disk space. For a brief, bloodcurdling moment, it looked like almost the entire production would be lost. Thankfully, after much blood, sweat, and tears, the crew recovered the data and restored the film files.

But not every data horror story ends well, and I’ve witnessed my share of data disasters. For example, one small company I know was backing up all its data on tape drives. At the end of each day, the Managing Director would bring the current drive back to his home for safekeeping. One evening, he put the tape on the top of his car and drove away without noticing. The company immediately lost all its data for the previous day.

Sadly, data-loss horror stories are now a more common occurrence as millions of people around the globe continue to work remotely. Moving employees, computers, and data from a secure office setting to a less secure remote environment introduces a hair-raising number of data-loss risks, from human errors to technical glitches and cyberattacks.

Here are four ways to ward off evil and ensure your corporate data stays safe and secure this Halloween and all year-round.

1: Never stop testing
A global survey of IT decision-makers conducted by Dimensional Research found that nearly a quarter of all organizations don’t test their data-recovery plan or don’t have a data recovery plan in the first place. It’s vital to regularly test your backups and your ability to recover in the case of data loss. The last thing you want is to rely on a backup that ends up not working and then lose your data in an emergency, whether it’s a cyberattack, a natural disaster, or a system failure.

While having a backup is essential, recovering all data completely and quickly is just as crucial for business continuity. Testing your data recovery plan and your ability to restore from existing backups is the only way to ensure that you can recover the data you depend on if it’s lost. Organizations should make it a habit to periodically test their backup copies to ensure they can reliably restore their data.

2: Embrace multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the most critical security features for protecting your corporate data. With millions of passwords constantly being stolen and becoming available to attackers, many businesses are now implementing MFA to provide an extra layer of security. Adding a second factor of authentication is vital for protecting your accounts and locking down data. According to the latest Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, MFA is especially crucial given that 61% of all breaches involve stolen or compromised credentials.

By requiring employees to enter more than just a password to gain access to their data, you make it harder for a criminal to impersonate that employee. With MFA, a stolen password alone is not enough to gain access, so you’re putting a big hurdle in the path of cybercriminals. And cybercriminals don’t like hurdles. They want the low-hanging fruit.

3: Encourage employees to back up their data
When employees work remotely, they tend not to be as vigilant as they would be in the office. They’re using their home PCs and clicking on links that perhaps they should not be clicking on, which puts their data at greater risk. But worse, that increased risk directly puts your corporate data at risk as well. That’s why it’s so important to encourage employees to be responsible and back up their data regularly.

You should also adopt the 3-2-1-1 data-protection strategy. The 3-2-1-1 strategy directs that you have three backup copies of your data on two different media, such as disk and tape, with 1 of those copies located offsite for disaster recovery. The final one in this equation is immutable object storage.

4: Make data protection a priority
Consider implementing a data storage solution that can protect your data from human error wherever it lives—on-premises, offsite, or in the cloud. The most effective solutions can quickly recover individual files and systems—or a whole data center—in minutes while ensuring that the data is always available, no matter what happens.

This sounds almost too good to be true – like someone offering your favorite Halloween candy! But with next-generation solutions, this scenario can be easily achieved. These solutions provide immutable object storage, which safeguards data from human error by taking snapshots of that data every few seconds. Because the object store is immutable, it can be quickly restored even if someone tampers with the data.

Your business data experience does not have to be fraught with worry at Halloween or any time of year. With the right strategies and systems in place, you can prevent data loss and keep the gremlins in the closet.

Learn more at Arcserve.

Continuity Insights

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