Why your data security needs to be more than a tick in a box
It is the kind of nightmare scenario that keeps IT managers up at night. A major Ransomware attack has completely disabled your systems. All of your business critical data and systems have been encrypted.
Your company grinds to a halt and you can’t operate until the data has been restored. In the meantime, you still need to pay your people. Your customers still expect you to give them the same level of service as before. Trust in your company is on the line.
But it is OK, because you have a back up process. Your data has been securely stored off-site. You give the back up providers a call and ask them to restore your data and get your systems back up and running so your business can operate again.
They say they can do it, but it will take days to restore that much data. So, the big question now is, exactly how much will that cost you, financially, and in terms of reputation?
How seriously do you take data security?
It’s the perfect example of how many companies and organisations treat data security as a tick box exercise. And crucially, how many don’t recognise the difference between simply having a back up solution and having a full disaster recovery solution.
They know that data security is something that needs to be done, and they do it. But many don’t think about why they need to do it, and what it would actually take for them to get things up and running again if the worst happened. So, they set up a back up process, and for many that is the end.
Going back a few years, this attitude was commonplace. At the end of each day, someone would physically take a magnetic tape back up out of the server room, put it in the back of their car and go home. Few organisations actually tested how quickly and easily they could restore their vital data from these back ups. Too often, the reality of how inefficient the system was would only become obvious when it was necessary to restore lost data.
What is the right data security system for you?
Of course, back up systems have come a long way since the days of magnetic tapes. With online cloud storage and searchable, indexed back ups, it is now much easier for organisations to find the backed up copies of the information they need and restore it.
And for businesses with smaller requirements – say half a TB (500GB) of data on a single physical server – simple off site back up solution is often adequate. Restoring that amount of data after a major breach such as a Ransomware attack is a relatively quick process.
But for organisations that have more data to protect, the advantages of having a resilient disaster recovery solution over a simple back up solution become much clearer.
We have seen this happen before for clients who have a large amount of data that they need to secure. Take the example of a client who had over 30 virtual machines running at their site. They opted for a back up solution via a reseller. The data from the virtual machines on their site was backed up to our data centre at regular intervals. At the time, they decided that this was adequate for their needs. But when they were hit by a Ransomware attack it quickly became clear that restoring their data would be a lengthy process.
Why? Because restoring over 7 TBs of data over a typical business’s internet connection takes time – up to three days in this case. For many businesses, that amount of downtime could be hugely costly, both financially and in terms of their reputation.
Disaster Recovery – a more resilient alternative
Essentially, a back up is simply a process where we make a copy of your data at regular intervals. And if the worst happens, we then send you that copy. The time it takes to get to you depends on the size of the data package we’re dealing with. That could be days for large amounts.
In contrast, our disaster recovery solution gives you the ability to get your business up and running again in a matter of hours. Here’s how it works. We create virtual machines – replicas of those you (or if you are a reseller, the client) has at their own site – in our own data centre. We then regularly replicate the data created by the client onto these virtual machines. We handle all of the technical side of the process and give the client access to an easy to use portal to view the system if they need to. These virtual machines only run when they need to, reducing the retainer costs we charge the client for the service.
Then, if the worst happens, we spin up the virtual machines at our data centre, and ensure that the client can connect to them quickly in order to get their business back up and running as soon as possible. Depending the restore points and restore time objectives they’ve agreed to, this could be within a few hours.
Is it time to look again at your back up solution?
The bottom line here is that we simply encourage every organisation to think more deeply about why they are securing their data, and whether their current process is adequate. This is crucial because many companies don’t go much further than simply putting a back up in place and ticking a box to say that they’ve done it.
But what are you trying to achieve with this back up? What are you going to do with your back up when you need it? How easy is it to restore lost data using your current set up? And how long will it take? Crucially, if your business is down for a week, how much more is it going to cost you than investing in a disaster recovery system?
A disaster recovery solution can initially be more expensive than a standard back up. But we always encourage our clients to think about what business continuity and reputation is worth. If your business is interrupted, you still have to pay your teams. Customer trust is a valuable commodity, and can be quickly lost.
Ultimately, our take is that losing all of this is far more costly than paying for a resilient solution that will protect your business continuity. With a disaster recovery solution, we take on the technical support, and manage your data with secure hosting in the UK. We also have the ability to use MS Azure in different regions worldwide.
Need some help?
If you would like to discuss how you safeguard business continuity within your organisation, we’d love to talk to you.
We would be happy to discuss back up and disaster recovery options with you, and come up with a cost-effective solution that will keep your organisation up and running if your data security is breached.
Call us today on +44 (0)3453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk and we will be happy to help.