The Importance of Data Loss Prevention Systems
In a world where data has become a valuable commodity, experiencing data loss can be catastrophic for a business. It can cripple not just day-to-day operations; it can also have long-lasting effects on your business' medium to long-term goals. And now that telecommuting and work-from-home (WFH) arrangements are starting to become more mainstream, the opportunities for data loss have become a lot bigger than they used to be. So, protecting data shouldn't be an afterthought for businesses trying to thrive in a digitally savvy world.
The Real Impact of Data Loss
From customer databases and marketing strategies, inventory and stock keeping, to crucial business processes, organizations rely on up-to-date data to function. Any interference in the collection or use of data at any point can cost businesses a lot of money. Productivity losses can be expected when organizations experience data loss. Production stoppages and idle employee wages due to lost or inaccessible data can costs companies large sums of money. There may also be exorbitant regulatory fines that come with the territory. However, a company's reputation and credibility can also take a nosedive when they experience data loss. While it is not easy to quantify reputational damages, its long-term effects can certainly add up over time, making it a loss that is a bit more difficult to swallow.
Broad Opportunities and Threats for Data Loss
On-site Backups: While creating a physical backup drive can be an easy and cost-effective way of protecting personal data, it is not a realistic approach for even the smallest business. At the most basic level, organizations make use of automatic backup systems and methodologies. This means automating the backup process on a secondary server at regular intervals throughout the day. This way, if ever a data loss incident occurs, a copy of the data can still be recovered on-site. These systems could be scaled as per business needs, ranging from a single storage rack in an office room to an entire floor of redundant storage.
With on-site backups, recovery usually can be achieved in a couple of hours or maybe even after a couple of minutes after an on-site event. This can effectively minimize the financial losses of losing productivity due to a data loss incident. One obvious issue with local or on-site backups is that they are not the best protection method for data loss against natural or man-made disasters. If the secondary server is located in the same vicinity of the primary server, physical harm could render both sources of data irrecoverable.
Off-site Backups: To remedy the vulnerability of locally managed hardware, backing crucial data off-site is an ever increasingly popular option. This approach entails organizations using servers located at a different location to ensure that they can be made available even during catastrophic incidents at the office or primary data center. For example, it is common practice for companies in the U.S. to have data in geographically opposite locations across the country to minimize the risk of loss in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a hurricane.
Scheduling backup snapshots is a relatively simple way of setting up data protection. However, if anything goes wrong, the backup must be restored in order for it to become available when needed for the business processes to resume. Instead, creating a replication system in a separate location lets you avoid a lengthy process of re-deploying cloud data. This way the only step required to resume operations is to restore the system state. The current preferred way to ensure data protection is to have multiple failover options by having mirrored systems at different off-site locations which will facilitate continuous access in the event of a disaster.
These options have benefits beyond just the physical location redundancy and disaster mitigation. Companies specializing in cloud DRP solutions often have systems in place that are built and managed by experts in the field. Reputable vendors offer excellent data redundancy and uptime while having state of the art security measures in place. For companies where managing in house data units and raid configurations is unrealistic or not worth the risk, Disaster Recovery as a service is a very attractive option. An exception to this could be cases with very specific data privacy requirements.
It might be important to also note that in case of a large data loss, it might take longer for the business to recover operational status, since data still needs to be transferred from the off-site server. However, there are commercial solutions that provide physical shipment of data storage pods for cases in which sending the actual drives is a better fit than online data transfer.
Common concerns and solutions
Data can be lost, even if it’s only waiting to be accessed. Hardware aging is a common problem for data stored too long. Hard drives, for example, have a finite number of read and write capacity. When that limit is exceeded, data can potentially become irrecoverable. Improper hardware maintenance can be a huge factor in premature device aging. It's essential to ensure that data drives and storage units are kept in a well-ventilated space that is often inspected according to industry regulations.
Physical infrastructure can be supplemented with precautionary measures with the objective of preventing a disaster in the first place.
• Surge protection to help decrease the effect of power fluctuations on electronic equipment.
• Fire prevention and mitigation.
• Backup generators and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to keep systems going in the event of a power failure.
• Intrusion prevention by enforcing restricted physical access to data center facilities.
Data Loss Prevention is a world of its own. If finding the right solutions for your company seems daunting, having a strategic partner like KNDCODE can help navigate and select them based on your software development and operation’s specific needs.