Every organization relies on the data it collects and generates to track key metrics and make important decisions to propel business growth.
Client information, internal human-resources documents, and intellectual property are all housed on an organization’s hard drives and servers, in the cloud through a hosting provider, or through a combination of both.
If that data is lost or destroyed, companies can face a host of negative consequences.
While most organizations understand the importance of having a data backup and recovery plan, many continue to keep data backup servers on site, saved to a hard drive, or on other hardware storage devices.
Heavily regulated industries that handle sensitive data have typically relied on on-premises IT personnel to back up data and manage storage plans.
For example, some healthcare organizations spend as much as 64% of their IT budgets on local data backup hardware and the technician hours required to back up their data manually.
The world of finance and insurance is subject to national and industry regulations, and many institutions have clung to traditional backup architecture due to concerns about third-party data storage.
While cloud providers have responded to this concern by investing in controls to meet regulatory compliance and security requirements for highly sensitive data, many companies still use on-premises solutions.
Why data backup solutions are so vital
Backing up files creates a copy of data for easy retrieval in the event of data loss. This ensures that file corruption, user error, system failures, and other causes of data loss do not compromise an organization’s data security.
Many on-premises solutions may not provide automatic cloud backup options, which can increase the risk of losing sensitive business data for good.
Without the right data backup solution in place, your files and information could be rendered inaccessible. Storing data copies in more than one format and location ensures operational recovery in the event of primary data loss or corruption.
The following scenarios highlight the importance of using separate systems and locations in the event of data failure.
With the increasing occurrence of natural disasters, provisions for data protection are more important than ever. For example, Hurricane Harvey forced staff to leave medical records behind when they evacuated medical patients.
Fires, earthquakes, and tornadoes can all leave an organization reeling. If the primary data’s storage location is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, the recovery process is next to impossible without remote backup solutions.
Companies must be uncompromising when it comes to the security of their backup files. Data breaches surged by 38% in the second quarter of 2021, and that number is expected to increase. Without secure file backups, the cost of data loss may be more than some companies can handle.
In addition, downtime caused by data loss impacts a company’s profitability, with just an hour of downtime costing larger enterprises around $700,000.
Organizations that implement off-site, automatic data backup solutions that encrypt data at the file level can minimize their risk of loss.
If a disgruntled employee leaves company property with a hard drive, a simple restoration from cloud storage can retrieve the data. If a hacker steals millions of encrypted files, an automatically backed up database will be able to restore the data.
It’s important to note that while automatic backup provides a copy of the data, any stolen data itself is still vulnerable. To keep data from being misused, organizations should also incorporate file point security solutions. This allows IT administrators to remotely wipe or destroy data on a device that has been lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised.
Physical access restrictions
If the COVID-19 pandemic taught businesses anything, it is that they cannot rely on employees having physical access to on-site data.
As social distancing and quarantine restrictions were put into place, companies had to scramble to find remote work solutions for their employees so they could still access their data from outside of the office.
According to a recent report, organizations that shifted to remote work without implementing enhanced data security measures took longer to identify and contain breaches.
With the increased application and popularity of remote work options, IT administrators must consider how to back up and protect data stored on personnel’s devices, including their home computers or mobile devices.
Questions to ask when evaluating data backup solutions
Having the right data backup solution is a key element of any business continuity strategy. While there are numerous methods available for avoiding data loss, no solution is one-size-fits-all. When reviewing backup types, keep the following considerations in mind.
1. What is the backup method?
There are three primary methods of data backup: full, incremental, and differential.
- A full backup makes a copy of all existing data files. While this method is the most comprehensive and yields the fastest recovery time, it consumes the most storage space and has the slowest backup time of any method.
- A differential backup backs up only files that have been added or edited since the original full backup. This method has moderate storage space requirements, a moderate backup speed, and a moderate restoration speed when compared with the other methods.
- An incremental backup copies only the data added or edited since the last backup. This method yields the fastest backup speed, requires the least storage space, and has the slowest restoration time of any method.
2. Will administrators and employees use the solution?
Ease of use directly correlates to how quickly employees adopt a solution. The right backup solution will be easily accessible, whether personnel are in the office or working remotely.
If the steps to back up files are too complex or time-consuming, employees may not follow them on a regular basis. A solution that enables automatic backups can solve this problem, ensuring that data is backed up on a set schedule.
Look for file backup processes that are comprehensive and able to scale to meet changing data volume requirements. The solution should offer multiple types of backups, including local, on-premises storage, and cloud backup options.
This hybrid approach to storing backup files gives organizations the enhanced speed and control of local backups combined with the flexibility and scalability of cloud backups.
3. Does the backup environment allow for encryption?
Data encryption restricts access to an organization’s files, information, and other valuable data. This added layer of protection ensures that only authorized users can restore lost, damaged, or stolen data.
There are various options when it comes to creating encrypted backups, and finding the best method depends on factors such as the types of backup files, storage environments, and applicable industry or regulatory requirements.
The two primary forms of data encryption are full-disk and file-based encryption.
- Full-disk encryption encrypts at the hardware level, converting data into a format accessible only with the proper authentication key. This type of encryption helps protect devices and servers from loss, theft, and OS vulnerabilities but does not encrypt anything beyond the disk level. If the system is compromised, bad actors gain access to all file contents and metadata.
- File-level encryption goes beyond the whole disk to encrypt individual files and directories. An encrypted file can only be accessed by authorized individuals, which makes file-based encryption an important component of secure file sharing.
WinZip Enterprise provides secure, customizable data backup
Regardless of company size or industry, every organization needs data backup to protect sensitive and valuable information. WinZip® Enterprise enhances system security with bank- and military-grade encryption and automatic file backup capabilities.
This solution also has the added benefit of data compression, ensuring that you can fit more files in your backup storage, which can help reduce data storage costs.
WinZip Enterprise offers a host of exclusive, enterprise-level features including cloud storage integration, SharePoint integration, support for virtual drive files, and more. Its best-in-class encryption capabilities protect sensitive data, making it the trusted choice for over 100,000 businesses worldwide.
Featuring native integration with leading cloud storage providers, WinZip Enterprise makes it easy to manage, encrypt, and share data across common cloud storage services and communication platforms, including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams.
It also enables IT administrators to control access to cloud services and social media, which helps prevent users from sharing files on or through unauthorized platforms.
WinZip Enterprise ensures compliance with your organization’s security standards, backed by IT access controls such as password policies and encryption requirements for all users.
It’s also a highly customizable solution, allowing IT administrators to enable only those features that support your business objectives and prevent access to restricted functionalities. This simplifies security management processes for IT teams, giving them full control over your organization’s data and file sharing environment.