Reliable backups a ‘safety net’ for businesses and users


When backing up your data, a good rule of thumb to follow is the ‘3-2-1 Rule’ says Harish Chib, vice president for the Middle East & Africa region at Sophos.

“Three copies of your backups, including the one you are using now; two different storage locations for those backups; and one of them has to be offsite/offline,” he said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times ahead of World Backup Day, he explained that reliable and usable backups are an organisation’s parachute and safety net rolled into one.

“Having good, reliable, usable backups can help organisations recover from ransomware and major cyberattacks. They can also help you recover from physical threats like natural or human-made disasters. But, backups only work if they are done correctly and can be restored. Take time to ensure that not only do you have a good backup strategy in place, including storing backups off-site, but that you can successfully restore from those backups quickly and effectively,” he said.

This year’s World Backup Day, which takes place on March 31, is a day intended to remind businesses and personal users alike to protect data and operations resilience against simple equipment failures, natural or manmade disasters, and cybercrime by backing up their data.

Werno Gevers, regional manager at Mimecast, noted that organisations face a multitude of cyber threats that could halt business productivity and lead to the loss of data, which impacts revenue, reputation and trust. Without suitable recovery measures in place, organisations that fall victim to an attack like ransomware, could suffer days of interrupted business productivity.

“Data backups and archiving play an important role in enhancing an organisation’s cyber resilience. With the right solutions, organisations are more likely to recover from a successful attack, with minimal disruption to the business,” he said.

Storing all data on a business email platform like Microsoft 365, without third party recovery/backup, places an organisation at risk, he warned. By backing up historic transactional and other data to an archive in an independently secured environment, organisations can maintain a lean amount of data and reduce the attack surface.

As the number one business productivity tool, email remains the most likely attack vector used by cybercriminals. Mimecast’s research found that 63 per cent of Middle East organisations saw an increased number of email based threats in the last year.

“A restorable repository of business email can allow for the fast and easy restoration of original data that may have been lost because of a successful cyberattack,” said Gevers. “So, in the event of a ransomware attack, organisations don’t have to pay the ransom or suffer any downtime.”

Similarly, Antoun Beyrouthy, lead cybersecurity consultant at Axon Technologies, noted that both organisations and individuals today are more reliant on data than ever before. “From account balances in core banking systems, to your pictures with a dearly departed friend, some things you just can’t afford to lose. However, Murphy’s Law states that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. From a stolen device, to ransomware or natural disasters, your data’s integrity or availability are bound to be compromised sooner or later.”

While individuals can benefit from the multiple cloud-based backup options available today, organisations need to evaluate the maximum amount of data they can afford to lose during adverse situations, he explained. “They need to develop backup policies and ensure offline backups are in place for when the live backup is compromised, and offsite backups are available in case the main site is lost. On World Backup Day, let us be reminded to always plan for the worst, then hope for the best.”

Deepak Mohan, EVP of Products at Veritas Technologies, also highlighted the importance of prioritising robust data protection practices, and implementing the right tools at the right time to protect an organisation’s and employees’ data.

“It’s clear that multi-cloud adoption is delivering big benefits to enterprises around the globe, including enhanced resiliency and agility,” he said. “However, the shift to multi-cloud environments is also creating new data management challenges, such as unexpected costs, operational complexity, and increased vulnerability to cyber threats. Bad actors are successfully making their ransomware attacks even more impactful by targeting cloud services and data; and, as the volume of enterprise cloud data continues to grow exponentially, we expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future.”

World Backup Day 2022, he said, is a “powerful reminder” that there has never been a more critical time for all organisations to prioritise robust data protection practices. “Leaders must work with their IT teams to take the necessary steps now to implement the right tools and protocols that can autonomously self-provision, self-optimise, and self-heal data management services to keep their critical data safe and available no matter where it is – from edge to core to cloud.”

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