Data, data, data. The importance of backing up data

Cloud datacentreMore often than not when browsing the internet each morning you’ll soon discover that in fact, this morning is “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, or “Hug a Vegetarian Day”, or something equally humorous. Today is an awareness day which, conversely, holds some use to the world on the whole.

World Backup Day encourages consumers to back up their family photos, home videos, documents and emails, on more than one device. The World Backup Day website lists numerous ways in which a consumer’s data or documents can be lost, however this day is also very applicable to the world of enterprise IT.

“The rapid increase in the amount of data that consumers and organisations store is one of the biggest challenges facing the backup industry,” says Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace. “Organisations aren’t always sure what data they should be keeping, so to make sure they don’t discard any important data they sometimes end up keeping everything which adds to this swell of data.

“For many companies, a simple backup tool is no longer enough to make sure all these company assets are safe and available, they need support in keeping up with the sheer scale of data and to fix problems when a valuable file or database goes missing.”

The volume of data being utilized (and in some cases not utilized) has grown astronomically, but to a certain degree, security and employee behaviour has not kept pace with this growth. Cyber criminals always seem to be one step ahead of ahead of enterprise when attempting to access data, but what is more worrying is the trend of employee indifference to IT security.

A recent survey highlighted employee negligence and indifference to IT policy is one of the most significant inhibitors to cloud security with only 35% of respondents highlighting that they use passwords in work.

Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace

Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace

“Over recent years, organisations have become far more aware of the importance of backing up their data and we’ve noticed the impact here at Rackspace, where currently we backup 120 PB per month globally,” adds Fox. “One of the main challenges for us is that businesses don’t just want to back-up more data than ever before, they want it to be done quicker than ever before.

“Also, the process of doing so has become more complex than it used to be because companies are more conscious than ever of the compliance regulations they have to adhere to. Fortunately, with the development of deduplication techniques, we are now able to back-up unique sections of data rather than duplicating large pools continuously, which has sped-up the backing-up process.”

Outside of employee indifference to cloud security, changes to EU-US data protection policy have highlighted the significance of data-backup and prevention of data loss. An instance of data loss could be crippling for an organization, whether it is financial penalties or the loss of information which could prove to be invaluable in the future.

“Initiatives like World Backup Day are a great way of highlighting the importance of backing up in an age where, as Ann Winbald put it, ‘data is the new oil’,” comments Fox.

In a world where data can be seen as one of the most important commodities to any business, the value of securing, backing up and encrypting data cannot be underplayed. That said, the majority of the working world (outside of the IT department), do not appreciate the value of security, mostly not out of malice, more because they don’t know any better.

“In the post-Edward Snowden era we’re also seeing just how seriously companies are thinking about encryption. Many companies now want to make sure their backed up data is no longer just encrypted when it goes outside the four walls of a data centre, but inside it as well,” says Fox.