Data loss is a difficult business reality. Depending on the circumstances, data loss can even force businesses to shut down in entirety.

Data loss can occur due to human error, natural disasters or cyber breaches. In the wake of an incident, some victims never recover the entirety of their data. This can result in repercussions ranging from customer distrust, to financial losses and legal penalties.

World Backup Day is observed on March 31st every year and serves as a valuable reminder of the need for robust data protection, backup and recovery strategies.

While it’s true that some organizations do backup their data, it’s also true that 58% of backups fail to work properly when utilized. In 93% of ransomware events, cyber criminals attack backup repositories, resulting in 75% losing at least some backup repository data.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. A more proactive approach can transform operational outcomes for businesses across industry sectors…

Enhancing capabilities

In 2024, 56% of IT leaders expect to change their primary backup strategy and solutions in order to better protect and serve the organizations that they work for.

As indicated in the introduction, one critical issue is backup reliability. Although cyber leaders frequently acknowledge the significance of reliability when it comes to enterprise backup systems, the ugly truth is that reliability of backups is an area that many organizations have yet to address.

The first point of failure tends to be the absence of backup testing. This is compounded by reliance on outdated, legacy systems that lack the granularity and scalability required by modern businesses. Cost and complexity also factor into the equation.

Fundamental best practices

If interested in transforming and elevating your organization’s approach to digital backups, consider these recommendations:

1. Implement a multi-layered approach. In so doing, diversify your backup methodologies. Incorporate multiple layers of redundancy. This includes on-site backups, off-site backups and cloud-based backups.

While conventional backups are completed on-premise by an IT department, some organizations are now turning to Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers. BaaS may allow for better use of IT resources, higher levels of redundancy, and greater cost-effectiveness, depending on the nature of the given organization.

2. Prioritize encryption and security. Encrypt all backed-up data. Develop robust access controls and authentication mechanisms, restricting access to backup repositories. Ensure that only authorized persons can retrieve or modify backup data.

3. Test and validate backup recovery processes. Conduct regular backup integrity checks to ascertain the completeness and recoverability of backup data.

In addition, go through simulated disaster recovery drills or tabletop exercises to evaluate the effectiveness of your backups/recovery procedure.

Document and analyze the results of testing, as to identify areas for improvement. It goes without saying – refine your backup strategy accordingly.

Leadership’s role

C-suite executives have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the business is safe from threats, including digital threats. Leadership must champion data protection measures — from DLP solutions to data backups — ensuring that levels of risk across the organization are minimized to the greatest extent possible.

Consider keeping your leadership in the loop regarding changes to backup systems and recovery processes. Document efforts, rationale and ROI. Data backups and recovery capabilities contribute to long-term business resilience and success, which are core areas of concern for the C-suite.

Further thoughts

World Backup Day 2024 serves as a call to action. It’s an opportunity to evaluate and reinforce existing backup strategies and to create new ones where needed.

For more insights and analyses designed to elevate your organization’s cyber security posture, please see CyberTalk.org’s past coverage.

Lastly, subscribe to the CyberTalk.org newsletter for timely insights, cutting-edge analyses and more, delivered straight to your inbox each week.