Data Loss: A Major Cost to Business

It’s a risk that many businesses, especially small ones, don’t think about regularly - and that can be a costly mistake.

Data loss forces many businesses to suffer monetary and time-related setbacks. The loss can be caused by any number of things, including natural disasters, viruses, malware, or a simple failure to perform regular backups. Creating and implementing a good data backup and recovery plan is important for all businesses to do before an incident occurs.

Entrepreneur Magazine explains in the article Why Every Small Business Needs a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan that the volume of data loss to companies has increased more than 400 percent in the last few years, as more and more companies digitize their records, rely on computers for most of their work, and cyber attacks have become more sophisticated.

Verizon conducted a thorough Data Breach Investigations Report and found that the cost to businesses for small data breaches, of under a 100 files, can be anywhere from $18,000 to $35,000.

Protecting and backing up important data is an integral part of any organization's IT plan.  In the event of an accident, attack, or mistake, this well executed plan is key to ensuring that the company’s information is safe. This is especially important for companies that store sensitive or confidential personal data about clients.

Steve Moorefield, who works in information technology at RRR Motors, recently dealt with an incidence of data loss. RRR Motors is a large automotive group that serves about 20 dealers, and Moorefield regularly backs up data across different states using DATASTOR Shield™.

In a recent incident, a server in a different state was lost, due to an unrecoverable disk drive failure, and Moorefield had to perform a complete rebuild and restore from afar, over a Wide Area Network, which is notoriously tricky. Such restore jobs often drop out and can take many attempts to complete successfully, wasting IT technicians’ time and the company’s resources.

Moorefield said he was pleasantly surprised to see that DATASTOR’s software was able to complete the restoration in one session, without any problems.

“The thing absolutely blew me away,” he said. “It ran 6.5 hours nonstop and completely finished. It came up like nothing ever happened.”

Without DATASTOR’s technology, Moorefield said RRR Motors would have suffered a significant loss, and not just of the data on the downed server.

“I was able to build and ship a server, and do it remotely, which is big time and cost savings,” he said.

Brian Dodd, DATASTOR co-founder, recommends using these seven pillars to build a reliable backup and restore plan:

  1. Determine what to backup and why (Plan)

  2. Decide how how often to backup your data (Schedule)

  3. Target backups to quality disk with built-in redundancy or replication (Store)

  4. Back up data onsite and offsite (Copy)

  5. Keep your data as long as it is needed (Retain)

  6. Trust but verify (Validate)

  7. Confirm recoverability (Test)

The last point, Testing, is very important - it’s not the icing on the cake, but gluten in the dough. Even if everything you think you need is backed up and stored correctly, you may still have unforeseen issues with recoverability. From example, user encrypted files will be backed up, but still cannot be accessed without encryption keys or certificates - and the missing keys might only be detected during a simulated recovery.

DATASTOR best practice uses a full system backup, for bare metal recovery, scheduled to run at least once a day. The full system backup image supports individual file and folder recovery, so accidental deletes can be quickly restored and at same time keep you always prepared for a disk crash that requires full recovery. The full system backup is recommended to eliminate the guesswork out of figuring out what to backup and why. Let the deduplication technology eliminate the redundancy between between backups and across servers. Keep two on-site copies and at least one offsite copy. Retain for a minimum of six months (or as long as the data has business value). Run daily, weekly, and monthly Verify tasks against the target backup device.  And run fire drills to test and validate recoverability in preparation for the real event.