Data backup should never be Plan B

By Mark Lafferty, Director, Systems Solutions, Servers and Storage, CDW, Network World |  Data Protection, Backup & Recovery

Data is more important to businesses today than it has ever been, doing everything from revealing trends in customer behavior to comparing sales performance across business units and regions. Comprehensive data collection provides the who, what, when and how associated with almost all organizational activity. This information is incredibly valuable to executives because it plays a critical role in strategic business decisions. As such, all businesses - big and small - must have a data backup strategy in place to protect against data loss.

The 2012 CDW Data Loss Straw Poll found that IT professionals rank data loss as their No.1 cybersecurity threat. Losing critical data is undoubtedly a serious problem for organizations of all sizes. In 2011, data loss incidents cost companies $194 per record breached, and the average cost per company that reported a breach was $5.5 million, according to a Ponemon Institute report. Beyond the hard costs, there is the resulting impact on business continuity to consider - decreased competitive advantage, litigation and damage to an organization's reputation are all potential fallouts from data loss.

The first step toward protection is acknowledging that data loss is a real possibility. As Murphy's Law tells us, anything that can go wrong probably will, and most organizations are likely to experience data loss at some point. Regardless of how vigorous an organization's security policies are, data loss is still a very real threat and should always be treated as a priority. The next step in protecting organizational data is choosing a backup strategy.

[ALSO: Danger, danger, the cloud will eat your data]

There are several approaches to data backup. Local device backup on an external hard drive avoids third-party controls but requires manual backups. Data storage vendors offer various options to serve individual backup needs, but increased customization can often translate to increased costs. Cloud-based backup uses third party providers to secure data at an off-site location, and adoption of this method is increasing.

The comprehensive backup strategy

While an organization's specific needs will dictate the appropriate solution it chooses, a comprehensive backup strategy should include the following elements: backup software, backup systems, data deduplication, a data archiving plan and a disaster recovery plan:


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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