Data Resilience - Make it part of your DR/BCP Plan

21 March 2023

What is data resilience? In a nutshell, it's a mindset that all organisations should adopt to meet their business continuity plans and keep their operations up and running.

There are many moving parts, but overall, it's as simple as that. It's also important to understand that data resilience is an important cog in a well-rounded disaster recovery programme.

83% of IT decision-makers now include data resilience in their business strategies. Still, only 23% are reported to have a mature approach to data resilience.

It is not enough because a solid data resilience plan is essential as organisations move to hybrid IT environments. When performance needs arise, or a catastrophic failure occurs, organisations must have a well-thought-out and battle-tested plan for recovering their data.

The reality is that data is the fuel that modern businesses run on. When companies lose access to their data, they lose the ability to go forward. Data resilience prevents this from happening. It allows every organisation to quickly recover from a data-threatening event and flourish in the digital economy.

Here are three key steps to help a business develop a robust data resilience strategy:

Create a plan and test it often

The strength of any data resilience strategy depends on the regular testing and adjustment of all its parts. To be reactive is not good enough. A company can't wait for a disaster or attack to occur, then scramble to implement its strategy and find out if it's good enough or not.

Planning and testing are indispensable to success. Indeed, a well-devised and continuously tested data resilience strategy can mean the difference between having a business and having no business.

Numerous studies have shown organisations that suffer a ransomware attack or other type of data-loss event have a lot of difficulties winning back their customers.

Get executive buy-in

Data resilience should be the responsibility of top executives and business owners, not just the IT department. And yet it is still not a priority in the C-suite of many organisations.

It must be, especially with introducing new cyber security measures − such as the NIS Directive in the EU for example. A successful data resilience initiative starts at the top, with buy-in from C-level executives and the board of directors.

When this happens, the rest of the organisation will recognise the importance of the effort, keep it top of mind and rise to the occasion when necessary.

Data resilience initiatives face slow adoption in many organisations precisely because they lack champions at the top. Like any investment, a data resilience initiative needs support from the whole company, from the corner office to the cubicles, across every department.

It also requires buy-in from external partners and service providers. For an initiative to work, all participants must know their role in everyday operations and during a disruptive event.

Without buy-in from all parties, some will not perform when the chips are down.

Take a multi-layered approach

The key to achieving data resilience is a "multi-layered approach" and deploying an infrastructure that supports all data resilience requirements.

One vital layer is doing frequent backups and creating copies that can be stored in an immutable digital vault.

Automation and orchestration are two other important parts of a multi-layered approach, which help streamline data recovery.

These parts should include processes and automated workflows that instill consistency and minimise complexity when time is of the essence, and quick thinking is required. That way, the organisation can bring back data fast and get back to business as usual without critical damage.

Another critical element of a multi-layered approach is 3-2-1-1 data protection. It means maintaining three backup copies of data on two different media − tape and disk, with one of the copies placed offsite to enable quick recovery. Further, the company should have one immutable object storage copy.

To conclude, a good data resilience strategy greatly benefits a business. It enables it to manage rapid data growth, handle various workloads, unify data recovery, and quickly get operations up and running after any event that compromises data.


March 2023

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