World Backup Day in a work-from-home world
Each year, we talk about World Backup Day (WBD) to remind individuals and organizations about the importance of data protection. People who value their data are obviously running backups and using other data protection solutions on a regular basis, but the annual celebration of WBD is a good call-to-action to run some performance checks and look for gaps in your data protection strategy.
The landscape for World Backup Day changes every year. There are constant advances in storage and archiving solutions, cloud accessibility, regulatory compliance requirements, and so on. This year the changes in data protection have been greater than we could have imagined just 12 months ago. Millions of workers have been reassigned from corporate workspaces to home offices as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has created a handful of stressors that can have a negative impact on data protection:
- Corporate network VPNs may be overwhelmed or unstable, causing connectivity and workflow issues for the remote workers.
- Office banter does not always translate well to Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other collaborative tools, and that can lead to misunderstandings and have other psychological effects.
- Children can interrupt workflow and working space, leaving employees distracted and work routines interrupted or unfinished.
- Home internet connectivity may be unstable due to the increase in use by people who are social distancing and sheltering in place.
These conditions may be difficult for workers who are trying to learn new workflows, new software, and new ways to access corporate resources.
Data protection challenges for IT teams
IT teams are struggling as well. They need to maintain corporate security and business continuity, while also providing training and support to the newly remote workforce. Many teams have had to deploy secure VPN access for the first time and make sure that it provides the correct resources to employees without overloading the network.
Cybersecurity training for employees remains a priority, especially with all the COVID-19 pandemic spear-phishing attacks in the wild. World Backup Day is here as a reminder to re-evaluate the risk of accidental data loss during this unprecedented time of sudden business disruption.
Hardware failures are still a leading cause of data loss, although the numbers aren't as bad as they were three years ago. This is one of the reasons that the 3-2-1 rule remains a best practice.
- Keep at least three copies of your data: the original, plus two backups
- Keep your two backups in two different storage systems
- Keep at least one data backup offsite and safe from any event that threatens the location of the original equipment/data
The ubiquity of cloud storage systems, inexpensive thumb drives, etc., means that this doesn't have to be 3-2-1 specifically. It could be 3-1-2 or some other configuration, and it could apply to smart devices, remote workstations, corporate servers, or even SaaS applications. The important thing here is to create redundancies so that you do not have a single point of failure in your data protection. Multiple variations of the 3-2-1 redundancy rule are made easy with Barracuda Backup, which can replicate to the Barracuda Cloud, a remote physical backup appliance, a remote virtual backup appliance, or Amazon Web Services (AWS).
System administrators are not new to the problems of users accidentally deleting or losing their data. Even in routine situations, well-intentioned users can accidentally delete data from a SaaS application, network drive, or some other location where there's no "recycle bin" to save the day. Malicious users will do this intentionally, and stressed-out first-time remote workers will do this just because they don't know what location they are deleting from.
What’s different about World Backup Day
So how does this change World Backup Day? In one sense, nothing really changes. WBD is still a time to look for weaknesses in your backup strategies. Is any data being missed? Are there errors in your backup logs? Are your backup schedules still appropriate?
One of the most important things you can do every WBD is to ask yourself if you truly understand your data. What data is the most important? Were applications added to the network? Was data moved to another location?
What may be different this year is that corporate data is more dispersed than ever before, and some of that is because employees don't fully understand where they are saving their data. Chromebook users may accidentally save data to Google Drive. Windows users may be saving to a documents folder that resides on a local disk instead of a network file server. They simply don't realize where the data is going, especially if their applications will give them a menu of recent documents. And, with many facilities closed or reduced to minimal staff, IoT data retention may become more important. Where is that data stored and is it part of the backup strategy?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a minefield of challenges around security, network performance, productivity, and data protection. This has tested the resiliency of even the largest companies, such as Microsoft, which has had to throttle some Office 365 services just to be able to meet the sudden burst in demand.
As employees get more comfortable working in virtual teams, it's important for you to maintain awareness of the location and value of the data they create. Usage of Microsoft SharePoint and Groups has grown. Microsoft Teams increased by 12 million daily users in one week, and Slack announced that users increased by 2.5 million over a period of 15 days in March.
Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup can protect Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint, OneDrive, Groups, and Teams as part of the overall corporate backup strategy. It works well alongside Barracuda Backup, which has a variety of deployment and replication options.
This pandemic has changed the world. Barracuda shares your concern for our families, communities, co-workers, and businesses. For information on how Barracuda can help you protect your company and remote workers, visit our website here.