What do human error, loss of power and connectivity all have in common? These are the top three causes of cloud outages and data loss, according to the Uptime Institute. And in our digital world, losing access to data can be catastrophic for businesses. As we prepare to mark World Backup Day on March 31st, prioritising data protection has never been more important. As technology continues to evolve, the amount of data generated increases. According to IDC’s 2022 Global DataSphere forecast report, a staggering 221 zettabytes of data will be generated worldwide in 2026. However, recent research from Acronis found 41% of surveyed IT users and IT managers rarely or never back up their data, with only 10% of users backing up daily, and 15% weekly. With over half of these audiences failing to back up regularly if at all, now is a timely reminder to change behaviours. There are a number of actions companies can take to reduce certain data risks. Solid data backup is one important element of data management, but there are others. These are my recommendations on how to make data more secure, accessible and valuable for your business.
Preserve and protect
The first and most fundamental best practice is to make data backup a part of your cyber hygiene routine. This means backing up your data regularly or setting up automatic backups in your settings menu or preferences in business-critical devices and servers. When businesses back up their data, they can easily recover from data loss or theft, saving them time, money, and potentially from reputational damage.
Prioritise and classify
It's vital to prioritise data protection and security by using a comprehensive data classification policy. This will ensure proper data handling, lower organisational risk and prepare for potential data leaks. With data classification, businesses can determine the appropriate levels of protection and access controls to apply to their data based on its sensitivity and value.
Use what you’ve got
Companies are generating more and more data every year. That data is key to unlocking strategic insights and business growth. Despite the vast volumes of data they have, all too often that data is unused or discarded as it is either too complex or too expensive to store and they are unable to use it effectively. Businesses must learn how to use the data they produce and capture to gain the greatest value from it, by creating a clearer data classification system, or by improving the accessibility and analysis tools available to them.
Maximise the cloud Seagate’s recent research finds 82% of organisations use two or more cloud infrastructure providers. To enhance their current cloud strategy, businesses should embrace a cloud operating model that drives innovation while reducing costs. This means reconciling multiple clouds with any hybrid or on-premise infrastructure and ensuring they can all speak to each other effectively, while remaining accessible in real time.
Finally, businesses should foster a data-driven culture by upskilling teams and rethinking collaboration practices to empower employees to apply data and analytics in their roles. With spiralling business costs in today’s difficult economic climate, many companies have been forced to spend more time on data storage than employee training. The businesses that can manage costs whilst upskilling their employees will be the ones that will grow and maintain a competitive edge.
Data skills training across every department of an organisation drives more productive business conversations, greater collaboration and ultimately more connected decision making around common business goals.
Backup and beyond
Data is arguably one of the most valuable assets in today’s business world. That’s why companies must take proactive steps to protect and prioritise it. World Backup Day reminds us that data is precious and preparation against data loss and theft should become second nature. And through well-defined data management strategies, businesses can increase efficiencies, streamline workflows, empower employees, and drive revenue gains, which is more important than ever in today’s challenging economic climate.