Common Mistakes Businesses Commit when Backing up Data

Cloud computing has become the lynchpin that has democratised scale and agility in today’s digital driven world. Even your small mom and pop shops can engage thousands of consumers through powerful tools that were once only available to enterprises with in-house developers.

But with that capability comes a major drawback. When a single outage can wipe out data that’s critical to operations, staying on top of your cloud systems is imperative. The importance and technical complexity of such a task is perhaps why many decide to outsource cloud management to expert IT teams. Spending on such services have climbed even amidst the pandemic, up by 41 percent from last year.

With so many companies handing over the reins, it’s important to realise that the work doesn’t stop when you sign the contract. Maintaining healthy backups is a shared responsibility, and most major cloud service providers like Amazon and Google leave much of the work onto end users. 

In order to keep your data backups resilient against breaches and outages, it’s important to identify common mistakes businesses make when they work with cloud service providers.

Not Having Clear Accountability

A decade ago, researchers from Pew Research Center predicted that by 2020, most people will be using cloud based applications: “By 2020, most people won’t do their work with software running on a general-purpose PC. Instead, they will work in Internet-based applications such as Google Docs, and in applications run from smartphones.”

It’s a forecast that has come to pass, and more. Employees aren’t just using Google Docs. The entire desktop moved to the cloud, made possible by developments in virtualisation technology. And the past year has seen even reluctant CIOs migrating business critical operations onto the cloud, following the demands of a changing workforce. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in particular are seeing healthy growth, up by 38.5 percent and 67.7 percent, respectively.

Yet in their haste to move to the cloud, businesses may be finding themselves unaware of who’s in charge of who. Cloud service providers are not necessarily Managed Service Providers (MSPs). For instance, in the event of an outage due to human error G Suite or Microsoft 365 will not be responsible for providing data backups. Neither will these providers be responsible for initiating and executing recovery procedures.

These tasks are typically the domain of in-house backup administrators. It’s important to designate leaders on your own team so you can respond swiftly to outages and to make sure you aren’t overlooking tasks that aren’t covered by your Service Level Agreements.

Leaving Physical Backups Unprotected

By now most businesses know it’s only good housekeeping to keep separate copies of backups in the cloud and on at least two media storage devices. The good old 3-2-1 rule has saved many businesses hours in disaster recovery.

Yet good backup practices extend beyond redundancy. Physical security is one aspect businesses overlook. In a survey of hundreds of IT security experts, Chief Information Officers, and Chief Information Security Officers, 64 percent reported seeing an increased risk from threats such as physical theft and inside attacks.

Obviously, your building’s security lies beyond the scope of your average service provider. The responsibility of securing your server rooms and backup devices falls on the shoulder of businesses. Make sure your on-site backups are stored in secure locations accessible only to a select few.

Neglecting the Physical Health of Tape and Disk Drives

Hardware failure is a reality of IT. Storage devices like disk arrays and tape drives are made of numerous moving parts, any one of which can fail. And while the capacity of these media, particular HDDs and SSDs, have only grown over time, they remain fairly vulnerable to physical damage.

Some businesses, especially small to medium organisations with limited IT expertise or manpower, may fail to account for regular monitoring and maintenance. These machines give off signs of failure that can be difficult to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Many may also not know how to properly handle physical backups. Sudden impacts from rough handling can be enough to cause head crashes that make data unreadable. Circuit boards, which are responsible for about 18 percent of disk drive failures, are sensitive against static electricity and moisture.

Slacking On Backup Strategy

Cloud management providers are concerned with optimising the design and performance of your cloud environments. Cloud service providers focus on the development and maintenance of the underlying structure that supports your applications and hosts your data. 

Both entities can offer tools that can help secure your data, such as dashboards that flag suspicious activity. However, backup strategy is typically outside the scope of what these companies do, unless your SLA includes comprehensive backup support.

Creating backup strategies that meet unique business requirements is the job of the user. That includes determining the mix of storage solutions and establishing and enforcing backup schedules that work best for your business.
Evolvit can help fill the gaps in your backup strategy, enabling you to maximise your cloud infrastructure whilst keeping your data safe and secure. Book a free consultation today.