Network and service outages are more than just an inconvenience for organizations: they can be detrimental to your bottom line.
According to the most recent annual outage analysis report by Uptime Institute, more than 60% of failures result in at least $100,000 in losses. However, the amount an individual corporation loses can vary greatly depending on the length of an outage, the cause of the disruption, and if any ransom must be paid.
Realistically, there’s no guarantee for any system to be 100% resilient to all threats or disasters. However, it’s possible to put policies and procedures in place that can build business resilience by:
- Actively protect mission-critical operations from disruptions and intrusions
- Effectively protect data despite sudden events
Quickly enable a business continuity plan. How do you do that? By creating a solid data resilience strategy that, when deployed, maintains your data and business workflows despite disruptions.
What is data resiliency?
Data resiliency refers to an organization’s ability to quickly bounce back in the event of a disruption, such as a power outage, natural disaster, or cyberattack.
Data resiliency is typically included within a disaster recovery (DR) plan and requires data to be backed up regularly and stored in multiple locations. Due to this, if one location is compromised, users and applications can still access the data they need to continue working with minimal disruption.
When developing a data resilience strategy, it’s critical to include other tactics in addition to creating backups in multiple locations. We’ll be reviewing additional components to consider a little further down.
Why is data resiliency important?
Maintaining data resiliency is critical for many reasons, and it’s more important than ever as cybercrime experts, like journalist Brian Krebs, suspect the number of destructive attacks will only continue to rise.
When data is considered resilient, it continues to be available and accessible to authorized entities. With that, if data is truly resilient, it cannot be accessed or modified by cybercriminals during a cyberattack – which is necessary in preventing data deletion or corruption to ensure data integrity.
Is there a difference between data resiliency and disaster recovery?
Most definitely! Disaster recovery refers to an entire plan composed of strategies and tactics to prevent disruptions and recover from disruptions if they occur. Data resiliency, on the other hand, is a critical strategy to incorporate within your company’s overall DR and data protection plan.
What are the 4 Principles of Data Resiliency?
While drafting your strategy, think about your data resiliency and business continuity plan holistically. How mission-critical is each based on your business needs and overall data usage? What are your recovery time objectives for each workflow? Once you have this information in hand, you can start forging your path to IT resilience.
Let’s explore the top four “must-have” principles that are necessary for data resiliency to be achieved.
1. Make secure data backups
First thing’s first: make sure you securely, regularly, and successfully backup each data set in its entirety. After all, there’s nothing quite as disappointing as finding that your file is missing data after you’ve used the most recent backup to restore it.
Keep in mind: there are solutions, like backup as a service (BaaS), on the market that can automate the backup and recovery process for you. Such solutions are designed to save time and ensure your data is available and backups are maintained for all workloads across your organization’s cloud and on-premises environments.
2. Store backups in multiple secure locations
Having data redundancy is necessary, otherwise, you risk a single point of failure. Consider creating physical and digital backups that are safely stored in different cloud locations and physical vaults so that if one location is compromised during an unexpected disruption, like a cyberattack, you can still access your data from another secure location.
Additionally, when storing backups off-premises, ensure they’re properly encrypted and that your IT team has a seamless encryption key handling process. If your organization needs help securing its sensitive data, cloud providers can provide encrypted, geolocated, redundant storage to enhance security.
3. Easily and quickly recover data
A key piece of any data resilience strategy is having the capability to easily recover your data. It’s essential for your recovery process to meet your organization’s recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives; and your IT team should be able to recover everything from a single file that was deleted to full data sets after a ransomware attack or business interruption.
4. Organize data into appropriate buckets
When devising your strategy, data segmentation should be top of mind. When you segment your data, you can then easily identify and prioritize which datasets need to be recovered first if a disruption occurs. Afterall, the servers handling payments or fulfilling payroll are a bigger priority than a chat server.
How is data resiliency achieved?
Data resiliency can be achieved within an organization by taking a multifaceted approach.
1. Provide learning opportunities to promote awareness
It’s critical to keep teams up to speed, especially when it comes to data resiliency and disaster recovery. Offer plenty of company-wide educational opportunities to ensure everyone:
- Follows IT security best practices
- Understands your organization’s data protection strategies and protocol for security incident responses
- Knows who the proper points of contact are in case an event occurs
2. Protect all of your workloads
Put proactive security measures into place that protect your datasets wherever they live – in the public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, SaaS apps, devices, you name it. Even the smallest vulnerability left unchecked has the chance to evolve into a huge problem.
3. Use cloud automation for cybersecurity
Unexpected disruptions, including a sudden server outage or cyberattack, can happen at the drop of a hat, and your team may find themselves in positions where they can’t investigate the issue immediately. Utilizing an incident response automation can help prevent, catch, and stop potential threats before they evolve into a large-scale issue.
4. Audit your backups
Things happen, and no matter what, there’s always a margin for error, even when it comes to data backups. With that, it’s a good practice to routinely audit your data backups to ensure they weren’t affected by any interruptions, human error or otherwise.
5. Test your RPO and RTO often
Your data and applications change constantly. With that, they may no longer meet your initial RPO and RTO requirements. Get into the habit of verifying your defined RPO and RTO still align with your data and applications so you can adjust things accordingly.
6. Stay informed on current and emerging threats within your industry
One of easiest ways to bolster resiliency is to simply keep up to date with cybercrime trends and common types of attacks targeting specific industries. With this information on hand, you can better prepare and protect your organization and customer data from malicious attacks. Having a solid understanding of what’s going on in the world of cybercrime is also helpful as you explore additional solutions, such as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), to incorporate into your DR plan alongside your data resiliency strategy.
Examples of resiliency in data centers
When developing a resiliency strategy within your DR plan, you should also consider the resiliency of either your organization’s managed data center or the third-party data center your company uses. What techniques can be employed within a data center to ensure continuity for users?
Top tier colocation data centers are designed to meet compliance standards and maintain data resiliency and business continuity in the event of disasters, power outages, cyberattacks, and equipment failures. The physical buildings are built to withstand the physical effects of natural disasters while the internal infrastructure has measures in place to maintain uptime and protect assets.
Certain data centers, like TierPoint’s Hawthorne, NY location, have additional mission-critical resiliency features built in, such as business continuity work spaces, independent power sources, and 2N power generators to further decrease the possibility of disruption.
Server and data center redundancy
Servers within a data center oftentimes use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that’s redundant. So, if the main power source goes down, the backup power supply kicks in and keeps the servers going until the problem is resolved. Also, certain techniques are used to support redundant workloads on physical servers, like server clustering.
Redundant systems can also be used at the data center level. It’s not uncommon for an organization to use two separate utility providers to power its data center. If one provider unexpectedly has a widespread outage, the backup provider can be used to maintain continuity.
Typically, organizations with critical compute workloads or high uptime applications require deeper techniques to be incorporated into their resiliency plan and practiced by the data center provider.
For example, clustering, snapshots, and off-site redundancy are tactics that are more commonly found within a comprehensive data center resiliency plan. These additional techniques are usually used for essential workloads, whereas nonessential workloads may not receive the same treatment if they can withstand a longer restoration window without hindering mission-critical operations.
How to maintain data resiliency with TierPoint
When you’re preparing to potential disruptions or in the midst of one, you need to be confident that your data resiliency plan will work smoothly. At TierPoint, we can assist as you develop or modify your business continuity plan to make sure it…
- Maintains business continuity and minimizes downtime
- Addresses risks
- Incorporates best-in-class resiliency strategies
- And more!
Learn how we can help you maintain data resiliency despite disruptions and download The Ultimate Guide To Running Your Business Through Uncertainty and Disruption.
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