Data Backup Considerations for the New Working Reality

Data Backup Considerations for the New Working Reality

Despite being at the core of every organisation’s availability and continuity requirements, data backup management and disaster recovery systems often do not get the respect or budget that they deserve.

In a pre-COVID-190 world, the role of backup management was already an often-neglected core task within many IT departments, however this challenge has become exponentially more challenging with many staff working remotely and having limited options to be in an office or data centre.

Here are some points that IT and business decision makers need to consider when reviewing existing plans and future long-term policies.

Self-Isolation policies becoming long term practices

Many organisations have now overcome the initial shock of the abrupt change in working practice brought about by self-isolation and are now considering future resource requirements with leading leading companies such as Facebook and Twitter encouraging permanent work from home arrangements for the most of their employees.

From a data-protection standpoint, this significantly increases the chances that important intellectual property will be created outside of an organisation’s data centre.  If your company currently relies on storing such data on file servers or similar systems, remote employees will be less likely to use such systems as easily or seamlessly.  As a result, they will create and store important data directly on their laptops, leaving centralised company storage out of the picture and their data vulnerable.

This means that you should probably examine your company’s policy regarding data protection of laptops and mobile devices.  Many companies don’t provide backup and recovery for mobile devices, despite the fact that most experts recommend this.  Now might be a good time to do so.

The main reason early attempts at mobile device backup failed came down to three key reasons – limited bandwidth over which a backup could be taken, system resource contention that would result in users killing or disabling backups to prevent slowdowns, and the high cost associated with such software.  The good news is that

providers can back up your laptops and mobile devices in such a way that users never realise backups are running – leveraging technologies such as client-side compression and differential copies to minimise bandwidth and system resource consumption.

A common alternative to mobile device backup is a centralised communication and collaboration system, such as Office 365 or G-Suite.  Employees should be trained in the ways to best use them so intellectual property is stored there versus on the laptop only.

Don't Forget SaaS data ...

The more you rely on SaaS products like (such as Office 365), the more you will want to ensure that the data stored there is properly protected.  Be sure to examine the service agreement each vendor provides to see what, if any, backup and recovery services they provide.  You may be surprised to learn that most SaaS providers don’t offer any.

Do not confuse features like the ability to restore a deleted email within the service itself with actual backup and recovery (that would conform with “3-2-1 rule”, which calls for making three copies on two different media, one of them off-site).  Most of these features use versioning, not backups, to provide this functionality.  If something catastrophic were to happen to your account, most SaaS vendors have no ability to restore it, and have nothing their service agreement that says they will even attempt to do so.

In addition, data retention must be considered – while you may be able to restore that deleted email for up to 30 days, there may be legal or compliance requirements that need to be met – can you guarantee that you can retrieve not only a copy of the users current mailbox, but all items it has ever contained within the required retention period?

Now could be the time to consider a managed cloud-based backup solution

If the worst happens and your IT staff are unable to physically manage your data centre, your company might have trouble responding to a disaster. Many traditional systems require physical presence and the moving around of physical media.

You and your staff don’t need to carry the burden of backup management and monitoring; cloud-native, fully managed and monitored backup and disaster recovery services are available.  You and your team can rest assured that your data is being backed up and can be restored when you need it the most.  A fully managed backup is also a great way to defend against ransomware attacks – something that’s happening way too much these days.

Thomas Peer Solutions Backup as a Service

As a Veeam Gold Partner and Cloud Service Provider, Thomas Peer Solutions is amongst the leading Backup-as-a-Service providers in Australia for backup monitoring, maintenance, planning and reporting.  With a range of customisable solutions for different industries and different scales of operation, Thomas Peer Solutions will improve your data protection whilst reducing risk, uncertainty and delays.