Johannesburg, 06 Jun 2022
Data is the lifeblood of every business today. It’s not an exaggeration to say data is now the most important asset on Earth. It’s more valuable than precious metals, oil, or gemstones for most corporations and individuals. In our digital world, the quantity and quality of data are ever-increasing, and so is our reliance on it.
That’s why data resilience is such a critical issue these days. If you lose access to data due to a cyber attack or natural disaster, you can’t power your business forward. However, a resilient organisation has the proper backup and recovery processes in place, allowing it to quickly bounce back from any situation in which data is compromised.
Data resilience is not a single solution. It is a set of technologies and strategies that help maintain data availability and ensure it is always accessible, thus minimising any disruptions or downtime that could lead to tangible — and intangible — losses to your business.
Some of these data resilience technologies include cluster storage, data replication, backup, and disaster recovery, which help minimise the damage caused by cyber threats, such as ransomware, and any disaster, like catastrophic climate events such as hurricanes and floods. Having these elements of data resilience in place can help ensure companies get back on their feet as quickly as possible — with minimal data loss.
Indeed, the critical measure of data resilience is how fast you can spring back from a disruption to resume a normal state of operations and return to business as usual. Having the right technologies and mindset enables you to protect your data if and when disaster strikes. It includes having the right technologies, such as data backup and recovery solutions, and the right strategies, such as simulating a business disruption to assess your resiliency.
Another crucial part of data resilience is the capacity to do regular testing so you can resolve any issues before they occur. Sadly, many organisations don’t test their data resilience plan. Many don’t even have a plan in the first place. At a minimum, organisations should prioritise periodical testing of their data backup and recovery proficiency to ensure they can reliably restore their data in the event of a cyber attack or natural disaster.
Any solid data resilience strategy includes recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO) and ways to achieve them. RPO is the critical metric you establish for the amount of data your organisation can stand to lose in a disaster. Your RPO plays a vital role in helping to determine how often you need to back up your data and the infrastructure you need to support your backup plan. RPO is less about the actual execution of recovery and more about establishing the framework. When you do have to recover from a data loss, you’ll be able to get all the data you need to be restored and available.
By contrast, RTO is a metric you can use to understand how downtime can impact your organisation. Once you have set up your RTO, you’ll be better positioned to make educated decisions about your data resilience plan. For example, suppose you determine that your business can only handle an hour or two of downtime. In that case, you should invest in a disaster-recovery solution that allows you to get back up and running within that timeframe.
The success of any data resilience initiative is defined by how well you plan and test your processes and tools, rather than waiting for something terrible to happen and then desperately trying to figure out how to get back on your feet. Planning is 90% of success.
Of course, companies should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. When it comes to data resilience, having a reliable and rock-solid plan in place can mean the difference between having a successful business — or having no business.
It is not an exaggeration. Recent studies have shown that corporations impacted by ransomware or other data-loss events have trouble winning back consumer trust. One survey found that 88% of customers wouldn’t use the services of, or purchase products from, an organisation they distrust, while 39% said they had lost trust in a company due to a data breach or misuse of data. That can have devastating long-term effects on a business’s survival and growth. Data loss has forced some businesses to shut down completely.
Data is the new gold. When companies lose access to their data, they lose the ability to propel themselves forward. Data resilience, however, gives every organisation the ability to quickly recover from a data-destructive event and flourish in the digital economy.