Data Resiliency: The Key Component of Every Disaster Recovery Plan


By Byron Horn-Botha, Business Unit Head, Arcserve Southern Africa

What is data resiliency? In a nutshell, it's a mindset that all organizations should adopt to meet their business continuity plans and keep their operations up and running. There are many moving parts, but overall, it's as simple as that. Understanding that data resiliency is an essential cog in a well-rounded disaster recovery program is also important.

According to a global survey commissioned by Arcserve, 83 percent of IT decision-makers now include data resilience in their business strategies. Still, only 23 percent are reported to have a mature approach to data resilience. But that isn’t enough because a solid data resilience plan is essential as organizations move to hybrid IT environments. When performance needs arise or a catastrophic failure occurs, organizations must have a well-thought-out and battle-tested plan for recovering their data.

The reality is that data is the fuel that modern businesses run on. When companies lose access to their data, they lose the ability to keep moving forward. Data resilience prevents this from happening. It allows every organization to quickly recover from a data-threatening event and flourish in the digital economy.

Here are three key steps to help a business develop a robust data resilience strategy:

1. Create a Plan and Test It Often

The strength of any data resilience strategy depends on the regular testing and adjustment of all its parts. To be reactive is not good enough. A company can't wait for a disaster or attack to occur, then scramble to implement its strategy and find out if it's good enough.

Planning and testing are indispensable to success. Indeed, a well-devised and continuously tested data resilience strategy can mean the difference between staying in business and having no business.

Numerous studies have shown that organizations that suffer a ransomware attack or other data-loss event have significant difficulties winning back their customers. One survey by Okta revealed that 88 percent of customers would stop using the services or products of a business they no longer trust and that 39 percent lose trust in a company that misuses data or suffers a data compromise.

You get the idea. A data-loss event or hack of any kind can be fatal to your business.

2. Get Executive Buy-In

Data resilience should be the responsibility of top executives and business owners, not just the IT department. And yet it still isn’t a priority in the C-suite of many organizations. It must be, especially with new cyber security measures, such as the EU's NIS Directive.

A successful data resilience initiative starts at the top, with buy-in from C-level executives and the board of directors. But, like any investment, a data resilience initiative needs support from the whole company, from the corner office to the cubicles, across every department. It also requires buy-in from external partners and service providers. All participants must know their role in everyday operations and during a disruptive event for an initiative to work.

Without that, some may not meet expectations when disaster strikes.

3. Take a Multilayered Approach

The key to achieving data resiliency is a "multilayered approach" and deploying an infrastructure that supports all data resilience requirements.

One vital layer should create frequent backups and make copies that can be stored in an immutable digital vault. Storage snapshots should be taken and secured in a digital vault during this process. When a disaster or attack happens and data is compromised, the company has these snapshots available for instant recovery. Indeed, that's how the Italian municipality of Palermo recovered its data after a recent cyberattack.

Automation and orchestration are other vital parts of a multilayered approach that help streamline data recovery. These parts should include processes and automated workflows that ensure consistency and minimize complexity when time is of the essence and quick thinking is required. That way, the organization can recover data quickly and return to business without critical damage.

Another critical element of a multilayered approach is 3-2-1-1 data protection. It means maintaining three backup copies of data on two different media—tape and disk, for example—with one of the copies placed offsite to enable quick recovery.

Further, the firm should have one immutable object storage copy. Immutable object storage continuously protects data by taking a snapshot at 90-second intervals. Even if disaster strikes, those data snapshots enable a return to a recent file state.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, a good data resilience strategy dramatically benefits a business. A good strategy enables it to manage rapid data growth, handle various workloads, unify data recovery, and quickly get operations up and running after any event that compromises data.

It brings many benefits to the organization, including enhanced performance, reduced costs, reliable and efficient business operations, minimized risk, and strong protection in every part of the company. For expert help in ensuring data resilience in your organization, talk to an Arcserve technology partner.