More and more of your data exists electronically—you carry it around on your phone and store it on your laptop. In many ways it’s made running an organization much easier. Information can be easily accessed without having to rifle through file cabinets, and can also be shared with any colleague or client, no matter where they’re working from. At any given time, however, your electronic data can become very vulnerable, due to a number of potential threats:
- hardware and software failures
- viruses and malware
- cyber attacks
- theft and network breaches
As a result, it’s imperative to regularly backup your information. Protection of your electronic data, however, doesn’t stop there.
Backup is just a portion of a full data protection plan
More companies are now focusing on thwarting malicious attacks on their sensitive data. While it often involves a cat-and-mouse approach, highly publicized data breaches have provided expanded impetus and technological solutions for protecting electronic data. Yet within this reality, the prevention of other risks can have a tendency to fall by the wayside. Simply put, less invasive yet equally insidious threats can also compromise your electronic data. Which is why, what you do after backup could mean the difference between growing your business well into the future and simply going out of business.
The media storing your electronic data needs to be safeguarded
The data stored on magnetic media is very sensitive, meaning that small changes in temperature and humidity can permanently damage backup tapes and hard drives. Magnetic interference is also a factor as backup media can become degaussed from outside forces, rendering them completely useless. The typical office environment—and often the server rooms where backups are performed—does not offer an environment that prevents these risks, severely impacting business continuity objectives. Further, backup data left onsite is also exposed to any number of catastrophic scenarios including fire, flooding and natural disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados.
As a result, any backup media should be stored in a vault facility designed and dedicated for the preservation and protection of electronic data. When choosing such a facility, look for the following features:
- magnetic shielding
- tornado and earthquake survivability
- fire protection that meets NFPA 75 and NFPA 232 standards for magnetic media
- media-friendly fire suppression
- environmental control sensors
- 24-hour surveillance and access monitoring
Not only should your backup media be stored offsite in an appropriate location, it should also be regularly rotated in a manner that ensures that all electronic data is up to date. While the frequency of your rotation will depend on your electronic data storage and retrieval needs, it’s important to transport all media offsite with strict chain of custody protocols and the proper handling procedures. Your data protection partner should employ only screened, trained professionals for rotating your electronic data and also offer the following:
- delivery vehicles with temperature controls and GPS tracking
- transportation of media in containers specifically made for the protection tapes and hard drives
- an auditable record of each point of contact, time of contact and signed receipts
If your media is rotated in a timely and proper manner, your business has a better chance of recovering from a disaster.
Richards & Richards provides data protection solutions to businesses throughout Nashville. To find out more, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.