Article first published on it-online.co.za, 31 March 2021 | see article here
It’s World Backup Day today (31 March), and IT organisations now have to consider the issue of backup against the backdrop of remote working forced on us by Covid-19.
Bizmod Consulting’s Abri Vermeulen says, that with the lockdown last year, many companies and employees were sent into a tailspin as working from home became a reality.
Whether it is from a personal or work perspective, there is a constant increase in our reliance on devices, he adds. “The complexity of managing a blended work and home life, has resulted in our work data ending up on our personal devices and vice versa.
Photographs, discussions and chats are now on our smartphones, which has resulted in a backup strategy being imperative for your phone and laptop or PC.
The World Backup Day website has some alarming statistics that will help to convince you if you aren’t already
- More than 60 000 000 computers will fail worldwide this year;
- More than 200 000 smartphones are lost or stolen every year;
- Yet only one in four people make regular back-ups of their data.
“Losing your data is more common than many of us think,” says Vermeulen, “If you haven’t done so already, make a small investment in a cloud subscription, backup your files to some of the easy-to-use online solutions such as One Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, to name a few, or purchase an external hard drive and commit to regularly backing up all your data,” says Vermeulen.
Mikey Molfessis, cybersecurity expert at Mimecast, points out that the growing volume of cyberattacks – especially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – means it’s more important to ensure business continuity and recovery in the event of a disruption.
According to data by the Mimecast Threat Intelligence Centre, detections of impersonation attacks, known and unknown malware, spam and blocked clicks increased by 41% in sub-Saharan Africa from 2019 to 2020, with no signs of slowing down.
In fact, when looking at 2021 data, the number of blocked clicks detected in February this year was an astounding 18 times higher than 2020, Molfessis says the rise of work-from-home has also exposed organisations and employees to increased risk. Mimecast researchers found a three-fold increase in clicks on malicious URLs in emails worldwide, during the time when social distancing and lockdowns were coming into effect last year.
World Backup Day is an opportune time to better understand the role that data backups and archiving can play in enhancing an organisation’s cyber resilience, he adds With the right solutions in place, organisations are more likely to recover from a successful attack, with minimal interruption to the business, its employees and its customers.
Molfessis points to three reasons why data backups are in the spotlight in 2021:
* More data = more risk – While all organisations are at risk from the rising tide of cyberattacks, those organisations that maintain high volumes of transactional data within their systems are especially vulnerable. By backing up historic transactional and other data to an archive in an independently secured environment, organisations can maintain a lean amount of data and reduce the attack surface. This also simplifies some aspects of compliance with privacy regulations. The growing volume of unstructured data – which already accounts for 80% of the world’s data – adds additional risks. Organisations need ways to protect and manage unstructured data – including data in emails and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack – in order to fully comply with the requirements of legislation such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).
* POPIA compliance – The implementation of POPIA has put further pressure on any organisation that processes or stores personal information to provide greater transparency and control over how that data is stored, processed and used. Additionally, in line with POPIA, organisations may have to delete personal information (Right to be forgotten). Organisations can enhance their ability to comply with some of POPIA’s requirements by backing up data to a cloud archive. This holds the additional benefit of providing organisations with a platform for information governance that provides retention management, email encryption, discovery and data recovery to ensure complete litigation readiness and compliance control.
* Data is gold (and criminals want it) – Data is a highly valuable commodity, especially for cybercriminals. Once they have access to an organisation’s systems, they can hold data for ransom, modify it or even destroy it. As the number one business productivity tool, email remains the most likely attack vector used by cybercriminals.
Molfessis explains that an accurate and restorable repository of business email can allow for the fast and easy restoration of original data that may have been lost as a result of a successful cyberattack. For example, when an organisation suffers a ransomware attack, they can easily restore their data and systems without having to incur the cost of paying the cybercriminals’ ransom or suffering any significant loss of business productivity.
The implications of data loss can be huge: the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington DC found that 93% of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster, and 50% filed for bankruptcy immediately.
According to Nitro, workers spend on average 50% of their time creating and preparing documents. If those files got lost or deleted, recreating them would come at a major expense to the organisation. Adding to this, businesses already spend on average $20 000 and lose over 21% in employee productivity on document issues.
Despite the cost and risk associated with lost documents, 60% of backups are incomplete and 50% of restores fail Adding insult to injury, Egress Software Technologies has found that employees are the biggest risk to data loss incidents in the business world.
Paula Sartini, founder and CEO of BrandQuantum, says companies can overcome the challenge of failed backups and accidental data loss by implementing document management solutions that will not only help to free up employee time and improve customer experiences but will also help a company to recover from a disaster quicker and easier.
She points out that, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, the world will have to store 200 zettabytes of data by 2025. And, while data creation is on the rise, searching through company files is estimated to cost companies almost $20 000 per worker, per year.
On top of this Tech Crunchies estimates that employees spend approximately 18 minutes searching for a document, while M-Files states that 83% of employees recreate existing documents that they can’t find on the company network. All of this contributes to productivity loss and increased costs for the company.
Sartini says a cloud-based document generation and management platform that is easily accessible using the technology solutions employees are accustomed to using daily, makes business sense. It also meets the requirement of 81% of employees who want to have access to company documents remotely. This is particularly relevant and useful as many countries have implemented Covid-19 lockdown regulations and employees are trying to meet customer needs whether they are office-based or working remotely.
Implementing a sound document generation and management solution not only improves employee efficiencies and saves the company money on time wasted searching for and recreating documents, but also helps to ensure brand consistency and compliance across all templates and standard documents that the company uses to send to customers, she explains. This aids in delivering consistent brand experiences across the organisation, regardless of who sends the files and contributes to a positive working environment.