Protecting your critical business data has never been more important. However, for South Africans, this can prove challenging in the face of an ever-evolving environment, including digital transformation, cyber threats, and natural disasters. Adding to the complexity, many businesses have legacy on-premises solutions, so the data landscape leans towards a hybrid of a local data center and private and public cloud. To protect data in any location and amidst current uncertainties, adopt a solution that safeguards against outages and increasing cyber threats without sacrificing accessibility.
Risk with Reward:
As digital transformation accelerates, businesses need to leverage numerous benefits, from enhanced efficiency and greater agility to entirely new technological advancements that were simply not possible in the past. However, these benefits also come with higher risks. Data has become so valuable that any incident threatening it could have catastrophic repercussions for a business. These threats are not isolated to a surge in cybercrime but also include exfiltration, encryption, leakage, and/or damage to data, as well as increased liability for the protection of data and information.
Businesses are also struggling to keep the lights on during the energy crisis amid the rising cost of living, and natural disasters like severe weather events, flooding, tornadoes, and more all pose a threat to data. To mitigate the risk of data loss during load shedding, cloud-based backup and recovery solutions have become essential, but this alone is not sufficient for complete data protection.
Best Practices: The 3-2-1 Approach:
South Africa is experiencing a dramatic increase in cybercrime, and according to the Sophos State of Ransomware Report 2023, the country has the highest number of ransomware and email attacks in Africa. In addition, 78% of South African organizations were struck by a ransomware attack, up from 51% in 2022, and 93% of ransomware attacks attempted to destroy backup data. Ransomware can lie dormant in your environment for months undetected, and the target of an attack is often the backup data, in addition to production.
This makes recovery difficult unless you have a solution in place that includes multiple layers of security and ransomware protection on the backup environment as well. Businesses need a secure, off-site, immutable copy of backup data in line with best practice data protection guidelines of three, two, one – three copies of data, two different mediums or devices, and one copy off-site. This means that if data is ever compromised, there is always a secure and unaltered copy available to restore from.
Overcoming Skills Shortages:
South Africa faces a significant and widening skills gap in the information technology sector, especially when it comes to data management. This makes it difficult to effectively protect and manage data in-house because skilled backup resources are extremely scarce and costly. It is also challenging to ensure that they stay with an organization, that they maintain their skill sets in line with the evolving threat landscape, and that business continuity is not affected.
Finding a partner that can provide a fully managed service for your backup requirements is a solution that makes sense currently. Not only does this ensure you have access to a pool of skilled resources who are dedicated to maintaining and upgrading their skill sets, but it is also a cost-effective option that is more economical than handling in-house. Outsourcing to a fully managed backup and data management service provider allows you to focus on other critical aspects of your business while your data is effectively taken care of.
Protection in the Cloud:
To protect organizations from the threats they face today, it is important to leverage proven data protection. An easy-to-use, cloud-native platform allows businesses to take advantage of best-in-class data protection without the large upfront cost of hardware and the ongoing maintenance costs associated with it.
You can quickly deploy and remotely manage a cloud-native solution, scaling as needed without costly data egress fees. Modern data solutions should provide a unified view for efficiently managing distributed data across cloud workloads, virtual machines, databases, endpoints, and on-premises workloads.
A consolidated solution for all data protection needs, including meeting retention and compliance requirements and safeguarding data from deletion and attack, is vital for any business to confidently meet its strategic objectives.
By Aslam Tajbhai, Head of Solutions at Data Management Professionals (DMP) SA