Here's a fun little fact you've probably never heard: Australians spend 800 thousand hours per day looking for lost things. In total, Aussie households spend $1.2 billion every year replacing lost things. That's a lot of money that goes towards buying new TV remotes, shoes, glasses, phones, wallets and purses.
But those are just the households that lose physical items. How bad do you think businesses have it when it comes to problems with data? On average, a data breach will cost a business $3.92 million. They have it worst in the US, where the average breach costs $8.19 million. In 2019 alone there were 3,800 publicly disclosed data breaches.
In this case, lost data hasn't been misplaced or gone. It's been compromised, which might be even worse than a simple loss. But in every possible scenario that involves something undesirable happening with data, the one thing that usually pops up as an answer, or at least a mitigating factor, is the data backup.
What are the common threat vectors for data security?
The best way to demonstrate just how important it is to have a backup of your business and personal data is to explore a couple of scenarios that would have you reaching for that backup in no time.
Some of them involve bad actors. Others involve a lack of investment in hardware. But they all make it perfectly clear why it's such a good idea to have a copy of your data.
Hard drive failure.
While there might be data that suggest that, with a careful choice of hard drives, you can get an annual hard drive failure rate of around 2%, that number would be of no consolation to you if your hard drive failed and lost you all your data. Quite the contrary. And in most cases, around 70% of them, damaged recording surfaces will be the cause of the failure.
Data loss due to human error.
Arguably the best-known example of human error that caused an almost catastrophic loss of data happened in the animation company Pixar. A command just over a dozen-characters long almost deleted the whole Toy Story 2 animated movie. Backup data was there to save the day, luckily, but it serves as a stark reminder of the possible consequences of our fallibility.
The fact that you have a small business doesn't protect you from data breaches. It actually makes you more vulnerable and less capable of recovering. A fifth of all small businesses has reported a data breach in the last two years. Four of ten would say the breach cost them over $50k to recover from. And given consumer trends that show people don't want to do business with companies that were breached, you get to see how big of a problem this can be.
Viruses and ransomware.
We're in a sad state of affairs when whole cities have to declare a state of emergency due to ransomware attack. These attacks will lock away your resources, including your data, and keep you from accessing them until you've paid the ransom. Ransomware is up 33% on mobile devices, as are new types of attacks such as form jacking.
Data is the lifeline of businesses. What happens if you lose the lifeline?
How to improve data security with backups?
It should be pretty clear by now that there are people out there — whole organisations, in fact — who want your data. The number of groups who use destructive malware in their pursuits is on the rise, and they're counting on you to either have weak or outdated forms of protection or to be a plain sitting duck, waiting to get hit.
The best way to approach data security is to layer one security measure and process upon the other and make sure to include data backup in the mix. There are several types of data backup, and you can pick one that's best suited to your needs:
Full data backup, the type of data backup that offers the best protection by copying the full set of data. On the downside, however, this type of protection can be resource-intensive.
Incremental backup, every backup after the first one is smaller and reflects only the changes in data. That makes it less demanding on resources while backing up, but time-consuming when you need to restore data, and highly dependent on the integrity of the whole backup chain.
Differential backup works in a similar way to incremental backup, but it trades the low storage space of incremental backup for faster recovery time. So if you have lots of space and want quick recovery, this is the better option of the two.Mirror backup changes the data as you do. Everything you delete gets deleted from the mirror, too. This is a double-edged sword, obviously, because it saves space and keeps the backup up to date but doesn't protect from accidental deletion
How does offsite backup work?
Last, but not least, you need to be very careful where choosing where you back up your files. Any threat that might compromise your system could also compromise the backup if it's stored on the same physical drive. That's one of the reasons why offsite backup is such a good idea.
Offsite backup can come in one of a couple of forms. Storing data on an external physical drive or a different computer is an offsite backup. But so is backing up data in the cloud, using online services, and having a managed backup service.
Whatever takes data from your drives and moves it to another drive is an offsite backup. It protects you by putting the data behind a whole other set of security measures. Even if you are breached, your offsite backup stays safe because it's not a part of your system.
Large multinationals, small and medium businesses, and even individuals cannot afford to overlook data security any more. The internet isn't out to get you, but it's not a safe place, either.
There are people and organization who'd like access to your data. Some need it so that they're better able to serve you with ads. Others want it to steal from you or extort you. Either way, having a data backup system in place will ensure that, even if you get breached, you don't have to worry about your data being lost.