World Backup Day has been and gone already (it’s 31st March each year). I don’t normally write much about it, as I’d like to think that every day is World Backup Day. But not everyone is into data protection in the same way I am though. Every year, some very nice people at a PR firm I work with send me a series of quotes about World Backup Day, and I invariably file them away, and don’t write anything on the topic. But I thought this year, “in these uncertain times”, that it might be an idea to put together a short article that included some of those quotes and some of my own thoughts on the topic.
The Vendor’s View
Steve Cochran (Chief Technology Officer, ConnectWise), had this to say on the topic:
“There are two major reasons why we should take backups seriously: Hardware failure and human error. Systems are not foolproof and every piece of hardware will fail eventually, so it’s not a question of if, but rather when, these failures will happen. If you haven’t kept up with your backups, you’ll get caught unprepared. There’s also a factor of human error where you might accidentally delete a file or photo. We put our entire lives on our computers and mobile devices, but we also make mistakes, and not having a backup system in place is almost silly at this point. While you need to dedicate some time to set up automatic backups, you don’t have to keep up with them — they simply run in the background.”
Yev Pusin (Director of Strategy, Backblaze), chipped in with this:
“World Backup Day is coming up, and while many will folks will go with phrases like ‘Don’t be an April Fool, Backup Today,’ it is not the route I’ll go down this year. Backing up your data is something that should be taken seriously, especially with the recent increase in major ransomware attacks and the sudden increase in the amount of remote workers we are seeing in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
While World Backup Day serves as a great reminder of the importance of backing up your data, data backup is something that should be an everyday activity. That used to be a daunting task, but it no longer has to be one!”
Carl D’Halluin (CTO, Datadobi), had this to say on the topic:
“Ultimately, in a world of rising threats, organizations must develop the ability to protect and back up their data quickly, flexibly, securely, and cost-effectively, so data can be backed up down to the individual file level.”
Data Protection is Everyone’s Problem
Data protection is everyone’s problem. But I don’t want that to sound like I’m trying to scare you. It’s one of those things that’s important though. More and more of our everyday activities revolve around technology and data. In the much the same way as most of us now have home insurance, and car insurance, and health insurance, we also need to consider the need for data insurance. This isn’t just a problem for companies, and it’s not just a problem for the end user, it’s a problem for everyone.
So what can you do? There’s all manner of things you can do to improve your personal and business data protection situation. From a personal perspective, I recommend you do the equivalent of going to your doctor for a health check, and do a health check on your data. Spend a day taking note of everything that you interact with, and question the data that’s generated during those interactions. Is it important to you? What would you do if you couldn’t access it? Then go and find a way to protect it if possible. That might be something as mundane as taking screenshots of messages (and baking up the resultant screenshots). It might be more complicated, and involve installing some software on your computer. Whatever it is, if you’re not doing it, and you think you should be, try and make it a priority. If it all seems too complicated, or something you don’t feel capable of doing yourself, don’t be afraid to ask people on the Internet for help.
The same goes for business. You might work for a company where the responsibility for data protection in a corporate sense lies with someone else, but I would suggest that, just like workplace health and safety, data protection (availability, integrity, and security) is everyone’s responsibility. If you’re generating data and keeping it on your laptop, how is your company going to protect that data? Is there a place you should be storing it? Why aren’t you doing that? Is your company relying on SaaS applications but not protecting those apps? Talk to the people responsible. Things go wrong all the time. You don’t want to be on the wrong end of it. Indeed, in celebration of World Backup Day, I recently jumped on a Druva podcast with W. Curtis Preston and Stephen Manley to talk about when things do go wrong. You can listen to it here.
Data protection can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Particularly when you start to understand the value of your data. So let’s all try to make every day “World Backup Day”. Okay, I know that’s a terrible line, but you know what I mean.