Why Companies Need to Rethink Backup and Recovery

The current technology risk landscape shows how crucial backup and recovery is for companies. Whether a business suffers an equipment failure, natural disaster, or a targeted attack, backup and recovery may be the only solution to the loss of data and mission-critical applications. When detection and prevention measures fail, backup and recovery is the last line of defense.

Not all backup and recovery strategies are created equal, though. The wrong strategy can leave your backup data and applications vulnerable to the same threat as your primary systems. Some recent incidents expose mistakes companies are making when developing backup and recovery plans. Companies need to respond to trends in cybercrime and adequately prepare for the chance of an accidental outage.

The Rise of Ransomware

The ever-growing threat of ransomware demands that companies re-evaluate their backup and recovery strategies. When ransomware infects a company’s systems, it encrypts all of their files. Hackers then demand a ransom in bitcoin in return for a decryption key. If the victim hasn’t backed up their data effectively, they may be forced to pay the ransom or lose their data forever.

According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), an average of over 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred each day since January 1, 2016. This is a 300% increase over the attack rate in 2015.

And these ransomware attacks are hitting their victims hard. The FBI reports that victims of ransomware lost $209 million overall in just the first quarter of 2016. An attack may bring business to a screeching halt for days or even weeks.

The FBI advises against paying the ransom because the cybercriminals often still refuse to supply a decryption key. The ransom merely encourages and financially supports further criminal activity. Instead, the FBI recommends strengthening business continuity by performing and testing backups regularly.

Despite highly publicized ransomware attacks like the successful attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, many companies don’t conduct regular backups. MSP Mentor reports that 53% of small and medium businesses don’t back up daily.

Not only does backup need to be performed regularly, but backup data needs to be stored in the right place. Ensuring that backup systems are disconnected from the infected system helps guarantee successful recovery. For this reason, deploying off-site backup is preferable to on-site.

The Consequences of an Accidental Outage

Not all disastrous incidents are intentional. Accidental outages from mechanical failures can be crippling for companies that don’t have reliable backup and recovery systems in place. Gartner estimates that an outage costs an average of $5,600 per minute. Costs may include lost productivity, lost data, and compensations for customer and client inconvenience.

For example, Delta Airlines experienced the crippling effects of a flawed backup and recovery system during an outage in August of 2016. Power failed in the command center, causing Delta to cancel 1,800 flights and delay a significant number of flights. When power returned, computer systems and networks failed to switch over to backup, creating a snowball effect as the airline was unable to check in or board passengers and dispatch aircraft. CNN reports the cost to Delta Airlines reached $150 million.

Delta’s downtime illustrates the importance of a speedy recovery. For Delta, a 5-hour outage turned into 2 days of cancellations and flight delays. A redundant system kept off-site would have helped them to recover more quickly. An off-site system would not have been affected by the initial power failure.

Exploring the Latest Backup and Recovery Strategies

When on-site systems fall victim to either a targeted attack or a mechanical failure, the best chance of recovery is to rely on off-site backup. For instance, if a blizzard hits your headquarters in Manhattan, a hosted data center in Florida isn’t going to be affected. With the need for off-site backup and recovery, the cloud becomes an attractive option.

The Enterprise Strategy Group found that backup and recovery as a service (BRaaS) is the top use for cloud infrastructure, just ahead of disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). Quorum’s The State of Disaster Recovery 2016 found that 89% of IT leaders are turning to the cloud for backup and recovery.

IBM Power Systems: Raising New Possibilities for Backup and Recovery

IBM Power Systems can help with this transition to cloud backup and recovery. IBM Power System Enterprise Servers are designed specially to enable a smooth migration to private or hybrid cloud platforms. The hybrid cloud is ideal for backup and recovery because of its combination of on-premises and off-site environments.

IBM has also announced a wide range of solutions that enable high availability, backup, and recovery with Power Systems, including IBM i and AIX. Options include geographically dispersed resiliency that enables companies to recover operations on an IBM hosted site. IBM Cloud Storage Connector provides a portal for connecting with a public cloud. The Connector can be used with IBM Backup, Recovery, and Media Services to move data off-site, eliminating the need for backing up to a local tape drive.

To take advantage of backup and recovery with IBM Power, your company needs to find the right partner. As an IBM Premier Business Partner, ABC Services gives you company access to all IBM’s options for backup and recovery with Power Systems. We have a depth of experience in evaluating, designing, and installing Power Systems for many types of companies.

Learn more about how IBM Power enhances your backup and recovery strategy by reaching out to ABC Services

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