Data Storage

What Even Is World Backup Day And Why Is It Important?

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

We take a look at the origins of World Backup Day and why businesses should take it seriously

Right everyone, stop what you’re doing, pack your bags and go home. Today is actually a global holiday and yet we’ve all been tricked into working.

That’s right, today (31st March) is World Backup Day 2017.

For those of you who have never heard of it, World Backup Day was established in 2011 by a Youngstown State University student called Ismail Jadun and has grown significantly over the last few years.

Jadun is also the man behind a San Francisco-based company called 614a, a digital agency where people can go if they “are looking to kickstart a new project, research new opportunities or develop a brand”.  There are other public projects listed on the 614a site, including an Ubuntu alternate reality game and an initiative around net neutrality.

World Backup Day

The idea for World Backup Day was sparked by comments on reddit discussing the importance of backing up data and Jadun shrewdly decided that the day before April Fool’s Day would be the perfect time to back up your important files.  

The initiative is designed to raise awareness and educate people about the increasing role that data is playing in our everyday lives and the importance of carrying out regular backups.

WBD cites stats which say that 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute, 29 percent of disasters are caused by accidents and that one in ten computers and infected with viruses each month, emphasising just how easy it is to lose your precious files.

“I’m thrilled with the response to World Backup Day, and I hope it’s made a difference in people’s lives,” said Jadun. “We all know someone who has lost critical data, whether it was their videos, photos, music, book reports, or personal stuff.

“Hopefully this day will make everyone think about their situation, learn about the various options and get their files backed up. I hope that World Backup Day sparks conversations about the enormous task of saving our digital heritage for future generations.”

All well and good, I hear you cry, but what does World Backup Day have to do with business? I’m glad you asked.

Business backups

The World Backup Day website defines a backup as “a second copy of all your important files — for example, your family photos, home videos, documents and emails. Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe.”

Wise advice for anyone, and the issue of backups is perhaps more prevalent for businesses now than it ever has been before.

As well as an increasingly dangerous threat landscape with cyber criminals constantly attempting to pilfer corporate data, businesses also have to deal with things like natural disasters knocking systems offline, human error, technical failures and adverse weather conditions, all of which put the safety of their information at risk.

data loss

On the security front, Jason Howells – EMEA Director for the MSP Solutions Business at Barracuda Networks – believes the rise of ransomware has made backup and recovery the number one priority for IT teams: “The single most effective defence against ransomware is an ability to recover an organisation’s data from another data source. Without backups in place, the majority of businesses simply wind up paying the ransom to recover their data,” he said.

“It’s not like these backup and disaster recovery technologies haven’t been around for a long time, it’s just that it has been hard to get businesses to focus on data protection until now. Thankfully, business owners are starting to see that having a disaster recovery service in place could make the difference between a minor nuisance and a total catastrophe.”

However, solving the issue is easier said than done. “The sheer scale of data in circulation means that a simple backup tool is no longer enough in minimising the risk of valuable file or database goes missing or becoming corrupted,” Lillian Pang, senior director of legal and data protection officer at Rackspace told Silicon.

“In addition, the process of backing up data has become more complex than it used to be because companies are more conscious than ever of the compliance regulations they have to adhere to. If processes aren’t in place to meet legislation like GDPR, it’s not just reputational damage that organisations need to worry about – high fines could also have a significant business impact.”

Steve Lewis, CTO of UK & Ireland at Hitachi Data Systems agreed, citing factors such as increasing levels of data collection and a changing regulatory landscape as reasons why “it’s now more important than ever for companies to focus on safely and securely storing organisational and customer data.”

Top tips

So, what can businesses do to help protect their most valuable data?

Phil Maynard, data protection director EMEA at Barracuda suggests following the 3-2-1 rule:
Have at least three copies of your data, store the copies on two different media (either disk and tape or two separate systems) and keep one backup copy offsite.

He also advises business to regularly test their ability to restore from backups, perform a complete disaster recovery test at least once a year and always make sure that more than one person knows the backup and recovery procedures.

Data protection firm Acronis also offered some advice, saying businesses should ensure their software is kept up to date to hold off cyber criminals and always be wary of suspicious email, links, and attachments.

So go forth, spread the message and take the World Backup Day pledge to solemnly swear to backup your important documents and precious memories.

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