Backup & DR: the strongest link

Editorial Type: Opinion Date: 02-2021 Views: 70 Tags: Storage, Backup, Management, Disaster Recovery, Cloud, DR, METCloud PDF Version:
Ian Vickers of METCloud discusses the steps that businesses need to put in place in order to minimise downtime when disaster strikes

The recent coronavirus pandemic has been the clearest demonstration of the importance of good business continuity planning. With the stratospheric rise in reports of ransomware and cyber-crime attacks on businesses, organisations today must consider business continuity planning outcomes beyond natural events like hurricanes and earthquakes.

METCloud's recently launched, next generation Cloud Backup and DR Platform, engineered with global leaders HPE and VEEAM, addresses the current business continuity challenges faced by the modern business. This comes at a crucial time as recent statistics show that not enough companies have robust protection from the onslaught of ransomware attacks despite the greater chance of being targeted by cyber-criminals than falling victim to natural events.

SERIOUS ACTION NEEDED NOW
Pre-Covid lockdown, almost half of businesses across the UK had reported some kind of cybersecurity breach. While official updates have yet to be made on the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's cybersecurity breaches survey since March this year, there is no doubt that this number has shifted astronomically over the course of the pandemic. In fact, the latest annual report by NCSC indicates that a quarter of cyber incidents detected in the UK are related to Covid-19 - criminals targeted the NHS and tried to profit from public fear of the pandemic.

This statistic does not actually include the number of ransomware attacks. Most recently, English football club Manchester United reported that it had been hit with a sophisticated cyber attack. The club apparently evaded disaster as they had protocols and procedures in place that allowed them to isolate the damage and protect important data. The question is, what are these 'protocols and procedures'? Do SMEs really have to look at integrating them into their operations?

IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE
Ransomware essentially encrypts (locks) the victim's computer system until a ransom is paid to the cyber-criminal for them to release it back to the business. UK companies are amongst the highest ransom payers in the world.

While high-profile ransomware attacks on big organisations like the NHS, Garmin and Manchester United make the news, the reality is that it can and does happen to small and medium businesses far too often. Ransomware attacks can cripple such businesses and they do not recover from it in the same way a bigger business can.

It is practically impossible to avoid a ransomware attempt in the same way that a warehouse cannot avoid break-in attempts, or damaged goods as a result of a flash flood or fire, but there are ways to prepare for them in order to minimise the damage.


"Backing up the data that the business needs to run on is a good start in ensuring that it can continue functioning when disaster hits. By ensuring that copies are adequately up to date, a business has the safety net of restoring the backup information in the event that the original information gets wiped or corrupted. That said, it is important to have a strategy to execute this effectively, with minimal disruption. This is where disaster recovery comes in."
ENTER DR & BACKUP
All businesses recognise that IT downtime very swiftly translates to loss in revenue. Pandemics, natural disasters, human error and even ransomware attacks jeopardise the seamless IT resources needed to keep the business running.

Backing up the data that the business needs to run on is a good start in ensuring that it can continue functioning when disaster hits. By ensuring that copies are adequately up to date, a business has the safety net of restoring the backup information in the event that the original information gets wiped or corrupted. That said, it is important to have a strategy to execute this effectively, with minimal disruption. This is where disaster recovery comes in.

The complexity of the IT infrastructure in modern businesses means that data backup is not quite as simple as putting the information back into the data centre and taking off after a serious outage. It is important for businesses to put processes in place and adequately plan for unforeseen events.

These processes have to be strategically planned - and rehearsed - in order to minimise downtime after a significant deletion or corruption. Simply put, businesses quite often find that customer retention is at risk when they are unable to attend to their demands as a result of the 'system being down' for a few days.

INVESTMENT THAT SCALES
Right now, SMEs have various options to choose from when it comes to backup and disaster recovery solutions. The reality is that it requires some level of in-house expertise in order to manage effectively and efficiently. This can be onerous to a small-medium business owner.

METCloud offers backup and disaster recovery as services that are completely hosted and managed by a team of specialised experts. This means that companies are able to focus on their core business while the team of IT experts at METCloud handles the end-to-end care that they need.

As there is no capital expenditure requirement with METCloud, businesses pay a monthly subscription fee for a quick implementation of Backup as a Service. Without the need for hardware investment or maintenance, users enjoy cost-effective scalability based on their needs and flexibility when the time comes to adjust their needs.

CYBER-SECURITY A PRIORITY
Cyber-security is a non-negotiable priority at METCloud. Data backup is always encrypted during transmission. This means that the data is always protected from unauthorised access. To ensure robust business continuity and being in line with good disaster recovery protocols, METCloud customers do not just have one backup location at METCloud, a second copy of data is backed up at a separate location to minimise the risk of catastrophic loss in the event of disaster at the primary backup location.

IMPROVING AT YOUR PACE
METCloud is sympathetic to the fact that making significant IT upgrades can be intimidating for many businesses. After all, without the core expertise available in-house, how does one go about 'fixing the IT issues' when one-off calls to an outsource IT professional can get expensive?

The reality is that cyber-threats are more relentless than ever before. Hence, the protection against them should be unambivalent. At METCloud we can offer a 3-tiered approach to achieving comprehensive Backup and Disaster Recovery for your business. Each tier adds an increased level of protection and resilience, starting from Tier 1: BaaS, Tier 2: BaaS & IaaS up to the most secure Tier 3: BaaS, IaaS & DRaaS.

More info: www.metcloud.com