How easy is it to get your data back?

By: IT Donut contributor

Date: 3 November 2014

Library shelves – where’s your data?{{}}Data backup and storage is the IT equivalent of tidying things up at the end of the day. It means you’ve put all your information away neatly so it’s accounted for, secure and easy to find.

It sounds fairly straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, think again…

More data in more places

Every day, more data is handled by your employees, who may be in different places using a whole variety of devices.

This broad distribution of data can make it more vulnerable — and any security breaches could damage your company.

Sometimes, the solution is to put together a centrally-controlled data backup and storage plan. But where should you keep those backups?

This is where the debate starts. In the red corner are the cloud converts. These people are quick to point out that nothing offers the same storage capacity, flexibility and ease of access as backing up your data to the cloud.

Over in the blue corner, we find people who approach the cloud with caution. They cite research such as a recent Symantec study showing that 68% of companies have run into some issues when recovering data from the cloud.

A complex workplace

The workplace is complex. Companies need to prioritise IT spending and work with old IT equipment as they build confidence in the security and benefits of a cloud provider.

But once you have that confidence, the result is that your information is tidy, managed and protected in a cost-effective way.

Until, that is, employees start asking for data they have lost or can’t access. The effort required to meet these requests can catch you off guard.

Data retrieval demands

Earlier this year, we (Iron Mountain) interviewed ten senior IT professionals in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

These conversations revealed some firms are seeing data retrieval requests increase by as much as 60%, year-on-year.

Often, employees want to retrieve documents they have accidentally deleted or misfiled. Or perhaps they want to view access-controlled, centrally stored business data.

In any case, getting the data can be frustrating, complicated and time-consuming. Sometimes, it requires help from an external expert.

How valuable is your data?

How important is data to your business? In companies where data represents a significant competitive advantage — and keeping it confidential is important — employees may not be allowed to keep business information on their computers.

Instead, they might need to request data on a case-by-case basis. This can create a flood of daily retrieval requests.

Ultimately, you need to ensure that ease of data retrieval is factored into your overall data backup and storage plan.

The best approach is a tiered one, with information ranked from by how often it’s likely to be requested. Data required frequently can stored on servers nearby. Less-vital information can be clearly indexed and stored off site, where it can still be retrieved if required.

This blended approach keeps thing running smoothly, while minimising the impact on your IT resources.

Tidying data away and getting it out again may seem peripheral to the exciting things you do with the information. However, if you don’t get those two stages right, the bit in the middle can’t happen either.

Copyright © 2014 Christian Toon, Head of Information Risk at Iron Mountain.

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