Why Companies Should Bring the Backup Discussion to the Board Room

By December 18, 2018Blog

Michael Sanders, Cobalt Iron

As primary custodians of data in a company, the CIO or IT Director often own and manage data backup. At the board level it is expected that the decisions made by these data custodians will be aligned with the financial and strategic goals of the enterprise. The reality is that very few people in IT have sufficient transparency to the financial and operational impact of being out of business for hours or days at a time. It is important to include all of the appropriate stakeholders in IT planning in order to get a complete picture of the total impact of data loss or disruption. A serious question that the executive committee or board of directors needs to ask is: how fast can we restore our business data in the event of loss?

Most IT staff members will point to a disaster recovery (DR) plan as the answer. While a necessary tool for recovery, a DR plan seldom adequately answers this question. The DR plan tends to be focused on the process of restore operations while the business-driven impacts are often absent. Generally, the most critical omission is a clear indication of which are the mission-critical data and how fast do they need to be recovered in order to avoid an intolerable loss of revenue and public trust. So, data backup is a critical executive and board level question.

Now there is still an elephant in the room that IT mostly ignores. Even if you have a good plan for timely restoration of the mission-critical data there are still significant risks. This is because almost all IT organizations rely on highly complex and sometimes antiquated systems that have been pieced together over time. The solutions in place are far too expensive, massively complex, and highly prone to human error. As a result, most enterprises never even talk about how serious their risk is until they have to restore some mission-critical data that has been lost. When that happens, the executive team and board may realize too late just how crucial these discussions are around identifying the top priority data sets and defining the required time to recovery.

Once a company has evaluated the priorities and costs the next step is to review the deployed backup solution, or solutions, to determine if critical data can be reliably restored within the required time frame. How easy is it to validate the restored data? Who has the necessary expertise and authorization to complete the restore? Can we get assistance with the restore if needed? Will the system support bare metal restore? These are just a few of the key questions that should be evaluated to determine if the current solutions(s) will deliver the required performance if disaster strikes.

Companies who question the reliability of their existing collection of solutions to deliver at the time of need should consider modernizing their backup. Cutting edge data protection solutions like Cobalt Iron’s Adaptive Data Protection (ADP) utilize analytics and automation to deliver 99.9+% backup success rates and prepare enterprises for timely recovery of data while massively reducing management activities through automation. Embracing this new generation of data protection with Cobalt Iron’s ADP can put the organization on track to extract greatly increased value from backup investments and reduce the risk of data loss.

For companies looking to evaluate their existing plan or improve their readiness to respond to data loss or disruption the following questions are provided as starting point for the executive team or board of directors to begin the discussion.

  1. What are our 10 most critical data sets in order of importance?
  2. How long will it take to restore each of the most critical data sets?
  3. Which staff member(s) are responsible for restoring each data set?
  4. What is the ideal restore order of these critical data sets?
  5. What is the cost (financial, operational, reputation, etc.) of being unavailable for each data set?
  6. What is our current level of confidence for each data set that we can recover within the required time frame?
  7. How easy is it to validate the stored data?
  8. Who has the necessary expertise and authorization to complete the restore?
  9. Can we get assistance with the restore if needed?
  10. Will the system support a bare metal restore?

When these questions are answered everyone can sleep a little bit easier.

Click here to download a free copy of this list of questions to start your discussion.