Are you part of the 72% of organizations that don’t have an adequate data recovery (DR) plan in place? Even if you’ve maximized your resources to protect your data, your organization may not be fully prepared. A backup and recovery audit assesses your data security and DR readiness and provides valuable intelligence to ensure you have the right plan in place.
Your Data Is at Risk
Data is more vulnerable than ever. It is critical to frequently assess that your posture is keeping pace with the latest threats; however, there is no guaranteed way to stop a determined criminal.
Cybercriminals are relentless in their efforts to breach businesses, sabotage data, or hold it for ransom. A solid data recovery plan creates another viable alternative to paying an enormous ransom.
Cybercriminals aren’t the only threats to data — Mother Nature can wreak havoc too. The effects of too much (or not enough) rain can result in extreme flooding conditions for some and wildfires for others. There’s only a small window of warning when it comes to hurricanes and tornadoes, and with safety as the first priority, worrying about data loss only adds extra stress.
Knowing how, when, and which data can be restored in the event of a data disaster is critical information for any business. That alone is enough reason to conduct a data recovery audit to confirm the viability of your plan; however, there are other benefits. Here’s how you can use a backup and recovery audit to inform your business strategy.
Re-evaluate and Re-Prioritize IT Budgets
As your business evolves, so should your data protection plan. Budgetary allocations often don’t consider changing needs or emerging (and better) technologies, especially in the case of data storage and security.
A backup and recovery audit provides ‘proof points’ to help drive budget changes or reallocations to keep pace with cybersecurity and right-size your data backup and DR initiatives.
IT executives need to consider two important factors when allocating resources for DR: compliance requirements and the cost of downtime. Many organizations’ backup and DR needs are driven in part by their industry compliance requirements. This is especially true for financial institutions, government, and healthcare entities who must adhere to standards like FDIC, SSAE, HIPAA, and GDPR. As these standards evolve, organizations must review and enhance their DR capabilities to keep pace.
To determine the appropriate backup and disaster recovery investments, organizations should first calculate their specific downtime costs. These include lost revenues and productivity, recovery expenses, and intangibles (e.g., lost future business, damage to reputation).
Downtime costs add up quickly, especially in the face of a natural disaster. For example, Hurricane Rita resulted in 384 hours of power outages, and Hurricane Sandy caused 337 hours. According to a 2021 survey by ITIC, 44% of enterprises say downtime costs can exceed $1 million per hour.
Armed with the backup and recovery audit findings, a summary of compliance requirements, and an understanding of downtime costs, business leaders can make informed decisions about resource allocation to address data backup requirements.
Optimize Network Infrastructure and Performance
A backup and recovery audit does more than uncover misalignments between your business-driven backup and recovery requirements and your existing DR plan. It also helps identify and resolve network infrastructure and performance issues that prevent your backup and DR plan from working properly.
Frequent backups drive significant network traffic, and the strain on legacy networks may impact the performance of other critical applications. If the audit identifies network performance issues, it allows the IT department to see any vulnerabilities in traffic flow, areas to improve network performance, and key components of backup and recovery plans. Executing audit recommendations will lead to smoother day-to-day operations and greater productivity for the IT department and the entire company.
Internal Versus Third-Party Audits
After understanding the value of a data recovery audit, the next step is to ensure the quality of the audit. Engaging a third-party vendor is almost always the best option. For the same reasons accountants trust a third-party auditor to confirm a company’s financials, IT teams benefit from an outsider perspective to take a fresh look and validate its data protection strategy.
The audit’s goal is not to ‘call out’ the internal IT team or their hard work. A third party brings an outsider perspective, the benefits of having conducted hundreds of previous audits, and the ability to work with the internal team to ensure the business data recovery plan will perform as expected.