Data loss is a major problem, as indicated by an analysis of the raw information used for scientific studies. Businesses are at risk of data loss too, of course. Let’s look at how costly losing your data is and specifically assess the role of multiple disparate locations.
- Science suffering huge data loss
- Typical SMB scenario
- Most enterprises lose data every year
- Impact of location on business data loss
- Store data in 3 or more locations
- Cloud hosting for data loss prevention
Science suffering huge data loss
A disturbing article was published in the academic journal Nature in 2013. Elizabeth Gibney and Richard Van Noorden revealed that it’s possible as much as 80% of scientific data could be lost by 2033. Why, in the era of cloud computing and disaster-recovery-as-a-service, should this be happening?
Professors and other researchers admitted that they have research data in many different odd places, such as attics, garages, and even on obsolete floppy disks. Because physical information is often hidden away like that in inaccessible locations, science is losing information at a fast clip.
A review in Current Biology wanted to track down the raw information for 516 ecology studies published from 1991 to 2011. The scientists directly contacted the study authors; as indicated above, the findings were disturbing. “[W]hereas data for almost all studies published just two years ago were still accessible, the chance of them being so fell by 17% per year,” explain Gibney and Van Noorden. “Availability dropped to as little as 20% for research from the early 1990s.”
The solution to this data loss problem, like any, is simple: additional copies, placed in geographically diversified locations. In other words, using cloud hosting powered by a CDN.
Typical SMB scenario
Are you under the impression that merely backing up your company’s information is a solution in and of itself? As indicated by the loss of scientific data, it’s critical that your data is backed up in multiple locations. In this way, geographic diversification is a critical concept for all organizations, in terms of disaster recovery and business continuity.
Let’s look at this from the SMB perspective. You are a small business, and you haven’t yet set up a cloud backup system for your company. Your business goes underwater in a flash flood. You have insurance, allowing you to rebuild. The problem is that your data backup is only 20 minutes away, and that facility is flooded too. You don’t have insurance on that information – and it could be your most valuable asset.
Let’s look at how costly losing your data can be and the role of geographic diversity in lowering risk to your business.
Most enterprises lose data every year
There are two basic possibilities if you suffer extreme data loss: you can either recover through your IT team or other specialists, or the data is completely gone. Just to look at the general overall numbers though, data loss and downtime together cost businesses a massive amount of money each year.
A 2014 study, cited by Eduard Kovacs in SecurityWeek, collected responses from 3300 IT leaders in two dozen different nations. The analysis revealed that enterprises (ie, companies that have at least 250 on staff) lost an incredible $1.7 trillion over the course of the previous year to loss of data and downtime. While there were fewer situations in which data was lost compared to 2012, the sheer amount of data that was destroyed grew by 400% over that same period.
Furthermore, most enterprises lose data annually, according to the study. In the previous year, nearly two in three enterprises (64%) had experienced downtime or data loss within the preceding twelve months. Downtime averaged 25 hours. Just over one-third either took a financial hit (36%) and/or suffered developmental setbacks (34%).
Impact of location on business data loss
Understanding the generally high cost of data loss, let’s move back to the environmental discussion. The fact is that flash floods, tornados, fires, and other natural disasters derail businesses frequently. Here are the top reasons why a company might lose its information, according to a 2015 survey highlighted by Timothy King in Solutions Review:
- Hardware or datacenter failure – 47%
- Environmental disasters – 34.5%.
Knowing that data is often lost to natural events, the best advice to outfits that are establishing disaster recovery plans is to make sure their data is geographically distributed, says King. “Given that, it would seem obvious that organizations would move in that direction…, in order to apply further safeguarding to their data,” he adds. “Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.”
Where is data backup typically located? For many organizations, it is in close proximity to their business. These portions of different business categories had their backup within 25 miles of their central location:
Government – 46%
Academic – 27.5%
Non-profit – 23%
Private-sector business – 16%.
When a company has its backup within 25 miles, there’s a good chance (although not always of course) that a natural disaster would affect both of the locations. Looking at that possibility, clearly the backup location could not serve its function.
That’s a big problem, says King. “The point to having a secondary server or data storage site is to avoid catastrophes that occur at the main site,” he says. “By having them so close together, the backup becomes almost worthless.”
Store data in 3 or more locations
Your data recovery plan should incorporate onsite backup, offsite backup, and online backup in at least three geographically diverse places, argues Zaid Ammari in Tech.Co. That way your chances of downtime and disruption in customer service are significantly reduced.
While many businesses have multiple redundancies for data, again, the issue is that their backup systems are located nearby – creating high risk. The chance of losing a backup that’s local is .25%. That may sound very low, but it’s “still too risky for critically important proprietary information,” says Ammari. Store data in three locations, on the other hand, and “the probability of data backup survival rises to 99.99 percent, virtually ensuring that the company’s data will remain completely intact regardless of the situation.”
Here are five top points that are often mentioned by security thought-leaders related to disaster recovery and data protection:
- Figure out your threats. How might your information be at risk? Know possible problems such as a breach, accidental deletion, file corruption, or a natural event.
- Audit what you have. Knowing how to preserve your data in part depends on knowing where it is and who can get to it.
- Decide when redundancies are needed. Obviously back up anything mission-critical. Anything that is proprietary or contains sensitive information is certainly high-priority too.
- Determine your locations for backup. You want to have a minimum of three diversified off-site locations for your data, notes Ammari. “Files are less likely to be compromised if there are multiple copies stored on various media,” he says. “If a disaster strikes, duplicate copies in separate and distinct locations can help prevent a permanent data loss.”
Cloud hosting for data loss prevention
Are you wanting to better protect your business from data loss through geographic diversity? Distribute your data geographically through cloud hosting. At Total Server Solutions, our cloud uses the fastest hardware, coupled with a far-reaching network. Learn more.