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Digital transformation means that organizations and consumers are now producing more data than ever before, as more transactions are carried out online, over mobile devices and applications, essentially eliminating the traditional perimeter. The information and insights provided by this data are crucial to businesses to optimize products, services, and messaging based on what resonates with consumers. As a result of these business benefits, maintaining data has become a top priority.

However, as IT environments become more complex between on-premises data centers and the cloud, tracking, cleansing, and backing up all of this data is a challenge. This challenge is compounded by the increase in multi-cloud environments that require IT teams to correlate and centralize data being stored across multiple cloud service providers. IT teams have faced these types of challenges before, managing the influx of applications and shadow IT brought in by different lines of business across distributed environments, and the increased use of cloud highlights the need for how important backup solutions are yet again.

As data becomes a valuable asset to both businesses and cybercriminals, organizations must ensure they have a mature multi-cloud backup strategy in place.

Why Data Backups Are Important

Data is among the most valuable business assets today, and as such, organizations cannot take chances with its backup plan.

There are a host of issues that can arise that lead to the corruption or loss of data, however, the most common act associated with data loss is cybercrime.

Cybercriminals have been developing sophisticated attacks with the aim of stealing data to sell on the dark web, use for fraudulent purposes, or hold for ransom. For example, ransomware attacks infect a corporate network, encrypt its data, and will not provide the decryption key until the criminals are paid a certain amount of money. This brings operations to a screeching halt, and many businesses opt to pay the ransom to minimize downtime and get back to work. Unfortunately, even when organizations do pay the ransom, their data has been in the control of cybercriminals for a significant amount of time, making it difficult to determine if it has been tampered with or corrupted.

With a current, secure backup, organizations can minimize the risks posed by ransomware and other cyberattacks as they are able to restore systems with data they know has not been compromised.

Aside from cyberattacks, data can also be lost due to physical destruction – for example flooding in the facility that stores the servers, rogue or compromised admin accounts that purposefully delete data, or even human error that leads to unintentional deletions.

Regular, uniform cloud backups are the most flexible and cost-effective way to ensure data accessibility and security.

Challenges of Multi-Cloud Backup

Today, different stakeholders and lines of business make different cloud decisions. Perhaps marketing chooses to use an application that runs on Azure, while finance uses a different application that runs on AWS. These organizations are now referencing the same customer data in two cloud environments.

These multi-cloud environments are becoming common place, with 86 percent of enterprises having adopted a multi-cloud strategy. This means that IT teams must now ensure they are backing up all of this data on separate clouds, and maintaining compliance with various regulatory standards across each.

Backup for Your Multi-Cloud Strategy

IT teams must establish a system to manage and maintain cross-organizational data stored across multiple clouds. To do this effectively, organizations should move towards the following:

Centralized: For effective multi-cloud backup, organizations not only need one central location in which to store data, they must also have one centralized process by which this data is backed up and organized. Establishing this process will require in-depth knowledge and experience of how each cloud service operates and how data is configured within that environment. An effective strategy will provide the single pane of glass visibility into cloud instances as well as data stored on-premises.

Secure: Organizations must ensure their backup is stored securely and is isolated from the broader network. This will guarantee that a cyberattack on the network cannot also compromise the backup reserved for recovery. Part of this security is safeguarding encryption in transit and at rest, and that only authorized entities can access the backup and the data stored therein, especially in terms of compliance regulations.

Final Thoughts

Data is too valuable a resource for organizations to leave to chance – especially as sophisticated cyberattacks persist. As multi-cloud environments become the norm, IT teams must have an effective backup strategy in place to ensure their data is recoverable. This will require establishing a single, central management platform with a standardized process for data cleansing, security, and compliance.