Data Resiliency: Paramount for Modern Businesses

Data is at the heart of many, if not most, modern businesses. But as digital transformation continues to fuel attack surface expansion, it’s getting harder and harder to protect vital data.

Data is at the heart of many, if not most, modern businesses. But as digital transformation continues to fuel attack surface expansion, it’s getting harder and harder to protect vital data. Gone are the days when data resided solely in company databases. It now inhabits the cloud, desktops, laptops, smartphones, you name it. It’s everywhere and yet, no matter where it is, it needs to be available and accessible — and resilient.

Data resiliency is a company’s ability to withstand and recover in a timely manner from an unexpected outage or disruption to data or system accessibility — whether caused by natural disasters, malicious cyberattacks, or unintentional human error, and whether involving data loss, deletion, damage, or encryption.

Data resilience is not to be confused with disaster recovery plans or backup solutions. While fundamental to data resiliency, disaster recovery plans and backup solutions are part of a larger framework that encompasses a wide range of preventative, reactive and proactive measures designed to maintain the availability, integrity and security of an organization’s critical data and systems. Data resiliency is much broader and generally, falls under a greater business continuity plan.

Businesses with a sound data resiliency strategy will not only be able to recover and restore data, but also quickly mitigate or hopefully, outright prevent disruptions.

In short, the intent is to beef up systems now to protect data — and businesses — from potential harm.

How important is data resiliency to your business?

That depends. How long can your business run without access to data?

No one knows your business better than you. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself: Have you done enough to prepare? Can you take a hit and quickly respond and recover? How adaptable is your business?

While a restaurant could likely continue service if a point-of-service system temporarily went down, a high-frequency trading (HFT) firm whose algorithms rely on split-second decisions based on real-time market data that’s critical for executing trades might very well “lose it all” over the slightest interruption in its data stream. In fact, losing access to trading data for even a few seconds, let alone indefinitely, isn’t an option. In the latter case, business continuity is dependent on data resilience.

So, the next question is, if your business relies on data, how long can your business be down?

Depending on the nature of the business, data breaches or other disruptions to data accessibility can bring organizations to their knees, thus halting transactions, production, and communications. They can also cause reputational damage or lead to lengthy, often costly notification requirements or legal entanglements to ensure compliance with various data protection and privacy standards.

According to Ponemon Institute and IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, the average cost of a breach in the US was US$9.48 million. While larger enterprises may be able to absorb such a hit, most companies don’t have the same financial reserves and could risk shuttering their business in the aftermath of a cyber incident.

So, in a world where there are no guarantees and sometimes, no second chances, the more proactive, prepared, and data resilient you can be now, the better off you will be when an inevitable disruption occurs.

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