Data Archiving

Data Archival

11 Reasons You Should Invest In Data Archival

A universal fact that will always remain true is “Data will keep growing in size and type” with the progress of time. We are living in a world where we need digital information at our fingertips. Some of this information we need immediately and some we save for later. Applying this to a typical IT setup, the data we save for later can be termed as “Archival”. Interestingly explains word archive as “any extensive record or collection of data”. This data can become very complicated when not taken seriously. Here, I’m going to share my experiences with data management that make it important to think about archiving old data. Reasons to Invest in Data Archival 1. Managing large data volumes Large volume of unstructured data resides in file servers belonging to several current & past users. Users keep storing their data on the file server sometimes not even realizing if it is really business critical. In all such cases, there is no data handling process when a user leaves the organization. No one to decide which of his data is really business critical and even needs to be retained. For users running a project in collaboration, data is regularly updated from multiple sources into a common shared folder. Many a times I have seen the project owners making a copy with them when the project is over and again leave a copy on the file server as well. Over a period of time and employee turnover, the new management has no way to decide what action can be taken against this data. Even Compliance does not allow deleting the data for a minimum of 7 to 10 years. This keeps pilling up the file server forcing you to regularly upgrade the file servers both in terms of performance as well as capacity.  Large volumes of emails for the user mailboxes create the same threat for the mailing application as well. Does it sounds familiar ?? 2. Managing mailbox sizes Users for organizations running with quota based mailboxes keep moving their data to archival mailboxes manually to free up space to handle more emails. The over loaded mailboxes do not allow sending & receiving emails any further and until the user gets back into his limits, he is struck with email movement. The manual process of moving mails out of the mailbox is cumbersome. It also needs a regular watch on the mailbox size to try & ensure that this is performed before the size goes beyond the limit. This process has all the ingredients to result in a potential data loss if not handled very carefully. 3. Reducing Storage Footprint To store such large volumes of data, you need to regularly upgrade the infrastructure both in terms of capacity & capability to handle more data with the exception of course that the original investment is over-sized. Even in that case, the technological advancement and Warranty renewals prompt you to look for a newer storage equally over-sized in every warranty renewal cycle. Archival helps move data to a secondary storage. For files, you can set an archival policy based on your data ageing, access patterns as well as data types. A scheduled archival job run would move this data to archival storage and reduce the footprint on the primary storage. It leaves a stub in the primary storage which is sized in KBs. The movement is transparent to the user with the only difference that when he accesses this old file, it gets downloaded from the secondary storage. For mailboxes, Email archival can be set to push the emails and the attachments to the archival storage and bring in a considerable reduction in the mailbox capacity by deleting them from the mailbox. Archival jobs don’t need to be online especially for file servers so an offline job can ensure zero production impact without bothering the users. Mailing applications can be configured for online journalling which copies an incoming/outgoing mail to the archive while delivering it to the user thereby again no performance impact. Removing them from the mailbox can also be done offline and synchronize the mailbox when the user comes online. Overall it helps reduce the storage footprint and maintain application performance. 4. Enhancing Employee Productivity Combining the above two & introducing an automated tool configured with the desired polices, you can enhance employee productivity by letting the tool take care of archives especially scheduled during off-peak hours. Users would no more be engaged in manual copying and their systems keep working seamlessly. Journalling emails and then short-cutting the old emails from the mailboxes automatically reduces users burden to perform manual archiving and deletion and reduces the risk of data loss. For files, you can set a data archival policy based on your data aging, access patterns as well as data types. A scheduled data archival job run by the archiving tools would move this online data to archival storage and reduce the footprint on the primary storage. It leaves a stub in the primary storage which is sized in KBs. The movement is transparent to the user with the only difference being that when he accesses this old file, it gets downloaded from the secondary storage. For mailboxes, Email archival can be set to push the emails and the attachments to the archival storage and bring in a considerable reduction in the mailbox capacity by deleting them from the mailbox. Archiving tools allow data archival especially for file servers to be run as offline jobs to ensure zero production performance impact while archiving old data. Mail archiving can be performed online through journalling which copies incoming/outgoing mail to the archival infrastructure while delivering it to the user thereby again no performance impact. Removing them from the mailbox can also be done offline and synchronize the mailbox when the user comes online. Overall it helps reduce the storage footprint and maintain application performance. 4. Enhance Employee Productivity Combining the above two & introducing automated data archiving tools configured

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Data Archiving

5 Steps to Create an Effective Data Archiving Strategy

Data archiving is the process of spotting data that is no more active and shifting it out of the production systems into long-term storage. Archived data is stored so that businesses can bring it back into use, anytime, as and when needed. The data archival strategy frees up the storage space for newer data, which is beneficial for businesses having limited resources. By archiving email, messages, files, and database records, businesses can free up space without risking regulatory violations or losing useful data that need to be utilized going forward. While data archiving and data backup are often mentioned in the same breath, both these terms are actually used for totally different purposes. Archiving is for compliance, space management, risk aversion, and long-term retention. Backup, on the other hand, is for recovery from hardware breakdown or data loss, or corruption. We’ve listed below some important steps to create data archiving strategies that make your move to holistic data storage as smooth as possible for your business: Steps to Create Effective Data Archiving Startegy Which Data to be Stored To determine what must be stored and then consider what sort of data your business handles. For instance, do you want your emails discoverable? Then list them in your data inventory as searchable archive material. Before you begin listing data to get archived, keep in mind, there is no universal guide to determine which data to archive. So, better sketch out a strategy with each division of your business, in tandem with your legal team, to dig up the safest and smartest course. If you handle confidential client data, such as lawyers, healthcare practitioners, and real estate agents, you should be aware of the industry norms about the storage of particular data. For instance, HIPAA regulations require healthcare institutions to maintain patient information for a specified time frame based on each state’s guidelines. You should archive the records of clients or patients who are no longer active, which is a fitting first step if you’re just beginning to carry out an archiving plan. While you need to maintain their records for legal reasons, their files are no longer active and don’t need constant backup. Also Read: Best Practices for Healthcare Data Backup & Recovery To keep everybody involved with your business in sync, devise an archive policy that entails a formalized and holistic stack of rules and processes. This document would contain: Archive Policy Document As summarized above, devising a solid policy requires input from your business’s IT professionals and the data archive provider’s admins and app owners. The aim is to create a document that is manageable and enforceable and requires the authentication of your business’s annual review and legal counsel. 2. Choose Data Archival Service Provider The security of your archived data must be a vital element while picking up a provider to manage your business’s critical data. As mentioned earlier, several industry norms require the safeguarding of specific data against damage and loss. This is where DLP or Data Loss Prevention strategy comes into the picture. 3. Encryption Encryption is key to ensuring confidential files remain that way. Encryption lets you approve and limit access to specific information based on your employees’ roles and situations. This ensures that an end-user can’t tweak the archived data. 4. Secure Data Backup You can also minimize data loss using a secure data backup through storage on remote servers. And, if the archived files ever need to get out of storage, they can be backed up whenever changes are made. 5. Audit Furthermore, data backup should offer an auditing method that can notify you anytime somebody accesses – or attempts to access – your archived documents. This develops comprehensive audit logs for you to recollect whenever your archived data is put into question. Before opting for any data archiving service, create a checklist of all the aspects you’re looking for to enjoy top-level data storage. Apart from what we’ve discussed above, you should look for services that come with: A data archival strategy is a critical component of your data lifecycle management policy, offering you a way to restore data while staying within a feasible storage budget. Moreover, today’s data archival solutions have solid infrastructure and search abilities that let businesses easily find and restore relevant information whenever they want. Having said that, surging data volumes and increasingly intricate regulatory frameworks have posed various challenges for IT pros tasked with managing data archiving on limited budgets. A top choice for most businesses, Ace Data offers data archiving solutions that allow easy access to your archived data whenever you want while minimizing the archiving storage cost and streamlining regulatory adherence. For more information, get in touch with us today, and let’s talk.

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RPO vs RTO in Disaster Recovery: Understand the Difference

In India alone, the cost of data breaches to businesses rose around 18% to Rs. 16.5 crore (on average) from May 2020 through March 2021. Without sufficient data backup and recovery plans, business functions get exposed to unforeseen disasters and events. The outcome of considerable downtime or data loss can be detrimental. That’s where recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) – two crucial aspects of disaster recovery (DR) – come into the picture. When organizations better understand their RPO and RTO, they get well-armed to set up a system that can adapt and rebound quicker from a disaster. Before jumping to RPO vs RTO, let’s first understand both these DR concepts in detail. What is RTO in Disaster Recovery? The recovery time objective (RTO) is the duration and service level, after a disaster, within which a business operation has to be reinstated to prevent severe impact on the business and thereon its operational continuity. It indicates the amount of time that can pass post-disaster before the interruption starts to hinder the business workflow. How does RTO Work? Calculating RTO is a multilevel process that must be considered from various standpoints, including a DR (Disaster Recovery) plan, business impact analysis (BIA), and business continuity plan. The initial step in the RTO process is to completely stockpile all business-critical applications, systems, data, and virtual ecosystems. Without an accurate repository, you can’t accurately evaluate an RTO. The next step is to quantify the value of each mission-critical application and service about how much it contributes to a company’s operation and business. That value should be measured as per the time duration and the level (as granular as possible). Also, the application value can be connected to any current service-level agreements (SLA), which determine the availability of service and might incorporate penalties if those service levels are not fulfilled. By knowing what’s running and the value of all the running applications and systems, you can calculate RTO. But, keep in mind, there can be various RTO requirements depending on the application priority as estimated by the value the application adds to the company. What is RPO in Disaster Recovery? The recovery point objective (RPO) elaborates on the age of data or files that need to be restored from the backup storage for normal processes to restart if a system, computer, or network breaks down due to a disaster. The RPO is measured backward in time from the moment at which the failure happens. It can be expressed in minutes, hours, or even days. How does RPO Work? RPOs work by determining the duration that can pass before the amount of data loss surpasses what is allowed within the business continuity plan (BCP), which is known as the enterprise loss ‘tolerance’. Based on the business and the workload, loss tolerance will differ affecting what the related RPO for that workload should be. Administrators can automatically configure an RPO as a policy setting within the storage or backup software and the cloud. RPO vs RTO in Disaster Recovery While RPO and RTO do feature numerous similarities, both also come with some distinct differences: A shorter RPO implies losing fewer data, but it requires more storage space, more backups, and more network resources and computing for backups to work. Likewise, a shorter RPO costs more money. Furthermore, the calculation variables might vary based on the data classification. For any business, an ideal way is to group data into critical and non-critical types. That’ll predefine your RPOs and RTOs in priority order.  Final Words DR plans and business continuity is things that companies need to have and hope not to utilize. And in these cases, they must strike a balance between investing the minimal resources possible and having the optimal assurance that the plans will work. To accomplish this balance, RTO and RPO are critical. Without gauging them correctly, you would just be guessing – and guessing is the best road to ensure ‘recovery disaster,’ rather than recovery from a disaster. If you want to know more about RPO and RTO or want to speak with a Disaster Recovery expert or DRaaS provider, contact Ace Data today.

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Disaster Recovery Plan

IT Disaster Recovery Plan: All You Need to Know

Disaster recovery – also referred to as IT disaster recovery plan or disaster recovery execution plan – is the formal planning process with which businesses design their blueprint in response to disruptive events, including natural calamities, cyber attacks, and power outages. 96% of businesses with a reliable backup and DR plan have been able to survive ransomware attacks. On the contrary, 93% of businesses without a DR plan who face a significant data disaster bite the dust within a year. The end goal of a DR plan is to offer a way for organizations to curtail the impacts of the disaster and get back to normal activities as soon as possible. What are the Benefits of Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan? The benefits of having disaster recovery plan software are more than just readiness. Read on to know some of the reasons why you should consider creating a DR (Disaster Recovery) plan. Cost Savings Disaster recovery plans contain several touchpoints, including prevention, detection, and correction. Having all of these settings in place will mitigate the costs of a disaster and make sure your business continues normally as soon as possible. Moreover, embracing cloud-driven data management /cloud backup solutions as a part of DR planning can further scale down the costs of maintenance and backups. Scalability DR plan lets businesses identify innovative methods to curb the costs of backups, archive maintenance, and restoration. Cloud-driven data storage and associated solutions enhance and streamline the procedure and bring in scalability. As such, cloud options offer more flexibility compared to maintaining an offsite or onsite data center. You can completely switch way before a disaster occurs (if ever) and as the technical needs of your business adapt, so will the storage solution being used. Compliance Data safety has become a key conversation today, with organizations across industries required to follow several regulations. These organizations depend on their disaster recovery plan software to remain adhered to the industry norms, including FINRA and HIPAA. What Should be Included in a Disaster Recovery Plan? Even though certain DR plan templates might differ, the framework of a DR plan should contain multiple features: Tools and Strategies for a Disaster Recovery Plan The creation of a DR plan contains numerous steps. Even though these might differ as per the business, here are the underlying disaster recovery strategy steps: Risk Analysis Do a risk evaluation and business impact analysis (BIA) that deals with several potential disasters. Analyze each operational aspect of the business to identify the possible repercussions from middle-of-the-road situations to ‘worst-case’ scenarios, such as the complete loss of the primary center. Further, consider geographical and infrastructure risk factors in your risk assessment. Assess Critical Needs Create priorities for processing and operations by analyzing the pressing requirements of each division. Devise written contracts for chosen alternatives, and add details determining all special security procedures, a guarantee of compatibility, termination conditions, and so on. Define DR Plan Objectives Create formal and tangible goals of recovery for each business operation. Furthermore, examine any service level agreements (SLA) that your business has promised to executives, users, or other shareholders. Gather Data and Create the Written Document Gather insights for your DR plan using pre-formatted forms as required. Such insights may include lists (critical contact detail list, backup employee position listing, and master vendor list), inventories (data center computer hardware, communications equipment, documentation, and microcomputer software and hardware), methods for system restoration, schedules for software and data backup, and temporary disaster recovery sites. Testing Develop criteria and procedures for examining the DR plan and test it accordingly. Perform a structured walkthrough or initial dry run and rectify any issues, preferably beyond the usual working hours. Types of DR plan tests include checklist tests, simulation tests, parallel tests, and full interruption tests. Why are Organizations Choosing DRaaS Solution Providers? Disaster recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is rapidly becoming a preferred model to enable disaster recovery and data protection in the era of the cloud. Considering the broad array of accidental risks, malicious attacks, and natural calamities that can hamper your business continuity, roping in a DRaaS solution provider will ensure your company’s capability to weather any disaster. Ace Data’s DRaaS reliably helps regain vital IT procedures and data to support business flexibility. The solution defends your business from any disturbance – planned or unplanned – to provide an always-on customer experience. What’s more, Ace Data features the lowest RPOs and RTOs in the industry.

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Ransomware in Healthcare

Ransomware in Healthcare – Impact & Threats can be Defeated

Ransomware is malware that gets installed on your files and encrypts them. You are then unable to access them, making it difficult for you to do your work. Users are required to pay a fee to get encryption keys and make the files useful for them again. If the victim doesn’t pay the ransom demand in a given target time, they will lose their data. Ransom demands are generally made in the form of cryptocurrency, making it difficult to trace the criminal who is demanding the payment. This makes it easy for the criminal to get away with it. Data is important for all industries. The criticality of data can be judged by the consumer of it. A personal photo means it’s probably the most critical digital asset for them. Financial records, customer information, and customer service consumption patterns are a few of the key things helping everyone deliver better customer service. The increase in dependency on online applications makes it more critical for specific industries, like healthcare, to have a strong cybersecurity strategy. Data is generated and stored only online, unlike industries like manufacturing, where they still keep some data in the form of delivery challans or invoices from the Exit gates. How does Ransomware impact healthcare? Ransomware can quickly move around the environment and infect medical equipment, posing a threat to patients’ health records. Healthcare professionals rely heavily on each piece of equipment while handling a patient and in normal operations, and they usually have a screen in front of them. In a critical care unit, you would see loads of equipment monitoring basic health parameters. If a piece of equipment stops functioning, it can be a serious delay for the patient. Loss of data due to cyber-threats is the last thing a patient wants to see when the Doctor is trying to save his life Why is healthcare a good ransomware customer? Lucrative: For a healthcare organization, digital data is the lifeline. Not only for the company’s own business to survive but also for his patients to survive. They cannot imagine losing data and waiting for a long to get data back to cure their patients. Attackers find this to be critical and want to threaten them more than any other industry. Huge Opportunity: The volume of data is huge in healthcare. Compliance needs them to retain data for a long. This is true for many industries, but it becomes important for healthcare professionals to study old patient records in order to be able to treat patients better next time. A patient’s history and adherence to a treatment line are important for critical patients with reduced immunity and antibiotic resistance. For example, knowing which antibiotic would help better becomes critical for acute diseases. Stakes are high : Healthcare providers can’t afford to lose or delay access to their patient data. A cancer research organization, for example, needs to have all the historic information of the patient for patient care and also for the research teams for their research work to find a better way to cure. They need to minimize any risks that hamper data security or cause delays. Not much of a choice They cannot recreate reports as these are not MS Office data reports. These are real time patient records stored in the equipment and attached storage. Human body’s organs change conditions quickly especially during illness and Doctors have to react fast. They cannot rely on their memory so facts and data is very important for them. Easy customer for healthcare data Healthcare data is very important for various allied industries, both good and bad. Criminals involved in drug trafficking and money laundering utilize these medical records to obtain prescription medications, bogus medical claims, or acquire them for informing open credit cards and fraudulent loans. What should be done to overcome the threat? Have secure logins Use safe & secure login mechanisms. Password policy should be very stringent that users cannot not rely on standard and easy to remember passwords. Use Multi-Factor authentication mechanisms for all applications including email applications. Most of them offer software based MFA so there is not too much investment to make here. Build a strong Cyber Security policy A malicious attack on your network can be devastating. To avoid this, you can deploy multiple security solutions. One thing you can do is deploy a firewall solution that blocks all traffic by default, then opens specific ports for the services that need to communicate on the outside of your network. You also have to be careful about which ports are open to outside connections, because hackers often send packets over an open port instead. Have strong emphasis on email security A lot of threads come in through email. Emails offering lucrative deals are dangerous. Enterprises should deploy email filtering solutions, ensuring such emails get blocked on the server. Businesses should protect themselves against such emails by filtering them out at the server. These solutions can analyze the content of the email and block any spam or malicious emails. Educate your staff to reduce the risk of social engineering Continuous training and learning should be planned for the entire staff. Users should be regularly updated about the latest trends and spread mechanisms. No user should be opening any unknown emails and attachments. Social media applications & all other applications not useful for official work should be blocked for access from the Enterprise network. Hospitals and Clinicians cannot recreate reports every now and then as these are not MS Office data reports. These are real-time patient records stored in the equipment and attached storage. The human body’s organs change conditions quickly, especially during illness and Doctors have to react fast. They cannot rely on their memory so facts and data is very important to them. Develop a cyber security roadmap Security is the one thing that cannot be compromised. It should be a key component of your roadmap. When it comes to security, you need to have a clear idea of what

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