It pays for companies to back up data

It pays for companies to back up data

SINGAPORE - If the phrase "it won't happen to me" is your company's attitude towards data back-up, it's time for a rethink.

During a survey of Singapore companies, more than seven in 10 said they had experienced some form of data loss or downtime over a one-year period.

The main reason cited was hardware failure, and nearly half of the 250 companies surveyed said such issues had led to a drop in employee productivity.

Even more worrying is that around eight in 10 of the companies surveyed said they were not confident they could fully recover their systems or data.

Sharing these figures from a study conducted in 2012, Mr Pushpendra Kumar Gupta, a senior director and chief architect for the Asia Pacific and Japan at EMC, stressed that when companies lose data, it goes beyond just dollars and cents.

"There's also a loss of customer confidence and loyalty. For example, if you are a bank and your customers are not able to use the ATM to withdraw money, there's a loss of trust," said Mr Gupta, who is from the data storage company's data protection and availability division.

He was speaking ahead of World Backup Day, which is being observed today as part of an online campaign to raise awareness of the importance of data backup and preservation.

While losses are difficult to quantify, Mr Gupta estimates they could range from US$700,000 (S$881,000) to US$1 million a day globally. Backing up one's data is becoming increasingly important, it seems.

Data, whether it is generated from people or enterprises, will grow exponentially, and businesses must keep up by having a proper backup and restoration system in place, said Mr Gupta.

"Everything is coming in digital form, and paper is going away. For example, chest X-rays are digitised now, and one X-ray takes up 40GB. A 30-minute magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure will generate 700GB of data," he said.

Backup and recovery technology is also critical when a company's IT system comes under attack from hackers.

"Even if your website has been defaced, for example, it boils down to how quickly you can restore your applications and have the business up and running again," Mr Gupta noted.

When asked why some companies take a casual approach to backup, he said investing in a backup system is like "insurance" and firms are reluctant to find the budget for it - until the day disaster strikes.

Still, it looks like even smaller businesses are cottoning on now.

Mr Tan Fang Wai, 27, technical director of SecureAX, which manages the e-commerce and security system for Tracyeinny, said it started doing this for the Singapore-based online fashion retailer in 2012.

The system helped when hackers defaced the retailer's website six months ago: The firm was able to restore the site in just 15 minutes.

Mr Tan said: "With a real-time backup system, we were able to restore the website back to the time-stamp when it was okay. Later, we zeroed in on the source of the attack."

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