[VIDEO] Staying Ahead of Storage Capacity Trends & Usage

How much time can you allocate on a regular basis to capacity usage and planning? When troubleshooting backup job failures gets priority, keeping your eye on storage capacity can often take second billing. And yet, exceeding storage capacity is often the underlying reason behind backup job failures.

This is where Bocada’s Backup Trends Report can save you time…and keep you ahead of potential storage issues. By helping you easily visualize your capacity usage trends over long periods of time, the Backup Trends Report can help signal when it’s time to invest in additional storage, or re-think your backup policies to cut back on storage usage.

Come watch how our Backup Trends Report will give you better and faster visibility into your backup capacity.

Would this type of backup capacity usage reporting save you time? Contact us at sales@bocada.com to learn more.

Backup Data Audit Preparation

Backup data auditAre you prepared for a data audit? How strong is your backup and recovery plan? Is your backup environment ready to withstand threats from cyber attacks or natural disasters. Even if you could answer these questions properly one year ago, can you answer them with certainty today?

Enterprise IT environments are undergoing rapid change, and with that change comes a need to evolve data protection protocols and adjust oversight measures to ensure data security. Yet according to a Ponemon survey, over half of all organizations admit to never reviewing or updating their incident response plan. This means countless organizations undergoing these IT evolutions are ill-prepared to address disruptions to data integrity.

To determine how prepared your organization is to address data breaches or other issues affecting data quality you will likely be subjected to an annual data protection audit. A high-level assessment will quickly offer visibility into your backup environment’s health, and pinpoint where you’ll need to focus your attention to best safeguard your data.

10 Questions to Prepare for Your Backup Data Audit

While each enterprise data environment is unique, there are fundamental approaches to addressing data protection and security. By answering the following ten questions, you’ll be able to see how protected your backup environment is from external threats.

1. Are you backing up all your targets, clients and servers?

You’ll need oversight over your entire backup environment, which covers every single client and server across your organization’s departments, business units, or geographies. After all, should a natural disaster hit in one location, you’ll need to know that any data stored on affected systems can be readily recalled. Without that holistic oversight, you’ll never know how prepared you are to respond to data corruption or deletion.

2. Do all of your backup products define successful backups the same way?

Organizations that have undergone mergers and acquisitions, or even technology evolutions, are likely using multiple backup software products. Considering that each backup software has a unique GUI and scripting protocol, with different features, functionality and definitions, comparing performance across the backup products can be challenging. Standardizing backup performance metrics is very difficult…but necessary to ensure you have comparable data across your backup environment.

3. Can you easily review backup success or failure rates?

Easy access to backup success or failure rates is crucial as it paves the path for troubleshooting those backups that continue to fail. Unless you have a way to easily view which backups failed, and especially which backups consecutively failed, you won’t have a way to efficiently hone in on problem areas that could result in long-term data loss.

4. Do you know the backup frequency and backup type of critical data?

When you’re dealing with vast amounts of data, and trying to minimize data storage utilization, it can appear favorable to opt for partial backups to reduce the shear amount of data being backed up. However, for critical data that needs to backed up daily, if not more frequently, that may not be sufficient. Visibility into backup frequency (e.g. daily, weekly) and type (e.g. partial, full) is crucial for ensuring that vital data is never lost.

5. Are you alerted when a critical backup fails?

Even if you do have a way to easily see which backups failed, what happens if it’s a mission-critical backup? Days could go by while you fix other failures, and never know this critical data sits unprotected. Do you have a way to be notified right away when must-save data isn’t getting backed up?

6. Do you have a way to efficiently enter failures into a ticketing system?

As you tackle backup failures, what does your process look like for fixing them? Consider if you have a process that lets you efficiently collect the time, location, and reason behind a backup failure and share it with the backup team. Without an efficient way to get failures into your service or ticketing system, you’re slowing down how quickly they can be addressed.

7. Can you map your backed up data by media type & location?

In long-standing enterprise environments, data is likely stored on tapes and disks in both on-premises locations and 3rd party storage site. Data is likely also stored in the cloud through AWS or Azure and on storage devices like DataDomain or StoreOnce. Do you know where all your data is stored, and on what media types? Being able to map all of your backup data by media type and location ensures that if you ever need to access it, you’ll know exactly where to look.

8. Are your backups meeting the correct policy criteria?

If your organization is accountable to government regulations like HIPAA or GDPR that stipulate data retention periods, or if you have internal requirements around backup types, you’ll need some level of oversight that those policies are being met. Without clear visibility into your policy set up, backups may not be meeting regulation criteria, leaving your organization at risk for serious fines and penalties.

9. Can you quickly show you’re meeting compliance or SLA requirements?

Consider the different types of service agreements you might have in place such as completing full backups every day, or hitting a certain backup success rate. Reporting on SLA compliance is often mandatory, but takes time away from operational tasks. With a quick way to report on these metrics, you’ll be assured that time is being better spent on managing the day-to-day health of your backup environment.

10. Can you quickly check on your backup servers’ storage capacity?

One of the common reasons backups fail is because there is insufficient server storage capacity. Yet checking on capacity cuts into valuable time spent maintaining and fixing backup failures. By ensuring you have a way to quickly check on storage capacity, you’ll know if you can turn your attention back to managing your backups, or need to focus it on building storage capacity.

The Right Tools For Your Backup Data Audit

While the questions in the backup data audit may appear simple, they are extraordinarily time consuming and often difficult to answer when faced with complex, enterprise backup environments. Organizations managing servers across geographies, and using different backup software to protect their data, often leverage automation solutions to tackle these very questions. When assessing which automation solutions to use, consider ones that:

  • Function effectively across your suite of backup software
  • Reduce or remove manual reporting and script writing
  • Offer visibility into backups across targets, clients, and servers
  • Provide details on server capacity and utilization
  • Ease backup failure pinpointing and troubleshooting
  • Track backup policies across your entire environment
  • Function across a wide range of backup destinations

If you are preparing for a backup data audit, we encourage you to schedule time for a personal demo of the Bocada system. When tested in your native backup environment, you’ll see right away just how quickly and easily you can answer all ten questions in your backup audit.

[Video] How To Quickly Review Overnight Backup Success

The standard question any backup admin asks when coming into work each morning is, “How did my backups do last night?” Yet answering this question can often take several hours a day. Zeroing in on the servers and clients of interest is just the first step. Admins then need to write scripts for different backup products, and often merge reports for a single view of critical data. Something so integral to data protection management should be much faster to answer.

This is why Bocada created the Job Trends Report. By pulling data together from different backup servers, the Job Trends Report offers an automated, summarized view of your backup environment…without any need to log into your backup servers. This report can be delivered to your inbox each day before you even arrive for work so you can quickly isolate failures and zero-in on fixing them.

Further, by looking at results across a longer time frame, you can begin seeing backup success and failure trends. While a single backup failure may not be cause for concern, seeing it fail time and time again can be the motivation you need to prioritize fixing deeper problems.

Come watch how our Job Trends Report will give you a faster way to triage your backup work.

Would this type of recurring backup environment reporting save you time? Contact us at sales@bocada.com to learn more.

Making Ransomware Protection Second Nature

Ransomware Protection & Response PlanA recent radio segment on our local public radio station had me thinking about ransomware attacks. In light of October’s Bad Rabbit attack that impacted Kiev’s metro system, the Odessa airport and the Russian media organization Interfax, our radio station shared their own experience with a ransomware attack this past summer.

As you can imagine, the attack wreaked havoc on every department and every system at the radio station. Perhaps the most remarkable piece of the radio segment was their director admitting to something we are all guilty of: choosing convenience over security. Allowing themselves to be lax on data security led to the most inconvenient situation possible – operational chaos.

Cybersecurity planning and ransomware protocols don’t have to be inconvenient. Consistent, logical incident response plans can make this entire process second nature.

The Full Impact of Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of cyberattack where hackers breach corporate networks and systems to lock organizations out of their own data with encryption. Cybercriminals demand money to unfreeze the lockout, devastating business operations in the process.

Though early ransomware attacks focused on healthcare and financial services targets, 39% of global organizations experienced ransomware in recent months. This summer, NotPetya and WannaCry ransomware attacks – which crippled major shipping, pharmaceutical and advertising enterprises’ operations and cost hundreds of millions of dollars — jolted CIOs, CISOs and their boards to start taking ransomware threats seriously. Just ask FedEx and Merck.

When medical systems are held hostage, doctors can’t access patient electronic health records. Pharmacists resort to manual paper scripts to dispense urgently needed medications. Bank and trading operations break down. Yet, a recent Ponemon survey shows 68% of respondents believe their organizations will not be resilient in the wake of a cyberattack.

Then there are the crisis management costs, reputational harm, system remediation, consumer identity fraud for leaked data and cyber insurance costs. The FBI estimates that in 2016 US businesses paid as much as $1 billion in ransom to attackers. Cybersecurity planning that includes data protection protocols to minimize looming ransomware attacks are no longer an inconvenient task to kick down the road.

Protect Your Organization from Ransomware Attacks

If ransomware has not affected your organization yet, it’s likely a matter of when, not if. Mostly likely, your organization is not ready. A full two-thirds of respondents in the Ponemon survey said their organization is not prepared to recover from a cyberattack. Additionally, 75% admit they don’t have a consistently-applied cybersecurity incident response (IR) plan and just over half admit they have never reviewed or updated their IR plan.

While new cyberattacks make it necessary to continually review and revise IR plans, one component has remained consistent: incorporating data protection through backup and recovery in the plan. After all, when ransomware locks you out of network data, backups get your operations back online. Incorporating backup processes as part of your IR protocols must become second nature.

Here are a few things to keep think about as you update cyberplans with data backup and recovery in mind.

Backup frequency. Consider full backups on mission critical clients or servers, with partial or differential backup at slower rates for less mission critical data. That way you know you can always access the most current version of key data while not unnecessarily overloading your system.

Oversight of backup successes and failures. Require regular backup audit reports on backup successes and failures across all backup systems. Preferably consolidated, executive level reporting that integrates this data from backup systems in all corners and regions of your enterprise. This will allow your team to isolate partial or failed backup targets that need attention.

Isolate Backup from the operational environment. Store backup data in an environment that will not be impacted by a ransomware attack. For instance, experts now recommend “…streaming the data over the network to another storage device using a backup application.” For companies who have migrated data to the cloud, recommendations include  setting up separate cloud storage that can only be accessed from backup systems, and is never, ever connected to the main network.

Constantly Monitor Data Backup Server Performance. Your CISO will want reassurance that servers can handle the massive data your organization generates every day for backups. By generating data capacity and occupancy reports, you’ll receive visibility into storage usage, and see trends over time to inform future storage spending. The last thing you want is a ransomware attack the day after you ran out of storage capacity.

Test your data recovery plan. Plans are only as good as their implementation. It is important to periodically recover operations from backup data to test your data recovery plan. You don’t want something going awry the day that dreaded ransomware lockdown takes your data hostage.

Keep Calm And Report On

As IT leaders, you will feel the pressure to constantly demonstrate that your data backup and recovery processes comply with ransomware and cybersecurity mandates. You will be audited on your everyday protocols, and regularly asked for assurances that you can efficiently restore operations with backup data during an attack.

Providing professional, timely backup operations reporting can offer the peace of mind of knowing you will pass these measures. When evaluating what type of reporting you’ll need, consider reports that give you:

• Visibility into backups across targets, clients, and servers;
• Transparency across business units and geographies;
• Insight into backup successes and failures; and
• An understanding of available storage and backup performance trends, and if they’re evolving.

Performing this manually is painstaking and time-intensive. If you’re ready to have this type of security in your IT environment and need a more efficient solution, we encourage you to schedule a demo with Bocada’s backup reporting software. When installed in your native environment, you’ll be able to quickly isolate problem areas that stand in the way of your cyberattack preparedness.

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Accelerating Backup Job Failure Diagnosis

A backup job failure can mean losing valuable company or account information, or even customer or patient data in the case of malware attacks. But finding failed backup jobs can take a lot of time. Having all failed jobs highlighted provides a “worst case” view of backup performance and offers backup admins a way to quickly identify and solve failure issues.

Traditional backup activity reports can have thousands of jobs and multiple layers of information which may mask specific job failures. Backup failures at the client or target level may be obscured by subsequent successes or partial successes when rolled up to the server level. However, with Bocada’s Failure Emphasis feature, backup administrators can zero in on failed jobs more quickly. With quick access to the failed job information the admin can determine root causes and the need for re-running a specific job.

Come watch how our Failure Emphasis function gives backup admins a faster, more targeted look at servers that need greater attention.

Would this type of targeted view of your backup environment save you time? Contact us at sales@bocada.com to learn more.