Getting Your Data House in Order
- White Paper: The Three Cs of Data Protection
One of the first things you can do to help manage your data is to classify it and determine which information is critical to the survival of your business and which information is not. Classifying your data is easy if you refer to these basic categories: mission critical, business critical, sensitive, archival, and non-critical.
Main Data Classification Types:
- Mission Critical Data: Without this data, your business cannot survive. Maybe it is financial data, patient records, customer information, product IP, or other data that is essential to your operations and your revenue. Any data in this classification needs to be restored immediately if disaster strikes, and should be backed up first using mirror imaging software with a local (onsite) solution or appliance. In addition, make sure you have a secondary backup of this data in case anything happens to your primary backup. Your secondary backup should be offsite at a remote location or in the cloud.
- Business Critical Data: This data should be restored quickly in the event of a disaster, but a slight delay will not have a direct impact on revenue or operations. Data that is business critical could include business presentations, proposals, engineering schematics, etc. You still need to be able to restore this data quickly, so protect it with two tiers of data backup: a local, inexpensive external disk drive or NAS device, combined with an offsite or cloud backup solution.
- Sensitive Data: Though you may not need to restore this data immediately, you can’t risk it being breached. Security is your number one priority with this type of data. If you are storing sensitive data locally, make sure you have strong encryption and access control rules in place around it. In addition, look for data backup solutions that go beyond encryption to incorporate data shredding or a distributed storage model (RAID technology) to ensure optimal protection.
- Archival Data: You have to maintain this data for regulatory purposes, and you may be asked to restore it at some point, but you do not want it clogging up your network or taking up valuable server space in your on-premise infrastructure. Make sure you have two copies of this data, but definitely leverage online storage for archiving.
- Non-Critical Data: You may need this data eventually, but you could wait days to restore it and still be fine. Non-critical data might include emails or IMs, earlier versions of documents, or images. You may leverage the offsite storage option entirely for this type of data to keep cost low and infrastructure simple. Make sure you test your offsite option’s restore capability before moving your data completely off premise.