Cohesity – Adopting a data-centric focus on cyber resilience

Written by Manlio De Benedetto, Director Systems Engineering at Cohesity

The importance of data backup was highlighted recently by the news that Toyota had to shut down 14 factories due to IT maintenance triggering a number of errors around disk space, backup and failover.

It looks like Toyota didn’t see this coming, and if they were monitoring it, then their team has not reacted to the critical issues in the right way. In simple terms, the best practices are to know what you’re backing up, where from and where to. And there should be monitoring and countermeasures in place to ensure that’s going to be achievable.

Companies need to understand exactly which IT processes are the most important in the company and how they are related. We advise our customers to prioritise the systems in resilience categories. The highest category reflects the most important data, systems and processes, the loss or failure of which would cause the greatest economic damage. The servers at Toyota would ideally be classified in the highest resilience category, since their failure, as unfortunately happened, brings the entire production to a standstill and causes high costs. IT managers can then argue very well from an economic point of view why these systems are monitored particularly closely and structured to be highly fail-safe.

Modern solutions for data management and security monitor these systems and their current status with the help of AI. Trend analyses show how the amount of data behaves on these machines and how much the memory is already being used.

Since human error can occur, it is important to set limit values for important key data such as disk utilisation. IT teams are then automatically notified that storage is low. Ideally, the AI-supported tools immediately suggest appropriate countermeasures that a member of the IT team can check and then trigger. In this way, critical situations can be identified in advance and countermeasures can be initiated before failures occur.

Further important steps can be defined via the high resilience categories, for example shorter intervals between the backups. If an emergency occurs and systems fail or are corrupted by cyber attacks such as ransomware, the possible loss of data can be reduced to a minimum thanks to the close-knit copies.

When organisations adopt a data-centric focus on cyber resilience, they also will ensure that data from an organisation’s diverse compute and storage environments is brought together providing the governance, detective, response and recovery capabilities needed to achieve a high level of resiliency.

Whatever else a business might do with its data, it certainly won’t stop generating more. Implementing measures to manage data better can inevitably improve efficiency and reduce costs. At a time when the economic situation is challenging, this could prove a blessing. Maybe it is time for data management strategies to bubble to the top of the to-do list, because getting best practice in place today will streamline how data is collected, stored and used tomorrow.

Finally, modern data management platforms also provide more insights from data analysis thanks to integrated classification. Organisations can better understand their compliance risks by getting visibility into their dark data, which according to Gartner affects between 55% and 80% of the data a company stores. They can decide with confidence whether to keep certain records or delete them with no risk.

All of these synergy effects found in a modern data platform enhance cyber resilience, reduce the operating and storage costs and help organisations to manage the growing volumes of their data in the long term.

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