As hurricane season comes to a close and we enter winter storm season, it’s no secret that natural disasters - from hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and blizzards - are becoming more frequent, destructive, and damaging to communities and businesses around the world. As a result, preventing catastrophic data loss from these events is becoming increasingly challenging and costly for organizations. Rain, wind, flooding and more can cause severe damage to, or even flatten, critical on-premise data storage facilities, such as in-house data centers. It has been estimated that 94 percent of companies that suffer from catastrophic data loss do not survive, 43 percent never reopen and 51 percent close within two years.

This highlights the critical need for businesses to take additional measures to backup and secure their data in order to avoid time-consuming outages and costly data loss resulting in serious financial damage, business disruption and closures.

As more organizations are realizing that data is their most critical asset and the driving force behind improving performance and growth, natural disasters pose an existential threat that must be prepared against. With this in mind, the cloud has become a lifeline for many organizations as it promises the scale and capacity needed to protect their data.

A more accessible cloud

This mass move to the cloud has been made possible only recently by more flexible and accessible storage solutions entering the market. Many organizations have historically been shackled by vendor lock-in and rigid storage capacity offered by traditional cloud providers. Their hidden egress and micro fees quickly deplete IT budgets, and deter organizations from being able to secure their data across a more accessible cloud environment.

This has left room for more niche cloud vendors offering specialized services, enabling more flexible, personalized and cost-effective cloud storage solutions to come to the fore. This gives organizations the ability to take their pick of “best-of-breed” hybrid and multi-cloud solutions to better fit their unique needs without breaking the bank. As a result, the cloud has become a more viable backup option for many organizations to help address increasing threats such as natural disasters and ultimately keep their data safe.

It’s all in the preparation

Having access to flexible cloud backup options enables organizations to take advantage of certain storage strategies that ultimately mitigate data damage and downtime when disasters hit. Here are some steps organizations can take to help prepare:

  • Recovery testing
    When a natural disaster occurs, data that is backed up to the cloud can be restored and recovered with little downtime. This recovery process is extremely critical, and must be tested in advance of any threat to determine and eliminate any errors in the process. This testing can be time-consuming and technical, but a flexible cloud ecosystem enables IT teams to easily access their data and painlessly test their recovery process in advance.
  • Diversify
    Diversifying where and how data is stored and backed up is critical when it comes to protecting against damage from natural disasters. Overall, organizations must avoid having all of their data backed up in one place by having multiple backups of data in the cloud. Keeping three copies of data, with two on different media formats, and one of those being off-site - also known as the "3-2-1” backup approach - is an effective model to follow and enables organizations to continue functioning and accessing their data during or after a natural disaster event, reducing costly downtime and data loss.
  • Object-level immutability
    Object-level immutability - the ability to prevent data from being tampered with or deleted - is another cloud feature organizations should consider leveraging as an added layer of protection. This feature is nothing new to the cloud world, but is emerging as an important security measure that organizations would be remiss to ignore in the face of growing threats. Hybrid and multi-cloud storage providers also offer more flexibility with their immutable backup options, enabling organizations to store one immutable set of backups while also having other sets that can still be accessed in an emergency.

At the end of the day disasters come in many forms, whether it’s ransomware, human error or natural events. Now more than ever, organizations must be digitally resilient when it comes to their data, and this begins and ends with storing and backing up data in the cloud. There is no end in sight to these threats, but the next-generation of cloud services promises to revolutionize the backup scene and empower organizations with more flexible, predictable and less expensive cloud solutions to help protect their data when it’s needed most.

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