Staying ahead of the curve is critical for every business when it comes to cybersecurity. New threats develop and evolve daily and failing to keep up substantially increases the risk of data breaches and other issues. Continuous data protection (CDP) is one tactic that can help modernize your business’s cybersecurity efforts while allowing an organization to limit downtime in the face of an incident. This is quickly becoming a standard practice, and CDP strategies are worth exploring in-depth to understand how they can help businesses adapt to the current security climate.
What is CDP?
Continuous data protection is a method of data backup that is proving to effectively combat modern cybersecurity risks facing businesses of all sizes. In short, CDP is a practice that stores a backup of all data on a system each time a change occurs. This method stores an ongoing number of backups with each change, so that systems can be restored to any previous point in time.
CDP effectively eliminates a major issue stemming from previous backup methods – a window between backups where data could be lost in a cybersecurity incident. Traditional backup methods that have been in use for years do not offer an entirely reliable solution for saving data consistently. Infrequent backups are better than nothing, but CDP strategies increase efficacy to another level. It’s a form of real-time backup that reduces issues surrounding ransomware and malware incidents and can also help deal with internal problems such as accidental data loss.
CDP in Action
Putting a CDP strategy in place is worth exploring for nearly every business. Having reliable data backups is a key strategy when dealing with a cybersecurity incident, and CDP is proving to be one of the most effective methods to restoring operations when a threat actor brings regular operations to a halt. Implementing continuous data protection is essential to modernizing your business and moving away from outdated backup solutions and their inherent problems. Data loss can be significantly reduced and sometimes nearly eliminated by backing up every single change to a system.
Once in place, CDP will keep track of every data change in a system and make a backup version each time a data change happens. The data can be stored in a local network, in the cloud, or offsite location, with each new version saved as a journal file. During a cybersecurity incident or any other situation that requires data recovery, having a nearly real-time backup file available allows data restoration to occur relatively seamlessly with little to no loss or downtime. A recovery point can be pinpointed because of these continuously saved backups – providing peace of mind and a very effective recovery solution. CDP operates automatically, so once in place, businesses benefit from a streamlined system set up to facilitate quick data recovery when needed.
CDP systems can also be customized to distinguish between long-term retention data and files that are more important to day-to-day operations. Long-term data such as tax or regulatory files can be stored in a different manner than is data that is needed to keep a business running. This can help reduce data storage costs because the long-term files do not necessarily need to be stored for quick recovery. Every business should develop its own CDP strategy but keeping factors like these in mind is a solid starting point to build from.
Advantages of CDP
CDP has plenty of benefits for businesses to take advantage of. If your organization is not already utilizing continuous data prevention strategies, consider the following ways in which this can improve cybersecurity and assist operations.
- During a ransomware or malware incident, CDP is the best backup solution because it offers a recovery point objective (RPO) that is near zero. An RPO is a time measurement starting from a security breach or other event to the most recent backup that can be used for backup. By achieving a close to zero RPO, CDP effectively eliminates any significant amount of data loss.
- CDP offers real-time data backup that records every data change and saves it to a target location. This information is kept as a log that can be accessed for very fast recoveries that significantly reduce or altogether eliminate downtime. This also eradicates backup window issues that occur with more traditional backup systems. Even a window of a few hours can result in significant data loss and CDP offers a much better solution.
- CDP also serves as a way to save a detailed record of every data transaction a business makes. These records can ensure greater transparency when dealing with regulatory issues or an audit. They can also be utilized to aid investigations when dealing with a cybersecurity event.
Disadvantages of CDP
While CDP is a very effective and practical backup solution, it still comes with a few issues and concerns of which you should be aware. These downsides aren’t meant to keep you from adopting CDP strategies but rather to help you understand the reality of modernizing your cybersecurity efforts.
- CDP solutions often come with an increased cost compared to traditional backup systems. To implement a CDP strategy, a business will need a significant amount of physical storage and fast network speeds. Establishing this infrastructure can increase expenses and take time to set up.
- Performance issues caused by increased data resources are possible. With constant saves of every data change comes a significant demand on resources. This can result in some stability issues within a network or system, especially in the early stages of initiating CDP strategies.
- If fast network speeds and plenty of data availability are not in place, data stored on a single server can represent a vulnerable single point of failure. So, having high data availability is paramount to reducing this risk and limiting a potentially catastrophic situation for an organization.
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