Going the Distance for Data Protection

Today marks an important day in Boston, MA; the 120th anniversary of the historic Boston Marathon. 20 EMCers from across the globe, including myself, represent Team EMC and will be taking our place among over 30,000 runners covering the 26.2 miles between Hopkinton and the final stretch down iconic Boylston Street.

Photo Credit: http://www.wbur.org/2011/04/18/and-theyre-off
Photo Credit: http://www.wbur.org/2011/04/18/and-theyre-off

If you’re like me, I used to believe that running long distances should be reserved for escaping danger (like bears) and gaining access to delicious treats (like brownies). However, over the past few months of training for this prestigious marathon, I’ve come to find that running can be quite parallel to this data security universe that we live in. Allow me to explain.

Like long distance running, you may see others practicing data security in their organizations, such as backup and recovery or end-to-end data protection, and think “well, that’s nice, but I don’t really need that in my day-to-day routine.”. But then there may be benefits that you see from afar that make you start second guessing yourself. Perhaps you’ve had an admin accidentally delete thousands of Salesforce records that contained critical customer information. Do you have a backup and recovery system to help get your organization running as usual as quickly as possible? If you can’t answer yes, or the question has you wondering what your strategy would be, then you might be ready to do some technical fitness training in your IT organization. Let’s get you started training on your IT organization to get its data security fitness in marathon shape.

Training is the most important work your team can do to be prepared for the “big day.”. For runners, it’s the race day. For IT pros like yourself, it’s the dreaded day when data is hacked, corrupted or deleted in error and goes missing. You must take on the role of hero and recover it confidently. But, putting in the work beforehand and making sure that you’ve followed through on your training plan is critical.

Do you have the proper third-party tools in place to secure your data? Is your staff trained on the infrastructure and products you have deployed in your organization to spring into action to enable your employees should a data disaster strike? If the answer is no, then your training must continue until you can positively answer yes. When you can answer yes, you know you are ready for the “big day.”.

Let’s fast forward and say that your training has completed. The “big day” is now upon you. You’ve trained with your team and are ready for any data security curve balls that your employees might throw your way. As you’re in the middle of the data debacle working to get your organization back on the right track, you use your vendor partners or other internal organization departments that you’ve aligned with during your training to help you achieve your goal of recovering your data to perfection even faster. If you find that things don’t go as you have planned don’t get disappointed. Review what didn’t work, go as planned after you complete your data recovery exercise, and document how you can improve it for the next “big day”.

At the end of it all, sweet victory is yours. When I look at the Boston Marathon, my goal is to finish the race as a whole and feel good about my accomplishment. The same could be said about restoring perfection to your IT ecosystem after it has been turned upside down. Your goal is not to be the fastest, but to do the best and most complete job that you can while utilizing all of the skills learned during your training and cross that finish line. If you get a medal at the end too, that’s not bad either.

About the Author: Leslie Chunta