Q & A: What is meant by the terms Data at Rest and Data in Motion?

Based on questions we are often asked on the subject, here is a Q & A on Data at Rest and Data in Motion.

What is meant by the terms Data at Rest and Data in Motion?

Data at Rest is the term used for data in computer storage. Data that falls under this category could include files stored on a company's local hard drive, copies of the file stored on onsite and offsite backup tapes and files on the servers of the storage area network (SAN). It is imperative for businesses to secure this data, since it is often required by law to secure sensitive customer information.

Data in Motion is the term used for data as it is in transit. It is the process of the transfer of the data between all of the versions of the original file, especially when data may be in transit on the Internet. It is data that is exiting the network via email, web, or other Internet protocols.

What is used to secure Data at Rest?

The best means to securing Data at Rest is to use a Backup and Disaster Recovery System. A Backup and Disaster Recovery System, commonly referred to as BDR, is an automated onsite and offsite backup of your data. A BDR is a disk-based solution that replaces traditional tape backup and is ideal for the SMB's approach to business continuity. The BDR device takes fast point-in-time snapshots of your server at frequent intervals. Only changes to the data are captured. With a BDR, restoration is relatively simple when you mount your backup file as a drive and copy what you need locally or to the network. A BDR has the ability to function as a standby server in minutes. There is no costly downtime. Downed servers are restored in less than thirty minutes.

What is a critical feature of BDR?

An essential element to the success of a BDR is the Bare Metal Restore. A Bare Metal Restore is part of a BDR Platform and gives the ability to restore to a virtual server or dissimilar hardware configuration in the event of a disaster. After a disaster, a boot CD is inserted into the new hardware. The new server maps to the BDR device and pulls the latest backup image. When the image is copied to the server, the BDR installs the necessary drivers for the new hardware, and scheduled backups continue to take place after the server is restored.

What constitutes a Data at Rest disaster?

A technology disaster for a business is one that initiates a major loss of data. A disaster is an unplanned event that causes companies to lose the ability to operate critical business functions for an undetermined period of time. Many businesses never recover from a disaster or suffer significant losses. Natural disasters are one form of disaster; Hurricane Katrina being a prime example. Other forms of disaster can be the result of human error, such as an inadvertent mistake by an employee operating a computer. Small and medium sized businesses are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of a disaster, which makes planning for a disaster crucial.

What is used to secure Data in Motion?

Electronic commerce has spurred on the need for securing Data in Motion. SSH Client/Server, SSL, VPN and SSL/VPN are effective in securing Data in Motion. Multiple groups are able to share the same network without fear of anyone accessing their data. A good software program that secures Data in Motion will secure real-time information and have it managed and shared with minimal modification to the infrastructure and will do so without business disruption.