Part 2 of 3: Data Backup
Data loss can wreak havoc on business continuity.
Imagine how difficult it would be to provide your usual prompt service if a flood or fire destroys your client and sales data. What would you do (or not be able to do) if other data were lost – accounting databases, human resources information, business and client documents – and you had no way to restore it?
Threats to your data
Some of the data threats that cannot be predicted are on-site, some are regional, and others are global. For example:
- Mother Nature – tornadoes, earthquakes, floods
- Premises problems – burst water pipes, fires
- Human error – unintentional deletions
- Hardware failure – server, specific computers
- Cyber threats – malware, hacking
A comprehensive data backup and recovery plan will cover all these threats and more.
Every business needs a backup and recovery plan to secure its data
and minimize business disruptions when the unexpected occurs.
The good news is there are different data backup options from which to choose. You can build your strategy based on the specifics of your business.
Data can be backed up to an in-house storage device such as an external hard drive or a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) system. NAS is a centralized file server that allows multiple users to store and share files across the company’s internal network. Data can be backed up automatically with NAS. Independent external hard drives are easy to use and adaptable to growing data volume storage needs. Both of these options are generally affordable.
An on-site data backup and recovery system provide some key benefits, such as:
- Your data is stored on-site and is not connected to the internet. Sorry cyber criminals – NOT !
- You have quick, direct access to your data should you need to recover any or all of it, even if your internet service is down.
- You have complete control of your data storage hardware and software.
Keep in mind that having complete control of your backup system also means you are responsible for maintaining it yourself. Depending on the method you choose, you may also have to manually back up your data.
Cloud-based backup is an off-site method in which you subscribe to a cloud backup provider that automatically backs up your data over the internet. They encrypt the data prior to storage to thwart cyberattacks and store it on multiple servers in different locales to avoid data loss due to regional threats to any one of their data centers.
Some of the key benefits of using a cloud-based data backup and recovery system include:
- You don’t need to maintain on-site backup hardware or software.
- You can quickly increase your backup storage capacity with the cloud provider.
- You can access your backed-up data from any location via the internet.
- You enjoy state-of-the-art security for your backed-up data.
Cloud-based data backup is affordable, flexible, and requires minimal effort from the business.
Hybrid Backup Plan
A combination of on-site and off-site backup is the best strategy for providing robust security for business data. If one fails, you have the other as a “backup.” Hybrid plans usually consist of on-site backup plus a cloud-based service. This provides you with two full backups in different locations and different formats.
Best Practices for Data Backup
Keep these best practices in mind when planning your data backup strategy.
Establish a Backup Schedule
The most important consideration for data backup is timing. Data should be backed up at least once per week. This means, however, that if you suffer a data loss six days after your last backup, you lose six days of new data that cannot be retrieved. The best practice is to back up every day.
An automated on-site backup system can be scheduled to your preference. If you are doing manual backups, then you need to diligently adhere to your selected schedule. Cloud-based backups offer different schedules depending on the provider and, sometimes, customer preference.
Test Backup Systems
Set a schedule to test each backup system. Check that it is backing up as scheduled and that you are able to recover data. This applies to on-site backups and cloud backups.
Set Backup Retention Parameters
Not every backup must be retained indefinitely. Establish a schedule for when to permanently discard backups. Take into consideration each category of data as well as any regulatory requirements for your industry.
Identify Devices to Backup
In addition to desktop computers, consider other business devices that need to be backed up. Devices such as laptops, cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices store business data that can be lost if it malfunctions or is lost or stolen. They can also be targeted for cyberattacks. Make sure they are included in your backup plan.
Document Your Backup Plan
Document all points of your data backup plan. Include procedures for recovering data should a loss occur. This will help you maintain your data backup efficiently and enable you to quickly restore data should a loss occur.
Coming up next…
Our third article in this series will discuss internet disruptions and power outages.
We want to hear from you!
Do you have any burning questions or challenges that you’d like to hear about?