Data is the lifeblood of businesses. From sensitive financial information to customer data, you must protect valuable data from data loss, corruption, theft, disasters, crashes, cyber attacks, hardware failures and deletion. Losing data can result in business disruptions, reputational damage, unhappy customers and productivity loss.
That’s why implementing a robust data backup solution can offer peace of mind and keep your data safe from those unforeseen events and threats.
Why Are Data Backups Important?
Being able to restore your business – and its data – after a disaster could be the difference between your company surviving or collapsing. Installing data backups is cheaper than recreating lost files from scratch, which can be expensive, time-consuming and sometimes downright impossible.
Data backups are when you make a copy of your existing data and store it somewhere safe in case the original data becomes inaccessible, lost, deleted, corrupted or stolen. You can then easily access and restore the backed-up version.
A comprehensive data backup solution can help reduce recovery times and ensure your company can resume operations. Data backup solutions often go hand-in-hand with disaster recovery plans and meeting cybersecurity compliance since they involve having safe, restorable copies of your data available at a moment’s notice. They’re so crucial that there’s even a day dedicated to backups: World Backup Day.
Types of Data Backups and Solutions
There are three types of data backups:
- Full data backups: This is when you back up every single file.
- Differential data backups: This involves only copying the changed or new files that have occurred since the last full backup.
- Incremental data backups: This is a lot like differential data backups, except the changed or new files are copied since the last backup, no matter if it was full or differential.
You should typically complete a full data backup once a week with differential and incremental data backups in between to ensure all data can be restored if needed.
When it comes to data backup solutions, you have a variety to choose from.
- External and removable storage devices like hard disk drives (HDD), solid-state drives (SSD), USBs, tapes, CDs
- Cloud storage (Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, iDrive, OneDrive)
- Physical off-site storage at least 100 miles from your main workplace
- Network attached storage (NAS) devices
A hybrid combination of these backup solutions is the best option for most businesses. If your internet goes down, a cloud backup won’t help, or a storage device could be damaged if the building it’s housed in is damaged. However, if you combine the two, you always have a second – or third – option.
Data Backup Best Practices
- Determine which data is important: First, gather all your data and group it based on criticality. Prioritize which data should be backed up for immediate restoration to restore business operations, like customer and employee data, financial data, intellectual property and operational data. Back up anything that can’t be replaced if gone.
- Undergo regular and frequent backups: Regularly maintaining quality copies of your data is critical. Rapid, frequent backups allow your data to be available without any missing gaps. You can schedule backups or use automation, so you don’t have to do it manually.
- Follow the 3-2-1 rule: The 3-2-1 rule states that you should make three copies of your data and store them on two different devices and one off-site storage area. This diverse rule ensures multiple copies of data are backed up to recover from any data loss situation and avoid a single point of failure.
- Protect endpoints: Endpoints are weak links in backup strategies, including desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. Individual device backups help protect these devices.
- Encrypt backups and invest in air gapping: Encryption adds an extra layer of security against theft and corruption, and air gapping isolates a device or network to protect against cyber attacks and unauthorized access.
- Set a retention rate: Your business creates a lot of data, and you can’t keep every backup forever due to fixed storage space. You must determine how long you want to retain backups, depending on how critical the data is and how frequently the backups are made. A good rule of thumb is to keep hourly and daily backups for a week, weekly backups for a month and monthly backups for a few months.
- Document your data backup policies and procedures: A documented process will ensure your employees carry out the copying and restoration process correctly and promptly. You should specify which tools are used during the process, who should perform the backups, where and how the data is backed up and how the backups will be retrieved and implemented when needed.
- Specy the RPO and RTO: Part of the documentation should be your recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). RPO looks at the frequency of your backups and how much data your business can afford to lose and still survive. RTO looks at the maximum amount of downtime a company can handle after a disaster before it causes significant damage.
- Test your backups periodically: Backing up data isn’t the end of the process; your backup strategy is only as good as your ability to restore the data. Test backups to ensure they can be restored properly and to see if there are any vulnerabilities in the process so you can make the necessary corrections.
Thriveon and Protecting Your Business
AtThriveon, we understand the importance of business continuity efficiency. That’s why we offer a variety of services for strategic managed IT needs, meeting cybersecurity compliance and implementing professional IT project services.
Schedule an initial consultation with our team today.