The cost of not having a backup strategy for your business

In Backups and Recovery by Jesse Rink

There are a few dangers that can bring a company down regardless of its size. One of them is data loss. Think about it: if you suddenly lost every corporate file the company has, could you recover? Without a backup strategy, the answer is most likely “no”.

We want to help you understand how crucial data backups are and the dangers you face without having a proper backup plan and strategy in place.

Assuming you don’t need a backup strategy

Most companies know how disastrous data loss can be. Despite this, they still consider the threat almost zero.

Yes, losing a big part of your company data and files seems unlikely, but not having a backup plan is still extremely dangerous. With no backups, you are not only vulnerable to viruses and hackers, you must also consider the possibility of negligence, rogue employees, defective hardware, and natural disasters.

These situations can cause problems even if you have a backup strategy. Without it, they could very well spell doom for your company. That’s a risk you shouldn’t take.

Making individual employees responsible

Some businesses entrust employees with all their critical data and rely on them to keep it safe. That’s a bad idea through and through. Regular, non-IT, employees rarely have the know-how to maintain file security or understand how backups are implemented.

Without guidance and help from IT experts, every employee can become a liability. Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly common and a lost laptop can cost you dearly.

backup_strategy

The best policy is to keep your corporate files and data on the company server. Of course, you’ll need to implement proper security measures as well so only specific users get to specific types of data.

Making an effective backup strategy

First of all, you have to put someone in charge of the job. You can outsource or delegate the task to your IT department. This is a serious responsibility and should be treated accordingly.  Then there are four main questions that need answering:

1. How often should you perform backups?

To answer this question, you first have to think how often your files are updated. If crucial data changes once a day, then you have do make a backup once a day too.

Saving files isn’t expensive, but please don’t try to save money by skimping on backups. You stand to lose a lot more if disaster strikes.

If you feel like the business can deal with the loss of some data, do a backup at least once a week. It’s the absolute -LEAST- least you should do.  We strongly recommend backing up your company data daily, and in some cases with transactional databases, even more often than that.  Companies may also want to consider whether they want to rely on one single software program to handle their entire backup strategy, or whether they want to use two different products to provide some built in redundancy with their backup solution.

2. What files are worth saving?

Not every byte of data is crucial to a company. While saving everything is the best policy, we understand if you don’t want to make a significant investment.

Here are some types of files whose safety you should prioritize:

  • Client and employee personal information;
  • Business intelligence;
  • Financial records;
  • Corporate communications;
  • Project plans and details.

If any of these goes missing, there can be dire consequences.

3. Where should you store backups?

Many companies perform backups and then just keep them in the same location as the original data. That almost defeats the point of creating backups!  Backups should be kept in a separate location from the original data.

There are various options available as to WHERE backups should be stored.  Backup-to-Disk backups (an external NAS device, or external USB disk), Backup-to-Tape backups, Cloud-based backups, and using combinations of those locations are all places that backups can be stored, each having their pros and cons.  Having redundant locations in place for where your data backups are stored is always a good idea!

Don’t just rely on having your backups stored in a single place or single device.  If a particular device ends up failing due to a random hardware issue, there can be dire consequences when it comes to recovery of that data.

4. How long do you want for a retention period?

Lastly, the company needs to decide how far back they want to be able to go back when it comes to data recovery.  Is two weeks sufficient?  Two months?  Two years?   Seven years?  Knowing how far back you need backups to be available will change the overall scope of the backup plan and strategy chosen by your organization.

Once you have answered those four questions, then you can begin putting together a backup strategy that will fit within your allocated budget.

How to ensure the safety of your files

Securing your data doesn’t start and end with backups. Yes, backups are extremely important, but you also need a firewall, antivirus protection, and other safety measures in place. Luckily, the right team of professionals can handle all that for you.

Furthermore, please keep in mind that backup solutions are completely worthless if they are not actually backing up WHAT they are supposed to, WHEN they are supposed to.  Backup software, like ALL software ever written since the dawn of computers, can fail occasionally.  Please make sure that you schedule periodic checks of the backup solution you have implemented to verify it is running as expected and backing up your company data.  We would also strongly suggest that you take the time to occasionally test the restore process of specific data to ensure your data can be recovered as necessary.

Our team of IT experts would be more than happy to help you. We’re here to provide you with the best possible IT solutions for your business.

Contact us and take the first steps towards data security.

 

About the Author
Jesse Rink

Jesse Rink

Twitter

Jesse is the owner of Source One Technology and has been providing IT services to schools, nonprofits and SMBs in Waukesha, Milwaukee and SE Wisconsin for over 18 years.