The Importance of Backup and Recovery

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The Importance of Backup and Recovery

Loss of data is a common occurrence in the business world today. Whether it’s from a cyber-attack or an accident, data loss can cripple a company for days, weeks, and even longer. Having a good backup strategy in place is essential for data security since there is no guaranteed method of prevention for a data breach. Data backups are your only guarantee against data loss and having to pay a ransom in the event of a ransomware attack.

Data loss can occur from:

  • Accidental damage, deletion, or modification of data
  • Hardware failure
  • Local disasters such as fire, flood, or a spilled drink on a computer
  • Lost or stolen devices
  • Modification, deletion, or corruption of files by virus or malicious code
  • Ransomeware attack requiring a large payment before files are unlocked

Data storage and backup go hand in hand. Data storage means keeping your data files in a secure location that is readily and easily accessible. In contrast, data backup refers to saving additional copies of your data in a separate physical or virtual location apart from your everyday data storage. 

Your data, information, programs, and processes are the basis of your company. If you lose them, or access to them, recovery could be slow, costly, or virtually impossible. In the case of a hospital, you could risk lives if your data is held hostage in a ransomware attack and is unavailable for a period of time. While the damage to your business may not be life or death, data breaches are a common reason for company failure. We don’t want that to happen to you.

What should you back up?

The first step in implementing a data backup strategy is identifying what information should be backed up and how frequently. You will want to back up critical or high-value data more frequently than your routine systems. 

Data such as financial records, customer information, HR and internal information, research, proposals, and any other critical information that you can’t afford to be without should be included in your backup strategy. In addition, your network configuration information, policy and process documents, application license information, and any applications that can’t be re-downloaded from a cloud service should be backed up as well.

Bottom Line: If losing the data will interfere with doing business, you need to be backing it up.

How often should you back up?

Backups should happen at a regular frequency. The more critical the data is, the more frequently you should back it up. Data backups should be automated to back up data either after edits are made or at regularly scheduled intervals. Critical data should be backed up daily or more often. 

How do you back up?

There are many built-in backup solutions available online for small businesses. Online or cloud backup solutions are often the best for small businesses because of their cost and ease of use. Microsoft and Amazon both offer backup solutions (AZURE and S3 respectively) that are scalable for businesses. After you have determined what needs to be backed up, you can then research commercial solutions or work with a firm like Gray Analytics to develop a backup strategy that is customized to your business.

Setting up your backup for execution will differ based on how you have chosen to back up your data but, in general, you will need to select the data that you want to be backed up, the data backup location, and the backup frequency.

Redundancy is your friend

When you are setting up your backup strategy, make sure you are creating, at minimum, two copies of your data. And make sure at least one of them is stored off-site in a secure location like in the cloud. It is also recommended that you use at least two different formats for your backups so in case one format fails you still have a working copy of your data.

Can you restore your data?

Once you have a backup strategy in place, you should test your recovery process to ensure that you can quickly and easily access your backup and restore your data. By performing a recovery drill test, you ensure that everyone knows your backup strategy, that your backup and recovery processes are stable and easy to use, and that you can recover from a data breach, accidental mishap, or ransomware attack without suffering long-term damage to your company.