2022 Data Backup Best Practices for Businesses
No business data is safe.
No matter how robust you think your cybersecurity is, all businesses are vulnerable to data breaches; without a good backup strategy, these incidents might even result in data loss.
When this happens, you will have no choice but to put your operations on hold for at least 16 days. According to recent statistics, this is the average downtime duration a cyber-attack can cause. Worst case scenario, when the company data is retrieved–if it ever gets retrieved–it will take roughly six months for SMBs to shut down entirely due to the massive financial loss.
Indeed, that’s a risk no one would be willing to take. This is why all businesses must have a comprehensive backup plan and a disaster recovery scheme to go with it.
At ITS, we help hundreds of organizations safeguard their data by implementing efficient business continuity and backup solutions fit for their type of business. In this article, we listed down all the best practices for backing up data to avoid data loss that can be a major cost to you and your business.
But before that, it is essential to know the cause of the fire before we can extinguish it.
So, what causes data loss?
Awareness is the first step in prevention. Hence, you must know the factors that may bring forth data loss to be able to counteract such activities.
Accidents in workplaces happen; maybe a team member accidentally tampers on a confidential file or spills liquid over a hard drive. However big or small the mistake is, for businesses, these human errors can cause the deletion and overwrite of important work files.
Abrupt or improper software shutdowns may also attribute to data loss. When software shuts down unexpectedly while you’re saving a file, it may lead to file corruption. Once it is corrupted, there’s a high chance that it may not be able to run again, leaving the data stored in that software inaccessible.
Ask anyone what they think causes data losses, and 99% of the time, they’ll answer computer virus. They’re not wrong. When a bad actor impacts your business's cybersecurity, it can steal and delete your data, destroying company functionality.
This often happens when a computer gets infected by a virus through email phishing. Once a team member clicks on a link within a suspicious email, it allows the virus to enter the system and encrypt all files.
There are also problems with Cloud synchronization at times. For instance, say you back up your files in a specific drive or Dropbox, then save them locally. But then, for whatever reason, it doesn’t upload online. Somewhere along the way, you’ll lose the data.
When you fail to synchronize your Cloud storage, you will not be able to access the file outside business premises. Therefore, you will find it hard to retrieve the data should something happen to your local storage.
Other external factors
Incidents out of your control, such as fires, power outages, and natural disasters, can also account for data loss. Assuming that you have stored all your files in a safe room inside your work building without a safety backup, and then a massive fire burns down the entire building, there is practically no way for you to rescue your files.
What does data loss or breach mean for your business?
Regardless of the cause, data loss directly impacts your business operations. If the internal information was exposed outside the organization, it may result in downtime, lost opportunities, and, worse, legal conflicts. But the implications depend on your nature of business, and the data that was breached.
Compared to a healthcare facility leaking their client’s medical information or a financial institution exposing banking details, if a construction company lost access to house plans, the repercussions may be easier to stifle.
For more information regarding data protection risks, you may read this article.
The solution: best practices for backing up data
You may have already heard of the 3-2-1 rule in data backup and recovery. This rule says to keep three (3) copies of your data on two (2) different mediums with one (1) off-site storage solution. Utilizing this rule keeps your data safe and minimizes the hazards of data loss.
That’s not all there is to it, though.
Ryan Deneau, ITS’ Chief Technology Officer, enumerates all the best practices for backing up data:
Have a good backup strategy
First and foremost, make sure that you are implementing a thorough backup strategy following these four easy steps:
- Determine what data needs to be backed up
- Determine how often the data needs to be backed up
- Talk with your MSP and decide on a suitable data backup and recovery solution
- Apply it to your business and keep monitoring
Use off-site storage
Going over the 3-2-1 rule, ideally, you must have a second location to send your backup data.
The first one is within the building premises to easily access it when the need arises. The second one, on the other hand, should be off-site. This may be another physical location or in the Cloud; it’s up to you and your MSP’s judgment.
Having off-site storage away from your local one helps protect your data in case your central server is compromised due to the reasons mentioned above.
Restrict unauthorized access
People shouldn’t be able to come in freely and out of your space, both physically and digitally. Not everyone in your team should have access to certain business data. Even more so, outsiders and hackers.
To prevent unauthorized access that can cause severe damage to your system, below are the best plans of defense:
- Use servers with strong security
- Harden cybersecurity with adequate firewalls
- Use complex passwords
Test and monitor your backups regularly
One single important thing to know and practice once you have already set out a backup plan, according to Deneau, is to keep testing and monitoring.
“To make sure that the backups are usable in the events that you need to use them, make sure that it completes the jobs successfully,” said Deneau. “Or if there are errors during the process, you must know about it quickly so you can rerun the backup jobs immediately before any problem develops.”
To do this, you must test your backup on a regular basis. At a minimum, the recommended point between every backup is once a week. But the more often, the better.
You can manually perform backups or, to lessen the handiwork, set them up automatically at an interval of your choice.
Do You Have a Good Data Backup Strategy?
Practicing a good data backup and recovery strategy diminishes the risk of data loss and gives you peace of mind. If you haven’t yet, make sure to prioritize setting up a plan this 2022.
As one of the most reliable managed service providers in the US, serving the cities of Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Pasadena, Phoenix, and San Francisco, ITS makes sure to keep businesses running by safekeeping essential data with technology. Assess your backup strategy by giving us a call today.
You may also read this article as a preview of what your data backup and recovery plan looks like with ITS.