The importance of backing up your data to protect your business
Backing up your data is one of those jobs. At the end of a long working day or the close of a project, it can seem so postpone-able.
But if and when disaster strikes – like the office flooding or burning to the ground, or even something relatively minor like the contents of a spilled cup of coffee landing in the wrong place – that the importance of backing up your vital business data really comes into focus. But by then, it’s all too late! The damage is done, and all that intel you once had to support the successful running of your business literally no longer exists.
It wouldn’t be understating things to say that data backup is one of the most necessary aspects of your ongoing IT management. It would be no understatement either to say backups are also among the most ignored and forgotten aspects of business operations.
The concept is so unbelievably simple — all we mean by ‘backing up’ is making a copy of your data and storing it in a secure location. However, the reality of the process involved can be much more complex.
Whether it be protection against costly downtime caused by system failure, or the damage that results from losing sensitive information, the impact on businesses can be immense, and the road to recovery can be long and expensive. Some may never recover at all.
Think about what would happen if the worst should occur — how badly would your company be damaged by the loss of key files, confidential customer information, or other crucial data or documents which it relies on to conduct its day-to-day operations?
When should I backup?
As a rule of thumb, if losing your data would interfere with your doing business, damage customer relations, impact cash flow, or simply generate the mountain of work associated with the recreation of files, databases or systems, it should be backed up as part of any effective business continuity and disaster recovery plan.
Thankfully, while the loss of such data can be devastating, it is preventable. And as digital systems and data become ever more critical to the success of all businesses, backups are becoming easier and more secure.
Backups should be conducted at a minimum once a day. Some systems with high levels of transactions should be backed up at a more regular schedule. That all depends on how much data the business is prepared to lose in the event of a serious cyber attack or disaster such as a fire.
How do I backup my data securely?
There are many types of commercial backups available based on budget, security requirements, platforms and technology. Selecting the right solution can be difficult and confusing even for internal IT Departments. Proper consultation with a specialised Managed Service Provider can simplify the process and minimise the risk.
A number of considerations should be made:
- Size of Data to be backed up. The size of a backup can affect the timing to backup and the time to restore. While also affecting the storage retention sizing. Ensure you plan correctly your sizing requirements.
- Type of Data. (Virtual Machines, Files and Folders, Databases, Cloud Storage, Cloud environments ) different systems may require a different approach.
- Backup Schedule. How often your data will be backed up? This will be heavily dependent on the business requirements. This should be discussed with the business and ensure all parties have a clear understanding of what this means in terms of restoring data.
- Type of Backup Solutions. Selecting the right solution can be difficult as it depends on what you are backing up and what some of the business requirements are. Aligning a solution to the specific needs of the business is crucial.
- Security and Encryption. The security of the data being backed up is as important as the backup itself. Encryption should always be used to ensure the safety of the data in transit and in storage. Encryption ensures the data can only be accessed by the appropriate personnel.
- Storage Location. Backups should be stored in a remote location independent and disconnected from the systems themselves. Businesses should also be aware of where their data will be stored. Some Cloud Backup providers will store data outside of Australia.
- Restoration Time Frames. The timing to restore systems should be documented and defined clearly to the business to ensure proper planning.
Managed Backup Solutions
For these reasons, many medium-to-large businesses opt for a managed backup solution, usually maintained in partnership with their managed service provider.
A managed backup will ensure a system of regular backups is established, and that they are performed with integrity. This could happen hourly, daily or once per week depending on the nature of the data, and may differ across various files depending on sensitivity or how mission critical they are.
Your managed service provider will help set up the scheduling and conduct system checks to ensure everything’s working as intended across your various systems.
Partnering with a managed backup service provider will help your business navigate critical choices between local (hardware) backups and online cloud services, as well as full, incremental and differential methods of backing up your data. Managed backups can also serve as a disaster recovery tool, enabling a business to rebound quickly following system failure or cyber breach.
Your ultimate choice of backup solution will be based on recommendations given by your managed service provider informed by its understanding of the distinct needs of your business. As standard, however, the service should always include a highly reliable and secure safeguarding storage space, and various security measures including password protection & encryption at a minimum.
There’s a lot to consider, even for smaller businesses, which may not require a managed service provider to make sure backups are effectively handled. But the reality of losing important and hard-earned data, transaction records, business correspondence, or sensitive customer information always carries the potential for disaster.
To avoid a nightmare scenario, contact Securelogic today. We can help find the right backup solution to guarantee your business data is properly protected, giving you peace of mind that if something goes wrong you can quickly, easily and affordably bounce back.