DATA BACKUP | 5 MIN READ
Many businesses know that data backups are an integral aspect of data security. However, the tasks of determining how often to back up data and the best backup protocol can be complex. As a Managed Service Provider, we assist clients in setting up and maintaining proper backup processes. In this article, we aim to educate you about how often businesses should back up their data plus tips on proper back up protocol.
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How Often Should Businesses Back Up Their Data?
In a short answer, businesses should back up their data as often as possible, which can mean that it happens every hour of every day. However, the average amount that is typically recommended for businesses is once a day.
If your business accumulates so much data each day that one backup a day might not be sufficient, you may wish to perform backups more often.
For instance, a popular online retail store that has thousands of customers per day viewing and purchasing from their website may need to perform backups more often, seeing as in the event that its network were to crash and had to be restored using the most recent backup, this type of company may lose a lot more data than other businesses.
How to Successfully Back Up Data
Determine What Data to Back Up
When businesses think about what data to back up, they typically consider files and documents stored on their network. While this data is important and should be included in a backup, there are other crucial data types that need to be backed up regularly as well.
Data backups should include all forms of data stored within your network, including the following:
- Operating systems
- Employee work phones
Find a Secure Backup Provider
If you choose to back up data to the cloud, you'll need to find a secure provider. Here's a few ways you can find the right cloud storage provider:
- Evaluate how much data storage you think you'll need. Cheaper plans usually come with limits on the amount of data you can store. Before buying a plan, estimate the volume of data that your company stores to see if you could manage fine with a storage limit or if you need to spend more for a plan that allows unlimited storage.
- When evaluating a cloud storage provider, ask how they store your data. How many data centers are holding your information, and where are these centers located? For instance, if your business is located around the world but all the data centers are in the US, you could potentially run into issues with connectivity speed. Make sure there are plenty of data centers worldwide to accommodate your company, especially if you have offices in multiple countries.
- Consider any data privacy regulations that your company must adhere to. Storing your data in a third party data center could potentially raise some concerns about how compliant you can remain with current data regulations. Check with your provider to see what they can do to keep you compliant, especially with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR.
- How does the data center secure your information? Ask your provider what security measures are in place to protect your data. Data centers can implement a variety of tactics, including advanced fire detection systems, reinforced walls, and 24/7 security guards.
Back Up Data to As Many Places As Possible
Businesses have multiple options for backing up data. While a single location may be secure, we recommend backing up data to as many locations as possible so that in the event of a network failure, there are multiple backup locations to retrieve data and quickly reboot your network with minimal data loss.
Typically, businesses utilize one or more of the following solutions to back up their data:
- On-Premise Hardware (ie. external hard drives and servers)
- Backup Software
- Cloud-Based Backups
Automate Backup Processes
Automating data backups takes the risk of human error out of play. When employees are left to manually perform data backups, the risk of a backup being forgotten or completed incorrectly can increase the risk of data loss in the event of a network failure.
By automating backups, this risk is effectively mitigated and employees are freed up for other tasks, thus increasing workplace productivity as well. Various software and platforms exist that can streamline your backup automation and let your business customize how often and where you would like your data to be backed up.
If you are looking for a backup automation platform, be diligent when doing research on the right brand, as some on the market complete backups slowly or incorrectly.
Once a backup process is built and automated, make sure to update your processes when your network infrastructure changes, for instance, when new devices or platforms are introduced to your network.
Secure Data Backup Tips
Consider Cloud Backup
Businesses typically back up data to either an on-premise solution or a cloud-based solution. We recommend cloud-based solutions for several reasons:
The cloud can in some ways be more secure than an on-premise solution because data isn't physically at the office for hackers or employees with bad intentions to easily take. This can lessen the odds of a data breach.
Additionally, cloud-based data isn't as susceptible to robbers and acts of nature because data centers usually have strengthened walls and advanced fire/temperature gauging systems, among other security features.
With cloud-based security, data center employees are there solely to protect your data. On the other hand, if a business only have internal IT personnel to protect data, those employees could get distracted by other tasks, which means they might not have as much time to focus on solely protecting their business' network.
While on-premise setups can also keep data secure with high efficiency from the start, as a cloud system learns your network and grows with you, over time it can become more secure than on-premise security.
Downtime can have significant consequences for a company. For businesses that prioritize keeping network downtime to a minimum, the cloud could be the way to go because it backs up your data in multiple places.
This means that in the event of a network outage, your data can be restored from a backup faster than an on-premise solution. With an on-premise setup, since your data is housed on-site, if a server were to go down, that data can't easily be recovered from, for instance, a data center in another location.
Scalability is an area where the cloud has a clear advantage. With the cloud, data centers can quickly re-adjust their resources to meet client demand. For instance, if a company experienced rapid growth and needed to expand their infrastructure and computing power, the cloud could do this with ease.
In this same scenario, a company with on-premise security would have to quickly invest in more hardware and software to build up their infrastructure. Startups and other fast-growing businesses could benefit immensely from this model. Additionally, companies with a large amount of remote workers could benefit from the scalability of cloud-based security.
While companies who must comply with data security regulations might be hesitant to keep data in the cloud, as long as their cloud security provider does their due diligence in staying compliant and up to code, risk can be effectively mitigated.
Consider this − according to Gartner, 95% of cloud-based security failures through 2020 will be the customers' fault, for instance if they fall for a phishing scheme or use easy-to-crack passwords. So, some of the risk of cloud-based data breaches could be managed simply by training your employees on cyber security best practices.
Technology develops at such a rapid pace that what's cutting-edge today can quickly become outdated tomorrow. If on-premise data centers break or become obsolete, the cost and time to move your data can be a burden.
With cloud storage, your data is housed in a data center forever. This is especially a benefit, because as more and more job operations move online, having your data already in a data center can streamline business processes.
Build a BCDR Plan
BCDR plans are utilized by businesses in the event of network outages stemming from natural disasters or cyber attacks to:
Ensure that operations run smoothly
Minimize network downtime
Minimize data loss
Business Continuity plans re-direct resources, establish chains of command, and coordinate shifts in employees so that business operations have minimal interruptions during natural disasters and network outages.
For instance, if a tornado swept through and destroyed part of a business' office, how would the company continue to ensure that all employees have web access and know how to continue working?
In this scenario, maybe all employees would be instructed to work remotely, or maybe some business functions would temporarily be put on pause to direct resources to more critical business tasks.
Disaster Recovery plans mainly focus on how to utilize effective IT to quickly recover one's network with minimal downtime and data loss. A few main tenants of Disaster Recovery plans include server and network restoration and backup recovery.
RELATED: How to Build a BCDR Plan
Executing an effective data backup strategy minimizes the risk of data loss in the event of a network failure. Use this article to better protect your organization's sensitive data.
If you're an Atlanta-based business in need of assistance building an effective backup strategy, consider us! As a Managed IT Services Provider, we assist businesses with automating backups and securing data.
For more data backup and cyber security content, follow our blog!
Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Marketing Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their network infrastructure.