How Businesses Should Back Up Data the Right Way
Given the ever-increasing need to keep your personal data safe from prying eyes and sticky fingers, it only makes sense that businesses need to take even greater care when creating backups of data vital to their operations. Having the ability to hit the ground running after a data loss can be an incredible resource, but you will only be able to do so with some prior planning and preparation. Learn more about how businesses should back up data the right way and why it is so crucial for the long-term health of your enterprise.
Create a Well-Defined Data Recovery Plan Helmed by a Single Person
Having data backups can make the difference between losing days or weeks of productivity in the event of an accident or data breach, but only if a plan for creating such backups is in place and carried out correctly. To ensure that your data recovery plan will effectively preserve your most important information, you will need to determine exactly what data needs to be copied and stored in multiple locations.
Given that all too many small and medium businesses fall victim to the temptation of keeping irreplaceable data, including schedules, emails, executed contracts, and so on, within a single folder, disaster will strike immediately if that folder is deleted, corrupted, or stolen. However, by taking the time and effort to identify what your business considers critical data and placing the responsibility for such activities under the purview of a single data management specialist, you can help prevent such events.
Consider Multiple Forms of Backing Up Data and Their Pros and Cons
If you find yourself in the market for the best backup services to keep your proprietary data under digital lock and key, it is important to note that there are no "one size fits all" solutions that will work identically from business to business. Many potential options are available depending on your overall budget, the sensitivity of the data involved, and your comfort level with various forms of technology.
One of the cheapest and most straightforward methods would be to copy all relevant data to storage devices, such as USB flash drives, external hard drives, and so on. However, given that such hardware can easily be physically stolen and accessed without proper passwords and encryption, they may not be able to fulfill your specific needs.
It should be noted that when combined with properly equipped archival software solutions, performing data restorations can be accomplished in mere minutes, which can be much faster than less physical storage methods. So long as you also maintain secondary backups of your data in the event your devices are damaged, stolen, or misplaced, they can make a very effective data storage method, depending on the size of your business.
One of the most popular solutions for creating data backups goes hand in hand with one of the most universal terms in modern business: cloud backup solutions. There is certainly no shortage of companies offering to back up your data to the cloud. However, you may want to investigate a "cold storage" backup server that is not regularly connected to the internet to prevent attacks and intrusions.
The last technique commonly used for backing up data is purchasing software or apps specifically designed to do so. While you will be sacrificing the comparative ease of use that external data storage methods provide, you gain access to new features and greatly improved options for preserving information, making them a helpful resource. In addition to determining which data is backed up to a given storage device, such software also gives your business the ability to bring automation to your data recovery plan and specify exactly what systems and data are designated to be preserved.
Schedule Regular Quarterly Reviews to Ensure Your Plan is Effective
Given that many plans do not survive contact with the battlefield, the importance of checking that your data recovery plan is sufficient to meet your current needs cannot be overstated. Should unfortunate circumstances befall your small or medium-sized business in the form of sabotage by a disgruntled ex-employee, data breaches by cyber criminals, or natural disasters rendering your equipment unusable, you need to ensure that any data backed up will allow you to resume operations as soon as possible. Rather than determining whether your strategy for preserving vital information was effective by sifting through the ashes of the incident, figuratively or literally, you should strongly consider meeting with your data management specialist regularly to review your plan's efficacy.
This is where collaboration with data backup services and having multiple backups of the same data can really be useful, especially when bundling services from the same provider may result in an overall discount for your business. You should also consider that automating your process for backing up data will not only help reduce the possibility of human errors from occurring but also save you or your data manager an excessive amount of time and trouble. Remote data storage services should also be considered so that in the event of a physical disaster that destroys any local copies, you can easily retrieve a digital copy at your leisure.
No matter your field of business or the size of the technology budget, backing up your data in a way that meets your needs will pay dividends for years to come. Check out various cloud storage providers and external storage devices to determine which methods work best.
About Dan Martin: Daniel Martin is a technology researcher and writer with more than a decade of experience. He is a professional librarian and an experienced tech teacher, writer and blogger. Specializing in technology, Dan has taught courses in technology and writing at the college level, developed web pages for businesses and higher educational institutions, written on tech topics for leading national publications and created numerous how-to guides.