Data Backup Strategy
By Ryan Kincer
Every business knows they need to backup their data. Not every business does. And even those who think they are backing up are unaware they have gaps and are at risk of not being able to recover some of their data. Being faced with data loss is one of those sickening feelings that nobody wants to experience. Whether or not your business has a backup strategy in place, here are some important points to consider to make sure your business digital assets are well protected from being lost.
File Level Backup. The most common method of backing up data is to configure backup software to target data from specific files and folders on your computer. You can specify what to backup and also what not to backup. File level backups are very easy to use, very flexible, and are normally most cost effective as they require little storage. The danger here is that you can forget to specify a particular folder. This method requires intention and awareness.
Disk Image Backup. This method uses technology that captures the entire contents of a hard drive making them suitable for disaster recovery scenarios. A full disk image can be used to bring an entire system back online and operating in its previous state. It can also be used to restore specific files just like a traditional file level backup solution. Disk image backups are best suited for servers and other mission critical systems. Ultimately, it provides the best data backup and recovery coverage for any system.
Regardless of the backup method being used, consider the frequency of your backups. At minimum, you should backup daily. But some systems such as a file or database server might need to be backed up at more frequent intervals so that the loss of data is minimized in case of an event.
Cloud Storage. Backup data has to be stored somewhere and certainly the most popular option is to save backups to the cloud. Cloud storage is very cost effective, highly scalable, reliable and easy to use. One of the important things to consider when using cloud storage is Internet connectivity and bandwidth. Although it is convenient, it is the slowest option for backing up and restoring data.
Local Storage. The traditional method of backup storage is to save data to local storage such as an external USB drive or a storage device on your local network. Local storage allows for larger backups, faster backups and quicker recovery.
Hybrid. Best practice for backups is to run a hybrid scenario that includes local and cloud storage so that there are two copies of backup data. This is a feature of many business backup software solutions that address disaster recovery. Nobody regrets having too many backups of their data, only too few.
The security of stored backup data is an often overlooked element of backup implementations. Data is always at risk of being compromised by criminals especially with the growing threat of ransomware in recent years. Backup data is no exception. It is imperative that backup storage locations are properly secured so that unauthorized users cannot get to your backup data. Another thing to consider is encryption of your backups. This is especially important when
dealing with sensitive data that must meet compliance standards.
Backups are not a set and forget exercise. Backups fail and some businesses don’t find that out until they need to recover data. Backups must be monitored by a responsible party in your business or by a third party. If a backup fails, an alert should be triggered so action can be taken. At a minimum, backup summary reports should be generated and reviewed at least weekly.
In conclusion, give your business backup strategy the attention it deserves. Utilize a service provider or professional to assist if necessary. The end result will be confidence and peace of mind so you can stay focused on delivering the best to your customers.
Ryan Kincer is a business technology leader with experience in various aspects of IT management, planning, and procurement including hardware, software, networking, and telecommunications. He may be reached at (951) 251-5336 ext. 215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.