Data loss can be one of the most disastrous issues any business will face.
According to studies conducted in this year (2019), the average total cost for data loss is $1.9 million, but for people with over 50,000 records compromised, that cost rises to $6.3 million.
Fail to have the right backup plan in place, and you could find that the loss to your business is so significant, that it destroys your potential for continued growth.
So, how do you protect all the relevant and critical information that your business collects every day?
Well, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you have a convenient and successful data backup strategy in place.
To make sure you’re prepared for anything in today’s unpredictable digital world, we’ve put together this list of the 5 top tips for creating your backup plan.
1. Prepare for the Worst
Ultimately, having an automated and regular backup process ready is the key to making sure that you’re ready for any data disaster that might come your way.
Backing up important data is an activity that you should do every day.
Scheduling data backups to take place each day automaticallyis easier than you’d think, particularly if you have a cloud storage system in place.
Start by meeting with the people in your team responsible for making your data management plan a success, this might include your IT team and CIO.
Once you’re all together, create a step-by-step plan to set out how the organization will recover from critical incidents like fatal hardware failures in your server.
Everyone should know exactly what they need to do when disaster strikes, and how they can make sure they’re always backing up automatically to keep the repercussions of a disaster to an absolute minimum.
You might even reach out to a specialist team for some extra help.
2. Use the 3-2-1 Backup Plan
One of the best strategies available for data protection today is called the “3-2-1” backup plan.
When you’re protecting your data, have three copies of that information:
- Your live data will be the first copy.
- Also have two extra copies to ensure that even if two of your storage solutions fail, you still have an alternative in place.
You also need to make sure you’re storing your backups on at least 2 different types of data.
You shouldn’t have three copies of your data on the same computer, as this won’t help you if your computer breaks down.
Instead, you can store your data as follows:
- Have the first backup on your PC.
- The other backup should be in a separate data center.
- The final backup should be in the cloud.
The 3-2-1 rule suggests that at least one of your data backup solutions should be stored off-site, away from your physical business location.
A separate location is important because it protects you against issues like fires, floods, and natural disasters.
The 3-2-1 approach increases your chances that at least one version of your data will survive any disaster.
3. Adjust Your Backup Plan to Suit Your Data
To have a good backup plan and make sure you’re not wasting your computing power and storage on consistent backups, you’ll need a plan that’s tailored to your specific business needs.
Some data changes regularly, such as the files you have on your customers for instance. This “hot” data is in use all the time, unlike your cold data that isn’t updated as regularly.
You’ll need a lot of storage and computing power to update all your backups every day.
While it might be possible to take that approach anyway, you might decide that it’s easier, and less expensive to simply backup the data you’re changing.
You can prioritize to make daily backups of your evolving data, while just conducting weekly or monthly backups of the cold data that doesn’t change as often.
Think about what you really need from your data backup strategy and customize your campaign to suit the needs of your business.
4. Practice Your Recovery Scenarios
There’s a chance that you might already have a good backup regime in place, but when was the last time you tested whether it really works?
You need to check that your data recovery strategy is up to scratch, so you know that you can rely on it to deliver the right results when you need it most.
Run simple tests, such as creating a test file inside a folder you will back up, then deleting that folder after a backup so you can try to recover it from your service.
You might opt to run more complex tests every now and again, involving larger amounts of data in different scenarios.
The best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your recovery scenarios is to test them with your data protection team.
You don’t want to wait until you’re dealing with a disaster to discover that your backups aren’t as effective as you thought.
5. Take a Centralized Approach
Finally, remember that being able to back up data in a single location is likely to be a lot simpler and more straightforward than attempting to back up the data that exists in a host of different places.
If you’re not using cloud storage for your live data yet, it might be a good idea to think about taking the leap.
Moving into the cloud will improve your backup and restore process, saving you money on the amount of database space you need.
Just ensure that you’re not relying on the cloud alone.
As we mentioned in our 3-2-1 tip above, it’s important to have a separate form of data storage available too. This will ensure that you’re taking a hybrid approach to protect yourself.
Making the Most of Data Backup
In a world where your data is the most valuable thing your business can have, it’s important not to put your information at risk.
Having the right data backup strategy in place could be the key to protecting your business and keeping your company up and running.
How are you defending your data?
Thinking about data backup is not reserved for IT specialists only. Every business should consider how data loss will affect their operations. We’ve prepared a few must-know tips about data backup planning for you to get a solid grasp of what’s really important for your specific needs.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.