It is rather an unfortunate certainty that constantly evolving cybersecurity can never be certainly threat proof. There is always a risk. There is always one or another news from around the world about malicious ransomware attacks, or targeted data breaches.
However, as a business owner, you need to sit and evaluate how much risk you can afford? Rather consider how expensive and valuable your data is? Deciding on the level of the security and backup strategy is an important process and based upon your assessment there are certain steps you can take to protect your data. One of the absolutely necessary things you can, or you should do to protect your business data from malicious attacks, insider threats, and natural disasters, or even prolonged power outages is to create an effective data backup strategy.
We’ve laid out some steps you can take to ensure the safety and security of your data minimizing downtime when disaster strikes.
Major Elements in Backup Strategic Planning
Maybe all these points are not applicable to your business, but it is worthwhile knowing what constitutes an ideal backup strategy. Here are some key factors to keep in mind before you reach out to an IT Service provider
For sake of effectiveness, a backup should be run at regular intervals of time. How you schedule these backups will majorly depend on how critical that data is and how frequently it is changed within the environment. It may not be necessary to back up all your data at each interval. The disaster recovery mechanism is far more effective if you have the most recent data stored in your backup.
An effective backup strategy should include your current assets and the assets you may plan to acquire in the future. While you plan to cover things like workstations, connected devices, and any SaaS that is in use like Microsoft Office 365, It is important to make sure that your data backup is scalable. This means that it should not only cover essential systems, servers, and users but also distributed endpoints and applications- in present and in possible future as well.
Any plan or backup service you choose should be fully secure with appropriate handling authorities. This means that your data should only be the server accessible for a select number of people and should be handled in a way that keeps it safe from outside threats or damage. Look for a backup service that has servers located within Canada. Doing so will ensure that your data is stored in compliance with local legislation.
Stepwise process for Creating an Effective Data Backup Strategy
Now that you know what to keep in mind when creating a backup strategy, it is time to look at how you can go about setting up and implementing a data backup strategy.
- Plan for future Changes
When creating your backup strategy, you need to create a system that will work as your business changes and grows. At this moment, you might have 10 workstations attached to your network that you are backing up. But what happens if another connected device or machine enters the environment.
Make sure that you have protocols in place that will guarantee that any additions to your networks are properly secured and backed up. The loss of any critical data can prevent you from getting back up and running in a timely manner, so you do not want to leave anything left to chance. This is one reason why backup strategy is so important.
- Determine Data Backup Frequency
Understanding your recovery point objective (RPO) will enable you to determine the necessary frequency of your data backups. The more frequently you back up your data, the more current it will be if restoration is necessary.
Your first backup should be a full backup. But after that, to be most efficient, you would typically perform a backup at least once every 24 hours or depending upon the sensitivity of data. This will ensure that any changes or additions made will be a part of your backup.
- Determine What Data Needs to Be Backed Up
It is likely unnecessary to backup all your data, all the time. First, identify the data that is critical and essential for restoring operations. To do this, you need to calculate your Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The RTO is the maximum acceptable length of time required for a business or organization to recover lost data and get back up and running. Example- What if you lost all your accounting data how soon can you settle ongoing transactions or if you lost your engineering drawings how soon you would want to start manufacturing again?
Once you’ve calculated your RTO, you may try to fit it in 3 categories:
- Existential-critical: data necessary for the business to survive
- Mission-critical: data necessary for the business to remain operate
- Optimal for performance: necessary for the business to thrive
After the data has been sorted into these categories, you can then layer your security and better plan your data backup strategy.
Identify Data Backup Solution
You’ve sorted your data to determine the necessary frequency and layers of your back up, now you need to find the right solution for you. Look for a backup service that provides you with the flexibility you need to meet your specific business needs. There is no one size fits all backup solution! Your Backup Consultant like Pulse Tech can help you chose an optimal solution.
Features you will want to consider when exploring options are:
- The ability to set automatic backups
- Flexibility in restoration with point-in-time
- Storage flexibility
- Strong security credentials
5. Testing and monitoring
Now that you have identified your backup provider and an optimal solution, it is time to run a test. Check to see if the backup is successful, accurate, and efficient. If it passes, you can carry on with business as usual with additional peace of mind! Let your IT Service provider continue with backup monitoring.
A data breach or similar disaster can cost your business a lot in terms of time, money, and customer/client trust.
Having an effective data backup strategy
is an effective way to protect your vital data and restore regular operations as quickly as possible. We call it business continuity.