As a small-business owner, you know that data is everything. It’s what drives your company and keeps it running. So if something happens to your data — whether it’s the result of a natural disaster, a cyberattack, or an accident — you could be in big trouble. That’s why it’s crucial to have a solid data backup strategy.
With a little planning and the right tools, you can create a backup strategy that will preserve your business data and give you peace of mind. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Define your data recovery goals
Which data do you need to recover in the event of an emergency? How quickly do you need to be able to access it, or what’s the maximum amount of downtime you can tolerate? Answering these questions will help you determine the right backup solution for your business.
The two most important parameters to consider at this stage are:
- Recovery point objective (RPO) – the maximum amount of data (expressed in terms of time) your business can afford to lose without sustaining significant harm
- Recovery time objective (RTO) – the maximum amount of time your business can operate without access to its data
These parameters will have a big impact on the type of backup solution you choose. For example, if you have a low RPO, you’ll need a solution that can take snapshots of your data at regular intervals. And if you have a short RTO, you’ll need a solution that can quickly restore your data in the event of an outage.
2. Determine the types of backups you need
The three main types of backups are full, incremental, and differential backups. A full backup copies all of your data, while an incremental backup only saves new or changed data since the last backup, regardless of type. A differential backup copies all new or changed data since the last full backup.
Full backups are the most comprehensive, but they also take the longest to complete and require the most storage space. Incremental and differential backups are quicker and use less storage, but they rely on full backups to be effective.
You also need to decide whether you want to store your backups in your office or in a remote location. On-site backups are faster and easier to create, but they’re vulnerable to the same disasters that could destroy your primary data. Off-site backups are slower and more expensive to create, but they’re much safer from local events.
A good data backup strategy uses a combination of on-site and off-site backups. This enables you to quickly restore your data in the event of a localized disaster, like a fire or flood. And if something happens to your off-site backups, you can still fall back on your on-site backups.
3. Don't neglect employee-owned devices and connected systems
Many of your employees are likely using their own laptops, smartphones, or tablets for work. And those devices are often connected to other systems, like cloud-based storage services.
That means your data isn’t just stored on your company's servers — it’s scattered across a variety of devices and systems. So when you’re creating your backup strategy, include a plan for employee-owned devices and other connected systems.
4. Always factor in privacy and security
It’s easy to forget about privacy and security when you’re focused on backing up your data. But it’s important to remember that your backups are just as vulnerable to attack as your primary data.
That’s why you need to encrypt your backups and store them in a secure location. If you’re using an off-site cloud backup service, ask about the provider’s security measures. And if you’re storing backups on site, make sure your backup devices are stored in a secure room with limited access or in a locked cabinet.
5. Regularly test your backups
Even the best backup strategy is useless if your backups become corrupted or inaccessible. At least once a month, try to restore your data from a backup to ensure that your backups are working properly. And if you ever need to use them for a real emergency, you’ll know that they will work.
Creating a data backup strategy might seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential for any business that wants to protect its data. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a strategy that will keep your data safe and accessible, no matter what happens.
If you want to learn more about data backup and disaster recovery, drop us a line today. Our experts at Kortek Solutions are always happy to help.