The down & dirty guide on developing a backup strategy
People who run small businesses have a huge number of tasks to attend to every day, from hiring decisions to customer service to budget reviews. So, preparing for data loss can get lost in the shuffle.
After all, the notion that your company could lose all of its data might seem far-fetched, especially if you have defensive security precautions like antivirus software in place. You might conclude that your time is better spent focusing on products, services and day-to-day management duties.
However, data loss afflicts companies of all sizes, including those that seem secure. And, once your customer, employee or business information is compromised or lost, restoring it can be nearly impossible. Daily operations and transactions can immediately come to a standstill, and you could go out of business in a short period. In other words, disaster planning is critical.
There are quite a few scenarios that can lead to data loss, so understanding the most common ones is an important first step. Let’s look at a few.
Physical server destruction
A natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane could demolish your server environment, wiping out your data in the process. Furthermore, even without a natural disaster, the building it’s located in could suffer a fire, flooding or roof collapse, damaging the hardware that carries your critical files and systems.
Ransomware is becoming more and more common. When malware strikes a company’s digital infrastructure, it encrypts all of its data, rendering that material unusable. To get the perpetrators to unencrypt the data, the business must pay a sizable ransom, most likely with a cryptocurrency. Even if the payment is made, however, there is no guarantee the criminals will make good on restoring the seized data.
Errors and malfunctions
Employee error is a major cause of data loss. It’s all too easy for a worker, especially someone who’s tired or whose mind is elsewhere, to accidentally delete or overwrite a crucial file. A staff member could also physically damage a file by, say, spilling coffee on a laptop, exposing a machine to a power surge, or dropping an important computer.
In addition, hardware can fail. Software can be corrupted. A system could crash. The power could go out before a certain file is saved. Even if you ultimately recovered your data after such an event, you’d still have to face a costly stretch of downtime.
Choosing a data backup strategy
With all of these dangers lurking, it’s good business practice to develop a data backup plan as soon as possible. Your backup data could be stored in the cloud, a vast system of secure virtual servers. And, as you’re sending your private information to the cloud, it can be encrypted to prevent outsiders from viewing it en route.
Another possibility is copying your data to onsite hard drives, which would remain locked in a climate-controlled, restricted-access storage facility. This option is economical and makes your data easily accessible, but you’d still have to worry about a natural disaster or other calamity striking your storage unit.
Of course, you don’t have to choose between these courses of action. The best strategy is to ensure redundant backups across different locations and methods, including the cloud and a secondary, on-premises server. Depending on your priorities and needs, you can update your approach based on latest trends in backup.
Moreover, you needn’t make this decision on your own. Instead, IT managed service providers can analyze your network and your business needs, walk you through your various options, ensure that your disaster plans don’t have any major flaws and help you determine the best backup solution for your company.
In the end, there are many reasons to develop a strategy for data backup, including regulatory compliance and simple peace of mind. The information you collect and curate over time makes all of your business operations possible. No entrepreneur should ever have to discover that, in an instant, it’s all disappeared.