As the world becomes increasingly reliant on digital systems and solutions, it is crucial for businesses to have reliable data backup and recovery procedures in place. The loss or theft of data can have devastating implications, disrupting day-to-day operations, causing huge financial losses and potentially causing damage to a company’s reputation. This article explores the concept of data backup, why it’s so important and how successful companies do it.
What is data backup and why is it so important?
Data backup is the practice of copying data and saving it in a different location. As an additional safety measure, data should be backed up in more than one location (see the 3, 2, 1 Data Backup Rule of Thumb) and there should be a system for recovering it in the event of accidental deletion or corruption.
Having a backup ensures that critical information can be recovered if the primary data is lost or corrupted, which can happen all too easily – computer systems can crash without warning, employees can accidentally delete files, cyber criminals can steal data, or a natural disaster can destroy everything in an instant.
Data that has not been backed up can often not be recovered, so it’s crucial to have secure systems and procedures in place for both.
Common causes and implications of data loss
Data loss can occur as a result of a cyber attack, accidental deletion, human error, file corruption, and software or hardware failure.
According to Acronis’ Global Report 2021, a widespread lack of awareness is creating a lack of protection, with many businesses failing to take adequate measures to protect against data loss and theft. Out of the 4,400 IT users and professionals that were surveyed, a mere 13% of them were following backup best practices.
The report also found that while 90% of IT users perform backups, 73% have lost data at least once, suggesting a lack of knowledge of how to properly back up and recover data.
The same survey showed that 42% of organisations reported data loss resulting in downtime, and 41% reported losing productivity or money due to data inaccessibility.
The financial repercussions of downtime can be devastating, with Gartner estimating that every minute of downtime costs the business around €4,600 — and possibly even more.
Cyber security: risks and repercussions
Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common, with hackers employing more sophisticated techniques to gain access to data.
In 2020 the Ponemon Institute conducted a global cybersecurity risk report, and found that businesses were suffering more severe consequences as a result of cyberattacks during COVID-19.
Of those surveyed, 50% reported that their finances had been impacted, while 47% believed that cyberattacks were becoming more targeted. 58% of respondents reported that their organisations had experienced a compromise that damaged IT infrastructure or stole IT assets.
Data loss can have serious implications for any business, and many never recover — in fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that approximately 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster.
Companies can increase their chances of recovering after a loss by having a proper disaster recovery and continuity plan in place.
Tips for safely backing up your data
1. Establish what needs to be backed up
Successful companies have plans in place for dealing with unexpected events, such as security breaches, system failures and data loss. It can be difficult to know what to back up, but a good rule of thumb is this: if losing the data will affect the day-to-day running of the business in any way, then it should be backed up. Any files that have been created and/or modified should be backed up regularly, including emails, business transactions and correspondence.
2. Perform regular backups
Data should be backed up daily or at least weekly to minimise the extent of damage caused in the event of a data failure. Consistency is key, since backing up on a regular basis minimises the risk of losing large amounts of data.
3. Make multiple copies
Backing up data in more than one place provides businesses with an extra layer of protection, allowing systems and data to be restored in the event of a loss. Nowadays, it’s simply not enough to keep physical records — if the business premises is hit by a fire or flood, the data will be lost forever.
There are several options for safely backing up data, including USB sticks, external storage, a tape drive, the hard drive on a local system, and cloud-based storage. For maximum security and peace of mind, data should be backed up in more than one location.
Cloud-based storage is generally a good option for small businesses, as it makes the process of backing up data quick and easy. However, cloud services can be susceptible to data loss, so companies should still make occasional local backups.
4. Update operating systems frequently
Companies that do not keep their operating systems current are leaving themselves open to cyber attacks, since outdated OSes and applications lack the latest security patches and bug fixes that protect against attacks.
5. Choose a secure backup location
Companies that opt to keep data backups onsite must ensure that they are stored in a fire-proof, indestructible box. If this isn’t possible, then they should be stored in a secure offsite location.
As businesses continue to rely more heavily on data and digital systems, losses and disruptions have become more costly than ever before. Following best practices for backing up data is essential for business continuity, as is having a disaster recovery plan in place as part of an overall security strategy.
Companies must also ensure that they are taking adequate cyber security measures, especially since malicious attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and targeted.
At Calnet IT Solutions, we offer secure, cost-effective backup solutions and disaster recovery plans to suit every kind of business. To find out more, speak to one of our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +353 (0)1 818 3272 today.