Backup. We all know it’s important, but do we all take it seriously? Why do we need a data backup strategy, and what happens if it fails?
What’s your data worth?
Let’s start by thinking about your company data. The value of it. And by that I mean, what does it mean to your business? Your files, folders, documents, emails, contacts, financials, images, databases, calendars, customer information, orders… all of it. Now think about what would happen to your business if all of that disappeared. Would your business continue to run? Do you know how, and how quickly you could get that data back?
Is your data business critical? Does it carry a high value?
What are the risks?
So the chances of losing your data are pretty low, right? Well, we’d like to think so, but when you consider some of the threats, it would be dangerous to think it won’t ever happen to you…
- Accidental deletion
– Data corruption
– Viruses; ransomware is a big one here – read our blogs on Cryptolocker to find out why
– Hardware failure
Ok, so some of these risks are (hopefully) very low, but the number of customers that ring us up having fallen for a malware or phishing scam, downloaded viruses or simply overwritten data by accident proves that data loss can, and does, happen to anyone.
What should you do?
Well, it depends on your business needs. There is no “one size fits all” solution. But to point you in the right direction, you should aim to…
- Make copies of all your data regularly (at least once per day)
– Automate it (to remove the risk of human error)
– Keep the backup away from your main business premises (there’s no point keeping your backup on top of your server if your offices then burn down)
1) Best practice, would be to opt for a remote online backup solution. This automatically backs up your data to servers in a secondary location – usually those of your IT provider, and usually in a secure data centre. It means that you don’t need to remember to run the backup manually each day, and it means that your data is replicated away from your main business premises so if anything does happen to your offices or your on-site hardware, you have a second copy ready to be restored. And restoring from an online backup is quick, so you’ll be back up and running in good time.
2) Alternatively, you might prefer to backup to a physical storage device in your offices – a removable USB drive such as a NAS for example (the exact device would depend upon the amount of data you have), but you would need to remember to take this device home with you each night. And ideally, you should run the backup to multiple devices, so x2 NAS to reduce the risk of hardware failure (if your NAS fails, and then somebody downloads a virus that wipes all of your data, there would be no further options if you only have one NAS in place.) Data centres have multiple failover procedures in place so if you opt for a remote online solution as explained in option one, you don’t need to worry about this risk. You also need to think about your retention period here. Set it to a minimum of one week if possible. This means that your backup will only overwrite once a week, rather than every day. So if, for example, you lose part of your data on Tuesday (let’s say somebody accidentally deletes an important folder), it’s available for restore for one week rather than being overwritten the following day. This gives you more flexibility and greater peace of mind.
3) Then there’s the cloud. If your business is already using cloud computing, then in the majority of cases your data backup is already about as good as you’re ever going to get it. Office 365, which is Microsoft’s cloud computing offering, stores all of your data off-site on Microsoft servers, which are backed up multiple times across the globe from data centre to data centre. Microsoft offers a financially backed 99.9% SLA that your data will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
With cloud, none of your data is stored on-site in your offices. It completely removes the risks and in doing so provides you with a business continuity plan that protects you against everything from a problem with your offices, to a drop in your connectivity. Simply move to somewhere with an internet connection – emergency office space, your house, the local coffee shop – and it’s business as usual. Your data is there, accessible and as far as the customer is concerned, the transition is seamless.
If you have any questions about your data backup, why not get in touch?