Computer disasters can strike at any moment. Malware or viruses can attack your system, the hardware systems can fail, or a natural disaster can strike. Today more than ever, potential companies face numerous threats to their data in the form of breaches, outages, cyberattacks, and even natural disasters.
To avoid extensive losses and keep business running, teams must develop adequate backup strategies that safeguard against unexpected events. Here are a few guidelines to establish a solid data backup strategy.
1. Understanding the company’s Backup Needs
Before you can do anything, you must take note of your assets. There’s a lot to think through, so here are a few questions to consider:
What must data be kept safe?
As a business, you need to secure everything. You don’t want to lose something permanently and find out later that it is more important than you thought. What information do you need to restore immediately? Will you need to recover data? What information will be necessary for reinstating services for clients?
Are you prone to disasters?
Think about how easy it would be for your system to be at risk. Do you live in an area at risk for natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, or earthquakes? Beyond natural disasters, it’s also necessary to consider hackers. Have your computer systems ever been hacked before? Do your customers have to log in to your system to access applications or services?
What kind of backup infrastructure do you need?
Once you’ve determined your data risks, it’ll be easier to assess your backup infrastructure. For instance, if you live in an area with weather-related risks, it might be best to have an offsite backup solution. On the other hand, if you need to recover data quickly, an onsite physical backup could come in handy during an internet outage. And a remote cloud disaster recovery site could help you get back online as if nothing ever happened. No matter what you choose, having a backup infrastructure will help you stay online without losing money.
How much storage do you need?
Data adds up quickly, so you need to determine how much data you will store and how long you’ll want that data kept on file. If you need to store most of your data long-term, you’ll need plenty of space. One thing to keep in mind is what regulations your company has to follow – many have storage requirements that you’ll need to know and follow.
2. Figure Out the Best Backup Strategy
Once you know your backup needs, you need to determine which options are available to you.
Here are some common solutions:
1. Hardware solutions – With a hardware backup, you keep a hard drive onsite. Hard drives are easy to attach to your network, but you’ll lose the data if they fail. As a result, many companies have multiple backup systems in place.
2. Software solutions – Software solutions are typically installed directly on your system. You might not need a separate server for it, or you might need to install it on a virtual machine. Backup software is often less expensive than a hardware solution and can keep up if your infrastructure changes frequently.
3. Cloud solutions – Cloud services are, essentially, offsite backups. You’ll be able to run the backup and store it in your vendor’s cloud. Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS), another name for this solution, is secure and affordable. The drawback is that companies that house sensitive data may not be able – or allowed via regulations – to use it.
4. Hybrid solutions – Some companies choose to combine physical and cloud solutions to store their data. Hybrid services allow you to have an onsite backup for quick recovery and keep data in the cloud should anything happen onsite.
Once you understand which solution is best for you, you’ll need to determine where to store your backups.
3. Create a Budget
As with anything in your business, you need to set a budget. Some backup options are pricier than others. For example, new hardware will be expensive, while cloud solutions will be more affordable and scalable. Backup-as-a-Service options often allow you to pay monthly instead of up-front, which might be easier on your company’s wallet. Consider the maximum amount you want to spend on backup expenses, and don’t forget training costs if you need someone in your company to manage the backup.
4. Choose Your Backup Platform
Now that you’ve determined your budget, you can choose which platform solution will work best. Since you’ve already evaluated what’s on the market, you might already know what you want or if you’d prefer multiple options. For example, a cloud backup might be ideal if you know you’ll have an internet connection if a disaster occurs. You’ll be able to access your data almost anywhere. But if you need a more comprehensive solution for sensitive data, you might not want to rely on the cloud. Regulations might even prevent you from using the cloud due to the security needs of your industry. Instead, you might want a physical offsite backup option if your office is damaged.
5. Select a Vendor to Assist With Your Backup
Choosing a vendor isn’t always easy. For example, you might want a vendor who can provide all your backup and security services, or maybe you prefer to pick and choose vendors for various needs. And some companies provide training for your employees, which could be helpful should you choose an option where your team is maintaining the system.
6. Implement a Data Backup Plan
After selecting a backup platform, consider your company’s role in implementing the strategy. Vendors take considerably different approaches to help new customers adopt and deploy their solutions successfully. Consider a solution that allows you to get up and run immediately, with no extra costs, and a support team that can help you should you need it.
7. Test the Data Backup Plan
Once you’ve outlined and defined a backup plan, you need to test it to verify that it works. Run tests daily to equip yourself to manage different data loss scenarios confidently.
No business is immune from the risk of losing access to its data and applications. However, a strong data backup plan can help assure that a loss is a minor and temporary problem, restoring your business operations quickly.
We at SPARK can help you start creating a plan that can protect your business from various potential disasters. For more information on our potential services, connect with us today!