In the digital age, everything revolves around data. In business applications, a loss of data will cost you time and money, customers, lawsuits, and even your entire business. This is not mere conjecture: it is fact! For this reason, we employ backups of our data to keep operations running smoothly always.
In this post, we shall delve into which data should have a backup and why. We shall debunk several myths people have about their data backup. Lastly, we shall identify best practices for data backup.
Why Does Data Backup Matter?
Simply put, Data Backup is a copy of sensitive and central data stored in a secured location. As new data comes in, it should be backed up immediately. If the original data is lost or corrupted, all is not lost and your business can continue its everyday business.
Why might data ever get lost or corrupted? Nowadays, it is cyber warfare and hackers that induce attacks on data systems. These attacks account for 47% of all data loss events. Human error clocks in at nearly a third, with 29%. Finally, the remaining quarter of events is systematic error or glitch. With a 400 percent increase in data loss events since 2012, data backup has never been more important.
Ponemon Institute LLC conducted a study covering 413 companies in 13 countries. What they found was mind-numbing: these companies suffered average total costs $3.62 million dollars when data was lost or corrupted. Furthermore, on average each breached customer account or individual file cost them about $141 in total.
2017 Per capita cost of data breach compared to last 4-year average
According to Gartner’s research, nearly 43 percent of all businesses would fail immediately if they lost all of their data. With such a catastrophic event, these businesses would lose their electronic invoices and email records. Client accounts, contract status, the accounts payable, all out the door. Marketing, sales, and commission plans would exist only on paper schematics. Human Resources and the payroll department would be paralyzed. The kind of trouble only deep pockets can save you from.
None of that is of our concern, however, provided our data is backed up. So let’s take a look at what data should be backed up.
What Should You Backup?
Let us consider what kind of data should be a priority for backup. To begin with, you absolutely need to backup the backup. For instance, business websites should secure at least 2 copies of contents, databases, and emails.
In general, operating systems can be easily replaced and may not need backup. Same goes for most software programs. The only caveat exists when you are using customized settings. In that case, take a storage snapshot at the moment that the settings were customized. It serves as the default state for the program to return to after a system crash or system file corruption.
As we continue, let’s debunk the myths about data backup with some cold facts featured in the following infographic.
Infographics: Myths Vs Facts About Backup
Whether it’s human error or a malicious software attack, data backup is the best response to mitigate the fallout of data breach.
Best Backup Practices
- Choose a Backup Storage & Backup Location
- Choose a Reliable Backup Automation System
- Secure Multiple Backup Copies
- Set an Appropriate Backup Frequency
- Test Your Backup
#1. Choose A Backup Storage & Backup Location
Be sure to keep your actual data and its backups on a different server. In the event of a server crash, your backup is worthless if it is right beside your data. Therefore, store your backup offsite.
A perhaps more obvious upside to storing your backup offsite is that it is safe from hardware failure that may affect your primary data.
The most commonly used backup service provider is Sucuri Backup Service. Within Content Management services like WordPress, backup plugins are a sure way to secure your data.
#2. Choose A Reliable Backup Automation System
It is of paramount importance to have automated backups. Manual systems leave huge margins for human error.
Automated backups can not only provide insulation from human error, but flexibility and consistency with the details of the backup.
An example of this flexibility can be observed in the ability to set multiple recovery points, so there are more options of which default state to restore the system to. A great example of this is CDP Backup service.
#3. Secure Multiple Backup Copies
Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy. It cannot be overstated enough: always secure secondary and tertiary copies of the backup.
It is not a question of being overzealous. Given the stakes and cost of what happens without a backup, It is an incredibly simple yet effective measure against data loss or breach.
#4. Set an Appropriate Backup Frequency
Given your business and its digital expanse, the amount of times you’ll want to run a backup will vary. It is critical to identify that ideal frequency that minimizes risk without causing too much inconvenience to business as usual.
Let’s compare two very different situations. On one hand we have an online art gallery that mostly collects revenue in the form of ad-buys. Because the site has a simple and static layout, it makes more sense to do weekly backups. An E-commerce site on the other hand, with many transactions every day, would demand a daily or even hourly backup frequency.
#5. Test Your Backup
An untested backup is about as useful as a parachute with a hole in it. Be sure to run tests on your backup. Create a testing site if you have to. Try to restore the backup. Once your backup has successfully restored your system, you can breathe easy.
Just like any other administrative task, if managed inefficiently data backup can seem like a huge waste of time. That is why one of the main takeaways from this piece should be to identify the appropriate frequency for your needs.
In discussing recent studies on data breach and common myths vs facts about data backup, we saw how costly it can be not to backup data. After, we reviewed best practices for managing data backup.
Finally, questions, concerns, or your own stories about data backup can be added comments section below.