Data backups are the backbone of an effective disaster recovery plan. Without a comprehensive data backup plan to protect organizational data in a disaster, you stand to lose hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. The good news is that this is easily preventable. In this post, we’ll review the steps and processes to securing your data through enterprise data backups.
If you run an enterprise business, your data is under constant threat. Natural disasters and cyberattacks can wipe out all the data your business needs to function in seconds.
For this reason, the stakes of protecting your data are high. Roughly 40-60% of unprepared midsize business that experience a disaster go out of business. On the cybersecurity side, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. And the more records your business has, the greater the scale of the damages. Between the costs of lost records and the destructive effect of downtime, the price of losing data is enormous.
Despite these high stakes, not backing up company data is still one of the biggest disaster recovery planning mistakes enterprises make.
Fortunately, data backup solutions are more accessible and cost-effective than ever. A comprehensive solution can protect your data from a range of natural disasters and cyberattacks. With a comprehensive backup recovery plan in place, you are better prepared for the unexpected.
What should your data backup solution look like? Let’s look at key elements to consider: the right backup strategies, backup frequency and having a tested plan for recovering the backed-up data.
Types of Backup Strategies
A data backup strategy should be based on the threats you’re trying to mitigate. Having the right strategy in place means having a solution that allows your business to get back up and running in minutes, not weeks.
But before you jump onto the cloud, you first need to make sure your backup strategy contains two critical features: redundancy and security.
Redundancy means backing up your data in more than one way and location. A backup that is redundant in both method and location ensures that no single point of failure can destroy your data. What does this look like in practice? Let’s say your business is in an area prone to flooding. If you were to back up your computers to a physical hard drive onsite, you wouldn’t accomplish much, because the flood would destroy the data. A better approach would be to store a secondary backup copy off-site at a different location than the source data.
Backing up your data is advantageous because it protects your most sensitive and mission-critical information. But if you’re putting this data somewhere other than your own servers, you better make sure it’s secure. A secure enterprise data backup will protect your data from disasters and other threats. It is important to encrypt data before it’s sent to a backup server and disconnect it from the network so threats, like ransomware, can’t compromise your information.
Before implementing a backup, you’ll need to identify how frequently the backup takes place. The RPO (Recovery Point Objective) is an essential metric that identifies the age of files that the backup needs to recover. RPO defines the frequency of the backup and how much data could be lost between backup intervals.
Your backup frequency could be hourly, daily, weekly or continuous. However, the longer the interval between backups, the more vulnerable your data is. Because of this, data should be backed up as frequently as needed to ensure any data loss is manageable.
Whichever approach and frequency you choose, it’s worth looking into where your backups are being stored. If you decide to back up your data on the cloud through a vendor, investigate where their facilities are and how they store your information. This will ensure that you’re not partnering with a company that operates with inadequate facilities for redundancy or with facilities in locations that are vulnerable to the same natural disasters you’re trying to protect yourself against.
Data backups are only half the solution. If you’re backing data up, you need to have a plan in place for data recovery. Backed up data isn’t worth much if you can’t recover it.
Similarly, the day you lose your essential data in a hurricane or cyberattack shouldn’t be the first time you make sure your recovery plan works. In addition to creating uncertainty about whether your backup solution is working, not testing the data recovery process means it will take you more time to get back up and running should a disaster occur.
Fortunately, the solution to this problem is straightforward: test your backups and recovery process regularly. Periodically accessing your backups and restoring a virtual environment will ensure confidence your method is “tried and test” should a disaster strike.
Things to Consider When Selecting an Enterprise Data Backup Solution
There are a lot of data backup providers and solutions out there, each with their own features and offerings. But a data backup plan is a long-term commitment. For it to be effective for your business, it needs to be something you can consistently maintain for years.
To do this, you’ll need a solution that meets the requirements for your operations while staying cost-effective with a minimized impact on your network and personnel. Here’s a few questions that can make finding the solution easier:
- How long do you need to hold onto old, backed up files?
- How frequently do you need to back up for an acceptable data loss?
- How does the data backup provider ensure the security of your data?
- How quickly do you need to recover lost data?
- Who is responsible for managing the data backup strategy and upkeep? Can your team handle this internally, or should you outsource to a managed service provider?
Implementing a Data Backup: DIY vs. Managed
Like any IT initiative, a new data backup program will require a team to manage it. To deploy a secure and reliable data backup, you’ll need someone to implement, monitor and manage the solution. When it comes to management, most businesses have two choices: in-house IT (DIY) or outsourced MSP (Managed).
Organizations that take a DIY approach to data backups typically partner with a third-party provider of a data backup solution but will handle the day-to-day tasks of running the solution, such as daily backup production, testing and recovery.
But safeguarding organizational data is a 24/7/365 job, making it a labor-intensive responsibility that few businesses have the time or interest to take on. Because of this, many businesses turn to a managed data backup provider to outsource the all-day-every-day responsibilities and procedural testing of securing their data. By partnering with an MSP, businesses can deploy an effective and cost-efficient data backup solution while saving their in-house team time and energy.
The stakes of protecting your data have never been higher. Fortunately, businesses of every size have more options than ever before.