Often, the significance of backing up your company’s data is diminished by the hundreds of other things you must do as a small business owner to simply keep the company running day-to-day. Unfortunately, what most small business owners fail to realize is that the lack of an adequate data backup can cause the doors of a business to close more often than you’d think. For this reason, it is crucial that every company has at least one efficient and effective method of data backup in place.
What makes a data backup “good?”
First and foremost, the process should be automated, meaning it doesn’t add another item to someone’s “to-do” list. Therefore, it cannot be forgotten. If a backup isn’t up to date, a backup is no good.
Another important aspect of an effective data backup is security. All data should be secured with a method of two-factor authentication and/or encrypted with a password in order to protect all the critical data stored within. Your backed-up data should also be stored in a different location than your primary data, and on a different network. Back-ups stored in the same location as the primary source are subject to the same dangers of device failure or ransomware, which could potentially leave you without both sources of data.
Last but not least, your backed-up data and your back-up process should be audited. You should be able to walk through the entire back-up and recovery process, know exactly how it works and how long it takes to get your business back up and running. If you do not know what you would do to completely restore your data if catastrophe strikes, your backup plan is not complete.
There are many different ways to back-up data, ranging from cloud-based solutions to software. In order to know which one is the best fit for your company, it is important to understand the benefits of each, as well as where they fall short.
One of the most common methods for backing up data is using cloud-based services. Cloud-based solutions are easy to use and reasonably priced. If you choose to use a cloud-based service, make sure you opt for the small business support option. Don’t “cheap-out” and go with the consumer-based product. You’ll be glad you did when you need support and are able to get in touch with an actual human and not an automated system.
Hardware backups are always an option when considering a backup solution for your company. Hardware, such as a hard drive, connects easily to your network, making the backup process very simple and straightforward. However, trusting the hardware alone runs the risk of losing everything if the device were to fail. Consequently, most people tend to use a combination of hardware and software or cloud solutions.
There are many different backup software solutions available as an alternative method of backing up data. Software solutions are often a bit cheaper than other options but will most likely require you to install the software on a virtual machine, which is essentially an electronic version of a computer.
Another option for a data back-up is a mixture of hardware and cloud services. This and other hybrid methods work in sync with your hard drive to schedule automated backups of the data stored on the drive. This data is encrypted as it is backed up in order to keep your data secure. Users then have the ability to restore the backed-up data at any time in the event that their primary data storage method is compromised or lost.
In the case that a reactionary measure becomes the default method of “back-up,” a professional data recovery company is the place to turn. These companies have the ability to recover data from a wide variety of data loss scenarios. Whether it be ransomware, or simply the lack of a backup altogether, they can help.
Chances are a disaster is not going to strike the day after you implement your data backup process when it is fresh in your mind. So how will you remember all of this?
A data-related disaster is most likely going to occur months or even years down the road. A detailed, actionable internal document that lays out the entire recovery process from start to finish, including any account numbers, usernames, or passwords, is necessary to have on hand. An important element of this document is a list of vendors you can call if you need professional data recovery help. This will save you from scrambling to find one in the midst of a crisis. As mentioned earlier, finding a data recovery company that is fully equipped to help in the event of complete data loss or plan failure is vital. Learning more about how to create a data recovery plan is also important.
Think about all the data that you alone create that pertains to your company each and every day. Whether it be remotely from your phone or laptop, or from your desktop, all of that data is important to your company. Now think about how devastating it would be to your company if you were to lose that data. Without a proper backup plan in place, the chances of this happening are more likely than not. Do yourself and your company a favor and get a data backup plan in place today.
This article originally ran in Today’s Cybersecurity Leader, a monthly cybersecurity-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security Magazine. Subscribe here.