Businesses all around the world are not only using technology more but are actually relying heavily upon this technology for practically every aspect of the day-to-day operation. What’s more, we’re storing much larger amounts of data, which means that the impact of loss has never been greater. This, coupled with the fact that US data breaches have hit an all-time high, means protecting valuable data is essential.
Here are some of the most common data loss causes:
Here are 5 must-do steps to creating an efficient, effective, and successful backup and restore plan for your valuable business data, working to minimize the risk of disaster and aiding a smooth recovery:
Step 1: Understand
It’s important to understand not just your business data, but also your environment. The first step is to ensure that your current infrastructure is designed to actually facilitate backup and recovery.
In terms of your data, spend a little time highlighting those systems that are determined to be ‘mission critical’ and plan for a backup solution that will allow this data to be quickly restored in case of emergency, Cloud solutions, for example, would often be a preferred option.
Step 2: Plan
Planning for your backup and restoration is essential. How will you achieve it? Automated backups are, of course, the preferred option in many cases. Automation ensures that that latest version of your important data is protected without the need for time-consuming manual input, and without the risk of human error. However, an important question to ask if how often your data will need to be backed up.
Backup frequency will largely depend on the value of your data in terms of day-to-day business processes, and the speed with which you will need to be able to restore this data to enable business continuity.
Step 3: Consider
It’s important to consider not just your backup processes and plans, but also disaster recovery as a whole. By considering disaster recovery, it is possible to create a comprehensive backup plan for protecting and restoring your data, your software, and any additional applications or systems that your business relies upon for day-to-day operations. One such consideration is software escrow.
Software escrow is a form of disaster recovery that protects you in case your critical software vendors have a disaster they can not recover from. You may have a great internal business disaster plan, but if a critical software vendor goes bankrupt your business operations may suffer. Software escrows help prevent this by storing your software vendor’s solution in escrow and releasing it to you only in disaster scenarios like the vendor going bankrupt. This allows your operations to continue even if outside vendors falter.
Step 4: Implement
There are a few aspects to take into consideration to ensure you’re ready, such as having the right team on board to manage all backup and restore operations, with the right experience and skill sets. For internal backup solutions, you’ll also need to make sure you have the necessary floor space, rack space, and cooling facilities, too.
When implementing your backup plan, it is always best to test the process within a controlled environment to prevent unnecessary changes being made to your integral systems.
Step 5: Monitor
All businesses are urged to remember that backing up important data is not a one-time thing. In fact, data backup is a constant, consistent, and ongoing part of business operations. It is often recommended that an internal audit is conducted quarterly at least, although it is better to audit and review upon any major changes to the business, such as increased size, larger client base, or greater storage needs.
Protecting your data
Loss of valuable data can happen for any number of reasons: theft, damage, supplier failure, and many more. What we don’t fully understand is the real-life impact that data loss could have on day-to-day operations. It’s important to take some time to consider what your data means to you, and to ensure that you have the necessary plans in place to protect your business.