When you hear about data disasters, you likely think about large corporations and businesses — not small to medium-sized companies. Unfortunately, it is this mentality that leaves many business owners unprepared.
The reality is, accidents can happen to any business.
When it comes to cyber-attacks, more and more small businesses are being targeted. The numbers of small businesses that have experienced a cyberattack rose from 55% in 2016 to 61% in 2017.
To defend your business against these attacks, you’ll need a foolproof strategy for your data backups.
What Should You Be Backing Up to Keep My Business Safe?
The above question is critical and in order to remain secure and competitive, you must take a proactive approach. Although you may not think about it on a day-to-day basis, if you were to lose your data today, how would that impact your business?
Whether you face a power outage or security breach, system and data backups can reduce overall downtime and protect your business long-term. This leads us to the most important question.
What should you back up?
3 Things to Back Up
Here’s a list of 3 things that are definitive must-haves in any backup strategies:
- Company personnel records — From employment taxes to payroll records, pension plans to employment applications, these are the types of files that need to be secure and readily available. Anything that relates to past and current employees should be backed up regularly — potentially daily, if there are that many changes made regularly.
- Administration documents — If you were to lose all of your sales and marketing information, as well as your business plans and all other administrative data today, think about how that would impact your business. To protect these critical documents, including any insurance policies, leases, patents, etc., it is recommended that you backup and store copies of this data both onsite and offsite.
- Financial data — If there is one main category that you should backup daily, it is your accounting records and financial information. Since you are likely completing daily transactions, you may even backup your data hourly. This will include everything from revenue to inventory records, bank statements to expense receipts. Remember, this information likely falls under some compliance regulations that you don’t want to breach.
By maintaining optimal record-keeping and backup practices, you can prevent a disaster before it occurs. Make a list of all of the critical data that you access on a day-to-day basis, as well as the type of data that you may only access month-to-month.
What is it that allows you to remain productive? What data gives you peace of mind?
Remember, you can always work with a data backup expert to ensure that nothing is ever left out.
Data Backup Best Practices for Businesses
Once you decide what it is you should backup, it’s important that you approach this critical step with confidence. Consider the 3-2-1 backup strategy.
You need a total of 3 copies of your data backups. 2 of them should be on-site backups (stored on different mediums), along with 1 off-site copy. You have the option to store your data on physical devices, the cloud, or ideally both.
Another important consideration is the overall security of your data. You may have lots of data backups, but that doesn’t mean that the information within is secure. Hackers, viruses, malware – all can significantly affect your business.
Once you develop a secure, effective backup strategy, make sure you test it. It may seem like a time-consuming step, but it’s extremely important. Finding out that your backups were not running properly after a disaster will not do you any good. Take the time to ensure that everything works as intended.
Tips for creating an effective backup strategy include:
- Maintaining both onsite and offsite backups. Although onsite backups tend to be recovered more rapidly, if the physical location is compromised (i.e. in the case of a fire), on offsite copy can be access either manually or via the cloud.
- Develop a system to ensure regular, timely backups. Once you create an organized schedule, maintain and update these systems over time based on your company’s evolving needs.
- Become familiar with key terms, such as your Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and your Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Also compare the benefits of various hardware, software, and cloud-based solutions.
Get Help with Your Data Backup Strategy
Modern businesses need a backup and disaster recovery plan. However, if you don’t know where to start, it can be an extremely daunting task.
If you need guidance on where to start, talk to the experts at Visual Edge IT. Our top quality data backup services let us assist you with building a plan that strategically fits within your budget and operational constraints.