Steps to Protect Your Most Critical Business Assets on World Backup Day

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Click to learn more about author Jamie Zajac.

Have you ever thought of what you would do if your computer crashed or died? You may have hundreds of files on it ranging from the family vacation photos to taxes files to work documents. In an instant, it could be gone forever – unless you have backed up your data to another location.

The same issue impacts businesses of all sizes. Think about it: if a laptop crashes with the latest client presentation on it right before a meeting, what are you going to do? Data is the lifeblood of any organization, so it must be protected against loss or accidental deletion. This is especially critical with today’s remote workforce. Companies should have policies in place to ensure offsite employees have a secondary method for protecting data when outside of the office.

Today, we celebrate World Backup Day, a day to raise awareness around backups and data preservation. But while this is one day in time, there is a critical need to institute thoughtful and detailed data protection plans that operate year-round. The unknown will catch up with us, and cyber criminals are always looking for new ways to find and exploit our data. Companies must have a plan in place to keep their business operating and protect their digital footprint. All of that starts with a solid data backup strategy.

Backup Today, Tomorrow, and the Day After

Data backup is the first steppingstone to protect critical assets in an effort to rapidly respond to potential data loss and financial loss. Data backup covers all types of information and captures snapshots at periodic intervals allowing us to restore files, folders or full systems from a specific point in time to ensure business continuity.

Although changing quickly, small and medium businesses (SMBs) have historically prioritized more tangible business needs against those that “might happen.” For this World Backup Day, there are four steps SMBs can take to build a resilient data infrastructure.  

1. High availability options

Data is the most valuable asset for a company and when downtime strikes, the costs can be high. The starting point for any company should be knowing what data they have, where it lives and how critical for the company it is. With elements such as productivity levels, end user satisfaction and competitive positioning, organizations need to carefully choose the most critical data that always needs to be available versus what can wait a few hours or days to be restored.

High availability options will allow deployment of critical, time-sensitive operation for business continuity, ensuring organizations and every user has the data they need to succeed in a delicate situation.

2. The 3-2-1 golden rule

When examining your backup strategy, this rule ensures you’ll have a copy of your data no matter what happens.  Multiple copies at various locations leave no single point of failure.

  • Three copies of your data. Have an original copy and two backups, as the third copy gives you significantly better chances of retaining at least one copy in the odd event of losing the first two.
    • Two different storage types. The chances of two failures of the same storage type are greater than this happening to different types. For example, if you have data stored on an internal hard drive, make sure you have a secondary storage type, such as external or removable storage, or the cloud.
    • One copy offsite. If you already have two copies on two separate storage types but both are stored onsite, a local disaster could wipe out each. Keep a third copy in an offsite location, such as the cloud in a different geographic region.

3. Leveraging the cloud

The cloud can be a company’s best friend when it comes to data being stored offsite. While data centers are a great option, the cloud offers support for mixed IT environments with failover options across geographic regions.

Additionally, with so many people working remotely these days, we also need to think of new ways to maintain backups. Automated cloud data backup systems ensure day-to-day information is available and secures any work done offsite is saved. This will support seamless internal collaboration and minimize disruption.

4. Testing your environment

Any plan you put in action won’t be complete if you don’t test for any potential challenges and disaster scenarios. From servers not working for remote workers, or databases missing or the lack of encryption for files stored in different locations; a full-scale review will uncover those issues and help you take the correct steps to mitigate those before anything happens.

Going Beyond Your Backup

Data backup and protection is just one critical step to protecting a company’s infrastructure. Companies should have a fully flushed out business resiliency plan that cover all aspects of the IT network. A multi-layered approach that protects your users, devices and data will put you in the best position to recover from any threat. A plan should start with data backup, but it can’t stop there.

The business resilience plan should also address the potential of your organization being breached. So, once your backup plan is running smoothly think of all your other touch points, from detecting threats, preventing, protecting and remediating attacks on your data.  If you are doing everything you can to mitigate threats from breaching on the multiple layers of attacks, then you are putting yourself in the best possible scenario if and when anything in fact happens.

While mistakes, accidental deletions and laptop crashes will still occur, having a business resiliency plan and automated data backup plan in place will negate the majority of the pain. As the World Backup Day pledge goes: I too solemnly swear to back up my important documents and precious memories on March 31st and beyond!

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