WHY DATA BACKUP IS CRITICAL?
Former Executive Vice President of Gartner, the Stamford-based technology research firm, Peter Sondergaard, once said:
“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.”
Assuming that Sondergaard’s notion is accurate and that online information is such an invaluable commodity, then we should not take data backup lightly. In fact, having reliable data backup strategies and policies in place is one of the most important IT security controls that your business can have. And data backup isn’t only a preventative measure against cybercrime. People forget to backup, they make mistakes, accidents happen, cloud systems go offline and physical devices like SSDs and USBs stop working. Any of these things can result in data loss and, by extension, significant damage to your company. But this isn’t about fear-mongering. The aim here is to give you insight into the why, when and how of effective data backup.
DATA BACKUP STATS
Research conducted in 2020 by Acronis International, the Swiss global software firm, revealed that while 90% of companies are backing up data, only 41% do it on a daily basis. Also, of that 90%, an eye-opening 68% still lose data as a result of accidental deletion, hardware or software failure, or an out-of-date backup. If information is the oil that businesses thrive on, then securing and backing up data needs to be a #1 priority. Gaidar Magdanurov, the Chief Cyber Officer at Acronis says:
“Cyber protection in the digital world becomes the fifth basic human need. It is critical to proactively implement a cyber protection strategy that ensures the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security of all data, applications, and systems – whether you’re a home user, an IT professional, or an IT service provider.”
METHODS OF DATA BACKUP
There are a variety of types of data backup strategies each designed to tackle different issues, system vulnerabilities and storage needs. Here we consider the 3 main backup methods:
- Full – As the name implies, these are when all your selected files and folders are backed up. While it’s the most robust method, full backup takes time and usually requires a lot of storage.
- Differential – These are copies of all the files and folders created or modified since the previous full backup.
- Incremental – These are similar to differential backups but only cover the data that was modified after the last backup of any kind, either a full or differential backup.
While continuous backup is critical to keeping your business safe when selecting a backup method, you need to assess how much data you have, the capabilities of your IT network and exactly what you want your backups to achieve.
IS THE CLOUD A BETTER OPTION?
Deciding whether to back up your data onsite or in the cloud may prove to be a conundrum. Local backups are handy as you have them in the office. They are also easy to restore. The downside is that they are vulnerable to physical disasters such as fire and flooding. Devices such as external drives used for local backups can also shut down unexpectedly, get damaged or simply reach their end-of-life.
Is the cloud a better option? Some say it is because it offers superlative protection against natural disasters and theft. Another plus is that minimal human interaction is needed and with the data being replicated multiple times, there is less risk of data loss. On the downside, online backup services such as OneDrive or Google Drive are subscription-based and can be expensive. Also, when you initially backup data to the cloud, the process can take days or weeks, depending on the amount of data you have and your internet speed. Many businesses opt for hybrid backup, a convenient blend of local and online data replication.
DATA BACKUP BENEFITS
Besides the obvious benefits of protecting your data against cyberattacks, such as ransomware, and preventing data loss, regular backup also:
- reduces downtime – by having a backup readily available, you reduce the time spent trying to locate missing data.
- provides quick recovery – should your network become infected with a virus, you can restore from a snapshot taken just before the infection and exercise damage control. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine.
- facilitates archiving – many businesses, particularly those in the government, legal, financial and healthcare sectors, are required to keep data for many years. Backing up your data regularly does the job.
- supports regulatory compliance – by having an up-to-date backup, you can guarantee that any financial, accounting or other regulatory information will be available.
Most importantly, a backup will give you peace of mind. You won’t toss and turn at night worrying about what would happen to your business if your precious data got lost. Here are some wise words on data backup from Hylton Stewart, a cybersecurity expert:
“From a deleted business file to a company-wide ransomware infection that encrypts all files, having a backup solution in place and managed allows for the faster recovery of information and assets. It enables you to restore deleted files and rebuild critical servers in a fraction of the time it would take to start from scratch.”
LET ME GIVE YOU PEACE OF MIND
Still worried about your data backup strategies. Are you using the best method for your business? Are you backing up frequently enough? If you have any concerns, you can lay them to rest. With over 20 years of experience in professional business IT and specialising in cybersecurity and risk mitigation, I will help you implement the best data backup plan for your business. Your IT security and data backup will be inherent to your Business Continuity plan, just as they should be. Contact me today and get some peace of mind regarding probably your most precious business commodity.