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Are you backing up your Business Data?

by | Mar 29, 2022 | Backup

Despite the importance of digital data to any business, the vast majority of small businesses and charities do not have adequate backup and disaster recovery plans in place.

It is estimated that 60% of small businesses, who do not have a backup plan in place, will close within six months after experiencing a significant data loss.

Should the worst happen, you need to be confident that you can recover systems and data as quickly as possible, with minimum impact to your business and your clients.

What is Backup?

Backup in its simplest form is making a copy of the data on a computer and storing it in an external location.

Although the process can be be manual, it is usually a scheduled process to ensure backups are performed regularly and at the required frequency. These can be local backups; usually to disk or tape media or remote backups to a cloud (internet) based service.

However, an effective backup is not just a copy of your current data, but snapshots of your data at various points in time, so if necessary, you can recover data from one of those points in time. This is why online cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive cannot be considered a true backup; it is only a synchronisation of your current files – if you delete a file the corresponding file would also be deleted from the online cloud service.

Why Backup?

There are various reasons why you should be backing up your data, here are some of the most common scenarios:

Hardware failure

Despite the reliability of modern computers, they can still fail. If you only have a copy of critical files on your computer and the computer’s hard disk suffers a failure, all data could be lost.

Hardware loss

If your PC or laptop is stolen, or destroyed in a physical disaster, and you only have a copy of critical files on your computer, all data could be lost.

User error

This is one of the most common scenarios, you or your staff could accidentally delete or overwrite a critical file or email. This may not always be noticed straight away until that document is required at a later date. Disgruntled employees may also deliberately modify or delete data.

Cyber Attacks

Unfortunately, the risks are constantly growing from more sophisticated hackers, phishing scams, viruses, and ransomware, that may modify, delete, or lock your data.

Regulatory Requirements

Most businesses will have requirements to keep copies of records for legal reasons including accounting and compliance purposes. Relying on your computer for the only copy of these records is not adequate, should your computer fail.

Avoid downtime

With all the scenarios above, backup is critical to avoid downtime to your business. Any system downtime, or loss of access to your data, impacts how effectively you can run your business and service your clients.

Here is great short video from our backup partner Datto which explains why you should be backing up your cloud services such as Microsoft 365.

Where to backup?

The location to which you backup your data does depend on your backup requirements (see Disaster Recovery below), it can either be to local physical media (tape, disk, USB media), a local network device (server, Network Attached Storage) or an internet cloud service. Having a backup of your data off-site is important should your premises be affected by a disaster such as fire or flood.

When to backup?

Frequency of backup will again depend on your specific requirements but can be scheduled to any time interval i.e., hourly, daily, or weekly.

Disaster Recovery

Backup is a critical component of your Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan.

Your DR Plan identifies your critical systems and data and the processes to recover those systems and data should a disaster strike, such as a data breach or physical disaster (hardware failure, fire, flood etc).

Your DR Plan also identifies how you backup your systems and data and the frequency of those backups. This is determined by how long you can afford to be without your systems/data; Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and how much data you can afford to lose; Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

For example, a critical server may have a daily image backup so that, should the server fail, hardware can be re-imaged, and the server could be up and running in a relatively short time frame. A critical database system may have an hourly backup so that, if necessary, the data could be restored to the last hourly backup point, whereas a set of marketing files, that may not change that frequently, may only be backed up weekly.

All small businesses may have different backup requirements but they all should have a suitable Disaster Recovery Plan in place, should disaster strike.

Engage IT partner with Datto to provide a range of backup services from onsite server backup, to cloud backup for Microsoft 365 and Google G-Suite.

To find out how Engage IT can help implement a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan to meet your business requirements, contact us.

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Providing IT Services & IT Support for Small Businesses & Charities in Hampshire, Surrey & West Sussex.

Keeping IT simple, we engage with you to provide the right solutions for your business.

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