The Importance of Back Up
Where would your business be without its data? As the building blocks of any organisation, data is unquestionably integral. Hence why making sure it’s backed up properly should be an essential part of any company’s business continuity plan. At Stripe OLT, we often talk about the loss of data from a cyber-security perspective, however it’s also important to recognise that data loss is also caused by hardware failure and human error. Backing up your data is not only a good idea, it’s a key requirement in a robust disaster recovery plan.
“80% of companies that suffer data loss fail within a year”. You’ve probably heard that statistic, or a variation on it, so many times you’ve lost count – we know we have. It turns out that no one really knows where it comes from – it’s a bit of an urban myth.
So, instead of recycling dodgy statistics, here’s what we think are the essential and definitely true things you ought to know about backing up your data.
Backup is well worth the money
As your business grows, so does the importance of data backup. The cost of having to down tools becomes more significant as your assets increase. Realistically, how much work could your staff do without access to their files, and how much would it cost you if they couldn’t work? And how many of your clients would be happy with you losing their personal data? With the introduction of GDPR in 2018, the loss of this data has become detrimental to your business… When you look at the potential risks versus the benefits, the value of backing up your data is unquestionable.
Data loss or hardware loss?
There are many ways in which companies lose data, ranging from human error or cyber-attacks, to the theft of computers or major incidents affecting their premises. Scenarios we see frequently include:
- A user deleting or overwriting files accidentally.
- A piece of hardware failing, such as a server.
- A disaster, such as a fire or flood, destroying both hardware and local backups.
These three scenarios require two different solutions, which we recommend running simultaneously.
On–site backup for deletion, overwriting and hardware failure
For retrieving older versions of a file, backing up continuously to storage held on site means that you can very quickly access the data from the point before the deletion happened. Operating systems such as Windows 10 offer this as a built-in feature, so it needn’t be an expensive solution.
Because you’re backing up multiple time-stamped versions of your data, this takes a lot of storage space. The size of the storage you need depends on how far back you would like to be able to go – if you think data losses would be spotted quickly, then you don’t need such a large storage facility. Keeping it on-site makes it easy to access and is more cost-effective for large amounts of data.
You can also use your local backup to deal with hardware issues such as server failures quickly.
Offsite backup for disaster recovery
Floods, fires and other disasters can wipe out both your servers and your local backups at once – and that’s where offsite backup comes in. Offsite backup copies your data to a storage facility, where it is replicated across a number of groups of machines at different locations. This means if one of the backup servers, or server groups, or even a whole data centre is destroyed, your data will still exist.
This is where cloud technology comes in. Organisations of any size should be implementing a robust disaster recovery plan – something made much easier through cloud computing. Put simply, cloud computing means that your collected data is processed and stored by cloud (remote) servers meaning that not only is the memory of individual devices is freed up, but users can also securely access cloud services through their device.
Why does this matter in disaster recovery we hear you ask? Well, not only is cloud storage essential from a cyber security perspective due to the storage providers implementing security measures such as authentication, access control and encryption, but it also protects against emergency scenarios, whether that be a natural disaster or power failure. Having your data stored in the cloud means that it is always available. So, even if something happens to your work computer, your data remains accessible from any device with an internet connection. Through implementing a cloud-based infrastructure, your business can significantly reduce issues that come from relying solely on an onsite framework.
Test your backup
You might be feeling pretty good right now, because you’ve already got your data all backed up. When was the last time you tested it? Don’t let your backup solution’s first test be the day you really need it to work.
And do you know what to do if you need to access it? For example, many companies have on-site backup, but no idea how to retrieve information from it, leading to delays in getting back up and running or accessing deleted files.
Similarly, if your hardware fails, your local backup will save your bacon, but do you have a spare server ready to go, or a plan for how you will get one up and running swiftly? If not, you’re going to lose significant amounts of time replacing your hardware before you can use your backed-up data. Read about how we helped our client Target Media recover from a flood to see just how important this is.
Finally, in a disaster situation, who in your company knows how to access the offsite backup? If your office has been destroyed by fire or flood, you may no longer have access to records, passwords or logins stored in that office, so it’s important to think about who should have that information and where.
Disaster Recovery Plan
This leads us on to talking about your disaster recovery plan. Having a disaster recovery plan is arguably just as important as backing up the data in the first place, especially if you want to ensure the fastest revival time. It is vital that there is a plan for each system and service in place – some might require technical solutions whilst others involve people and processes. When a crucial system goes down, knowing the what to do, who will do it, and where the backup data is stored means your business will be up and running again in the fastest possible time! If you’re a business that relies on technology to any extent, then take a look at our Back Up and Disaster Recovery Service Sheet to see how we can help plan and document your disaster recovery processes.
Want to talk to us about your backup? Either give us a call or fill in the form below.