The Importance of a Reliable Backup
It may come as a surprise to you that although a lot of us know that we need consistent backups, the truth is that many of us, if not most of us, don't have them. Having a reliable backup can save you a lot of headache and stress. Here are some of the most common reasons why it is so important to perform these backups consistently:
- Malware or Ransomware: Ransomware is a malicious software from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid to restore the data. Typically if the ransom in not paid within a certain timeframe, the victim is at risk of losing the data forever. Of course, there is also no guarantee that the data will be restored by the cybercriminal. Check out Philip Betbeze's article about a hospital that was attacked with ransomware.
- Human Error: Human error is one of the top reasons that reliable backups are so important to businesses. We have all made a mistake and have deleted a file or wrote over a document. It’s ok to admit it, everyone has done it at one time or another. Luckily you had a backup of the file. Just imagine how damaging it might have been without this backup. You would have lost time and money trying to recreate the document. Having a good back up with versioning will allow you to get back to the last saved version of the document and make edits as if you never lost it.
- Hard Disk Crash: MTBF (mean-time between failures) has improved for all accessories in recent years. However, there is also data that can be lost when a hard drive crashes. The problem is that you won’t notice the mistake until it is too late. Just like with Murphy's Law, the loss will happen at the worst possible moment. The backup system provides instant and automatic defense against unpredictable disk errors.
- Protect Against Viruses and Preventing Spyware: Some unscrupulous people write viruses that are hidden in innocent messages, files and programs. After unknowingly downloading them, they will further harm your system, causing errors, breaks and potential loss of information. When setup properly, a dependable backup system can recover and restore lost data due to virus infection.
- Uncontrollable Events: Natural disasters and human disasters can be devastating for any business. Examples of natural disasters can be fire, flood, lightning strikes and even theft. How will your business recover after such an event? According to current data, many businesses still aren’t proactively backing up their business-critical data. A backup system protects your data from such natural disasters. In addition to the daily backup, additional weekly backups should also be planned. When you have a backup solution, your data will be fully recoverable after experiencing a disaster, which can make the difference between business as usual and filing bankruptcy.
When It Comes to Backup, Reliability Is Key
When configuring the backups of your business-critical data, you should always take into account reliability and recoverability. It is critical that you have a reliable backup system that you can trust. If there is a problem and you need to recover data from the previous recovery point, you want to be absolutely sure that the backup is synchronized.
Backup Locally and Off Site
You back up your data to recover it when the server or systems have gone down or are unavailable. What would you do if your backup fails?
You may want to consider backing up the server to a local network drive. This way you have a local copy of the backup which is faster and easier to manage and to recover important data when your backup is stored locally.
Suppose your local backup fails? By having an off-site or a cloud back up in addition to your local back up, the odds of you losing data are significantly reduced so you are going to be just fine. Your data will be fully recoverable, and, in some cases, you may even be able to access the data so you can continue working from the off-site backup while your data gets restored locally.
Allowing local and cloud backup systems to communicate with each other adds a redundant layer of data recovery protection.
Verification of a Reliable Backup
You simply must test reliability of your backup system. Your backup confirmation does not guarantee that everything is fine. When testing a backup for the first time, we recommend that you first rebuild the backup in a test environment (for example, on a stand-alone server or in quarantine). This way, recovery will not affect the active database if the backup is incorrect.
How to Choose a Backup Solution
When choosing a reliable backup system, consider these 4 things:
- Your Company’s Needs: How quickly do you need the data back? Can your business survive for a week without its data? Is the data for your business mission-critical?
- Cost: How much can you afford to invest in your data back up? Many people will say whatever it takes but come on, there is always a number. Remember that spending more may not always be the right solution for your business. Think about your company’s needs when looking at the cost of your backup solution. Consider how much your downtime is worth to you.
- Security: Data security should probably be the number 1 factor, but we know you need to have a company first, so we have put Security at number 3 on this list. When looking at a backup solution make sure that the backups are encrypted. Many times, cloud backup solutions are backed up to redundant data centers. You may also want to look at a solution that provides this offering. Also, if you are in a compliance-regulated industry, like finance or healthcare, security plays a vital role with backing up and storing data. Make sure that your provider has HIPAA or Sarbanes Oxley compliant data centers.
- Reputation: The reputation of the service provider, like Blue Ridge Technology and their backup vendor should also be a factor when choosing a backup solution. Don’t just pick at random, take your time and vet the service provider and their solution to make sure it works for your business, it fits your budget and offers the proper security.
Some Final Thoughts
Before you perform software updates to your computer or server, do a full backup. By doing a full backup of the machine, it will allow you to recover the data in case of a corrupt update.
When scheduling the backup program, create a compressed file in a separate file folder from the original backup. This allows the ability for the backup to be automatically copied to removable media. Many backup systems can be automated for nightly backups.
Create multiple backup sets, daily, weekly and monthly for easier recovery.
Keep and store the replacement equipment (spare computers and laptops) in a safe place. This will allow for quicker turnaround for failed hardware due to viruses and lost data.
Check the backup files regularly to make sure the backup system is running and have a documented data recovery process.
Do not overwrite the latest backup.
Note: Other files that you may want to have backed up are:
- Financial Data
- Report Templates
- Scanned Documents
- Internal Program Files
- Employee Data
Blue Ridge Technology can make sure your business’s data can be recovered and restored if disaster strikes. Let us help you have peace of mind by providing full managed reliable backup data services that can be tailored to your company’s unique needs and budget. Get in touch with us today!