How valuable is your business’s data? Can you operate without it? Does your backup strategy reflect the value of your data?
Data loss can come in many forms. The most common is accidental deletion of files. Other common reasons for data loss include fire, theft, hardware failure, software corruption, viruses and malware, and employee sabotage.
Are your prepared for a loss of your critical data?
According to a University of Texas study, 43% of businesses that experience catastrophic data loss never reopen; 51% close within 2 years. Approximately, 93% of businesses that are without their data for 10 days or more file for bankruptcy within a year.
Data loss is all but inevitable. It is not difficult, or even expensive, in the grand scheme of things, to protect against the potential losses of critical data. The answer is to have a backup and disaster recovery plan (sometimes referred to as a continuity plan).
There are two methods of data backup that should be employed. The first is to have a local copy of your data. Performing a backup to either an external hard drive or network attached storage protects against the most common data losses – accidental deletion, hardware failure, and malware.
The second stage is to have an offsite backup. This consists of copying your backup to another physical site. This can be another branch office or the cloud. Offsite protects against losses from fire, flood, or other localized disasters.
Simply having a backup, however, is not enough. Only about one third of all businesses test their backups. Of those, ¾ have found failures. Just like your data, your backups can become corrupted, so it is important to test your backup on a regular basis.
What should you watch for when looking for a backup solution? That depends largely on the needs of your business, but here are some suggestions:
- How often does backup occur? If your backup happens once per night and data loss occurs near the end of the day, is it acceptable to lose a day’s worth of work?
- Is the backup local, offsite, or both?
- How long of a backup history is kept? If a file is overwritten and then backed up, will your backup solution have the ability to recover the original file, or does it only keep the latest copy?
- If the backup is offsite, how is the data protected? Is it encrypted to prevent interception of data?
- How do you know the backup is working? Will you be alerted if the backup fails?
One final thought. In the event that your business suffers a catastrophic data loss, such as fire or flood, resulting in the loss of your server, you will need to be able to recover your data to another device from which you can access it. You should seek a backup solution that allows you to restore data to another server, preferably without having to invest in the time and money required for setting everything up from scratch.