Backup Your Business By Backing Up Your Data

 In Disaster Recovery, IT Planning

There are lots of reasons to backup your data: Disk drives fail. Compliance regulations require storing data for years. Devices become obsolete and you need to migrate to a new device. Employees work on laptops that get lost or stolen.

All of those reasons are valid, but they focus on protecting the data. The real reason to backup your data is to backup your business. A commonly quoted statistic is that 80 percent of companies that experience a major data loss for more than 24 hours go out of business.

It’s difficult to find proof of that, yet continuitycentral.com made a strong effort to track it down, and there’s no question that when you lose access to your data, your business shuts down at least temporarily. Rather than focusing on meeting customers’ needs and winning new business, you invest time and money to recover the data. Without a reliable backup and recovery process, information—and opportunities—may be lost forever.

Backing Up Is Hard to Do

Creating reliable, usable backups isn’t as easy as simply asking users to copy their files to another drive. Particularly as volumes of data grow, developing a robust backup process that runs efficiently becomes challenging. When you develop your backup strategy, consider the following:

1. Identify which files you want to back up

You may choose to back up all data, or you may decide to only backup files on shared servers, not on local C: drives. Users need to be aware of this so they can store data in the appropriate location. You may need to update your server inventory and make sure you don’t miss any necessary device.

2. Choose your backup method

Full backups copy everything, every time. Incremental backups copy only the changes. Restoring data is much quicker from a full backup than an incremental backup, but full backups take much longer to complete.

3. Decide your backup target

You can backup to another file server, to write-once read many media, or to the cloud. Backing up to local devices may be faster than backing up to the cloud, which requires moving large volumes of data over the internet. Cloud backup has the advantage that you don’t need to expand your storage farm to provide capacity in advance; the cloud provider can expand your capacity on demand.

4. Implement and test backup scripts

Relying on a manual backup process is a guarantee of failure. Automate the process so it runs routinely, and verify that it isn’t missing any drives. Make sure to schedule it during off hours to limit the impact on end users. Check that critical files aren’t being updated during the scheduled backup time to ensure they’ll be in a stable, usable state on the backup copy.

Related: Disaster Recovery Planning Requires More Than Scheduled Backups

5. Monitor backups for success

Backup drives can fail or run out of space; a file server that should be backed up might be inaccessible. Just because you tested your backup scripts and they succeeded doesn’t mean they’ll work right every time. Make sure you monitor the process and will be alerted if something goes wrong.

6. Test your restore process

Remember, the point of backing up data isn’t just to have a copy of the data. It’s to have a copy of the data that will let you resume business operations as quickly as possible. Make sure you know how you’ll get your backed up data off your backup storage into your production systems and any other steps you need to take to have your systems back in working order.

Because backups are so critical to keeping your company running, it’s important to make sure your backup process is reliable. The experts at Prescient Solutions can implement a backup process and provide the monitoring it needs to ensure you can recover your business in a crisis. Contact us for a free assessment and start backing up your business, not just your data.

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