How Effective is Your Effective Data Backup Strategy?

The unfortunate reality is this: cybersecurity threats are not going to disappear any time soon. It seems that every day there is a news story about a significant data breach or some big company experiencing a malicious ransomware attack.

Instead of sitting and waiting for what feels like an inevitable attack, there are steps you can take to protect your data.

One of the most significant things you can do to protect your data and operations from outside attacks, insider threats, and even natural disasters or prolonged power outages is to create an effective data backup strategy.

To help plan your own cloud backup strategy, we’ve laid out some steps you can take to ensure the safety and security of your data and allow you to get up and running again should disaster strike.

Key Things to Include in Your Data Backup Strategy

If your online data backup strategy does not properly meet your business needs or industry standards, is it really that effective? Of course not! While these items may not be applicable to all businesses, they are worth the consideration.

Here are some key factors to keep in mind before you reach out to a backup service and begin planning your strategy:

Consistency

To be most effective, your backup should be run at regular intervals of time. How you schedule these backups will depend on the data you are choosing to back up and how frequently it is changed. It may not be necessary to back up all your data at each interval. Backing up only changed data will be more efficient and allow you to run a backup more frequently. Disaster recovery is far more effective if you have the most recent data stored in your cloud backup.

Inclusiveness & Scalability

An effective cloud backup strategy should include your current assets and the assets you may acquire in the future. Think about covering things like workstations, connected devices, and any SaaS that is in use like Microsoft Office 365.

It is important to make sure that your data backup is scalable. This means that it should not only cover essential systems, servers, and users but also distributed endpoints and applications.

Security

Any plan or backup service you choose should be fully secure. This means that your data should only be accessible for a select number of people and should be handled in a way that keeps it safe from outsider threats or damage to the server. Look for a cloud backup service that has servers located within Canada. Doing so will ensure that your data is stored in compliance with local legislation and protected from interception from international governments.

5 Steps for Creating an Effective Data Backup Strategy

Now that you know what to keep in mind when creating a backup strategy, it is time to take a look at how you can go about setting up and implementing a data backup strategy.

     1. Plan for Change

When creating your backup strategy, you need to create a system that will work as your business changes and grows. At this moment, you might have 10 workstations attached to your network that you are backing up. But what happens if another connected device or machine enters the environment. How will you ensure that it is being backed up appropriately? 

Make sure that you have protocols in place that will guarantee that any additions to your networks are properly secured and backed up. If you have the internal resources, designate one employee to be this task or establish connection or onboarding protocols to make sure that nothing is missed. 

The loss of any critical data can prevent you from getting back up and running in a timely manner so you do not want to leave anything left to chance.

     2. Determine Data Backup Frequency

Understanding your recovery point objective (RPO) will enable you to determine the necessary frequency of your data backups. The more frequently you back up your data, the more current it will be if restoration is necessary. 

Your first backup should be a full back up. But after that, to be most efficient, you would typically perform a back up at least once every 24 hours. This will ensure that any changes or additions made will be a part of your cloud backup. 

     3. Determine What Data Needs to Be Backed Up

As mentioned above, it is likely unnecessary to backup all of your data, all of the time. First, identify the data that is critical and essential for restoring operations. To do this, you need to calculate your Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The RTO is the maximum acceptable length of time required for a business or organization to recover lost data and get back up and running. 

Once you’ve calculated your RTO, you can divide data into three categories: 

  1. Existential-critical: data necessary for the business to survive
  2. Mission-critical: data necessary for the business to operate
  3. Optimal for performance: necessary for the business to thrive

After the data has been sorted into these categories, you can then layer your security and better plan your data backup strategy.

     4. Identify Data Backup Solution

You’ve sorted your data to determine the necessary frequency and layers of your back up, now you need to find the right solution for you. 

Look for a cloud backup service that provides you with the flexibility you need to meet your specific business needs. There is no one size fits all backup solution! 

Features you will want to consider when exploring options are: 

  1. The ability to set automatic backups and/or on-demand backups
  2. Flexibility in restoration with point-in-time and cross-user search options
  3. Scalability 
  4. Storage flexibility
  5. Strong security credentials

    5. Test and Monitor Your Data Backup

Now that you have identified your cloud backup provider and developed the foundations of your backup strategy, it is time to test it. 

Check to see if the backup is successful, accurate, and efficient. If it passes, you can apply your backup schedule and carry on with business as usual! 

But, do not forget to monitor your backup logs for data lapses. You do not want your backup to be missing something you may need for a quick and smooth recovery!

A data breach or similar disaster can cost your business a lot in terms of time, money, and customer/client trust. Having an effective data backup strategy is an effective way to protect your vital data and restore regular operations as quickly as possible. By following the 5 steps laid out above, you can create your own data backup strategy and keep your business on track.