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Data backups: What to do and where to start

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – you don’t need a blog to tell you that you should be backing up your business data. Why? Because mitigating risk is a critical part of building long-term business sustainability, and backups offer a way to substantially reduce risk.

In fact, one of the largest risks that companies face today are flaws in the integrity of their mission-critical systems and the data that’s stored there. Without backups to keep your data secure, you’re putting yourself in a huge amount of danger.

With growing risks in cybersecurity looming around every corner, businesses are becoming more aware of their need to have protective measures in place for securing their business data.

The answer to the problem is fairly straightforward. You’ll need to plan ahead with backups before disaster strikes.

Here’s how to get started.

Start by deciding what data you should back up

Losing data of any kind isn’t ideal for businesses. But is it necessary or realistic to protect all data points in an organization? For personal phones and computers, that’s not really the case.

But when it comes to businesses, the best practices change substantially.

Businesses should focus on backing up all of their data. Keeping everything backed up gives you a much wider range of flexibility when it comes to restoration points.

Maintaining a data retention policy can also help you maintain data from a customizable time range. In turn, that keeps your data storage amounts both manageable and affordable.

Related: 3 Reasons to Test Your Backups

Establish a Budget

At an enterprise level, costs to manage data backups and recovery services can vary. Within the IT budget, companies should make dedicated space for a backup budget.

Remember, not all backups are created equal. That holds true for their pricing, too.

Depending on your recovery time objectives (how fast you want to recover your data), the costs will rise. Slower data recovery options will generally cost less than lightning-fast backup restoration. Be sure to think about your operational needs before selecting an ill-fitting backup option.

If your business can stand to go without data for a little while, it’s probably okay to go with a slower backup provider. Enterprises, on the other hand, can’t tolerate a minute of downtime.

And, here’s a hint of sage advice – it’s better to a little more money on proactive backups than to hemorrhage it on downtime expenses.

Choose the right type

It’s easy to get lost in the number of data storage options available for businesses today. However, most companies typically use one (or a mix) of the data backup solutions below:

  • Local storage – Backups are managed on local storage drives and other on-premise storage media. Software and hardware investments are necessary to automate backup processes and backups can be accessed locally.
  • Cloud-based solutions – Many modern businesses use cloud-based solutions to manage their data backups. These versatile solutions can near limitless storage capacity and don’t require companies to invest in managed on-premise hardware.
  • Hybrid Data Backups – Many companies are finding it beneficial to have a blend of local backup storage and cloud-based solutions. Some businesses may have regulatory compliance standards that drive them toward this approach. Hybrid IT solutions are a great way to have the best of both worlds.

Create a disaster recovery plan

Creating a data backup strategy is very important. However, it’s just a single piece of the puzzle. It needs to fit within a broader strategy, known as a disaster recovery plan.

A backup and disaster recovery plan (or BDR, for short) ensures your team has all the tools and information necessary to recover from dire situations quickly and efficiently. Establishing the right backup solution gives you the fuel to power the disaster recovery efforts.

Finding a guide for BDR

Maintaining data integrity is vital for the success of any business.

By taking these first steps when establishing data backup procedures for your organization, you’ll ensure your business and client data remains protected while preparing your company to quickly recover in the event of a system failure.

Here’s another fundamental truth: BDR prep and planning isn’t easy for businesses to nail down. It always helps to get some guidance from IT consultants and BDR experts, like KJ (that’s us!).

If you’d like some help getting started, let’s talk about it. We’d love to help you figure out your backup strategy.