Are you evaluating a data backup system for your small business? Perhaps you already have such a system, but you're unsure if it's the best solution for your particular business. This article breifly covers the 5 most important things that every small business owner needs to know about backing up their business critical data.
The key takeaway for small business owners is that data backup is more important to the overall health of their business than ever. Because it is critical to business longevity, this process should be monitored on a regular basis to ensure it is functioning correctly.
One of the best ways of ensuring that data backups are performed correctly is to hire an expert technology support provider. This provider should understand every facet of these complex and essential technologies and be able to explain their value in straightforward business terms.
1. Backups are an essential component of every risk management strategy
A risk can be defined as an event or circumstance that has a negative effect on your business, for example, the risk of having equipment or money stolen as a result of poor security procedures. Types of risk vary from business to business.
One risk common to all organizations is the loss of business-critical data, whether through a power outage, accident, natural disaster, or the actions of a malicious hacker. It is essential that businesses take time to identify the types of data they collect, and understand the importance of each type to their overall operational success. Finally, business owners must assess the potential consequences of losing that data.
While preventing the loss of any data in the first place is obviously important, having a robust and reliable backup system is a key tool in continuing business operations when these losses inevitably do occur.
2. Backed up data should be both accessible and usable
The most important function of data backup is recovery. Whether it be an accidentally deleted file or a catastrophic loss of business-critical information, restoring data both quickly and accurately is critical to resuming operations as quickly as possible. Backed-up data that is either inaccurate or not readily accessible is useless to a disaster recovery effort.
3. Store copies of backed-up data in multiple locations
This is generally referred to as a hybrid backup system. One copy of backed up data is kept onsite at the business headquarters, while another is stored in an offsite cloud server. If the main office were to flood or catch fire, for example, another copy of the data exists safely offsite. Meanwhile, the onsite copy allows for quick restoration in the event of a minor loss of data.
Large cloud services like Microsoft Azure offer a service called geographic redundancy. This means they can store copies of a business’ information in several datacenters at once. Should a natural disaster befall one datacenter, business owners can rest easy knowing another datacenter has a copy of the backed-up files.
4. Tape drives are no longer a viable option for storing backed-up data
Although they were once the industry standard for backing up data, tape drives have fallen out of favor for several reasons. For one, they have relatively limited storage capacity compared to newer solutions. Secondly, it takes a long time to recover data from a tape drive. Finally, there aren’t many technicians left who are proficient with tape drives. The skillsets required to create and manage a tape-based backup system simply do not exist anymore. Despite these shortcomings, a surprisingly large number of small businesses still rely on tape drives to back up data.
The simple truth is that cheaper and more robust backup platforms are available to businesses today.
5. Data backup cannot be a "set it & forget it" process
To be truly robust and reliable, data backup systems require constant monitoring and regular maintenance. Like most things in the world of IT, processes should be in place to check these systems on a routine basis to ensure the backups are being performed correctly and that the data is not corrupted or otherwise unusable.