Picking the Right Backup Strategy

As part of our backup series, we will be continuing our discussion on backing up your most valuable business asset, your data.

Having a great backup application, like the StaySafe Protection Program, isn’t enough if you don’t have a good backup plan.

A good backup plan includes three components:

  • schedule and frequency
  • retention
  • recovery

Schedule and frequency

When considering your backup strategy, you need to know how often and what time you want your backup to be performed.

Most businesses simply default their programs to nightly because that is what they were told. There was a time when that was the prevalent strategy because of technology limitations. Backups would take all night, clog bandwidth and cause any day time work to come to a screeching halt.

However, times have changed. Newer “smart” programs like StaySafe Protection Program can send data incrementally, thus reducing the network load. They can also detect what has changed and only update those files that have been altered.

Good backup strategy goes beyond technology. Businesses need to consider how they are using their data to properly devise a schedule and frequency.

For instance, let’s say you have an accounting program that is only run once a month after payroll. It would be a wasted effort then to perform daily checks and backup of the data since it only changes every month. Alternatively, there might be a program that collects critical information every second, such as a highly regulated environment. This data may require more frequent backup but only during office hours.

All data shouldn’t be treated the same. Some of your information is more critical for your operation than others. Correctly identifying this information and isolating it will help ensure your backup plan protects your business at the right levels.

Retention

Now that you’ve backed up your data, how long do you keep it?

In a hypothetical world, we’d love to keep the data forever and never risk losing anything. In the real world however, storing data takes up valuable space. Be it a local storage device or remote cloud service, that space is finite and costs your business to increase thus you can’t consider your retained copies as an infinite storage.

So what is the right retention policy?

In many ways it comes down to:

  • schedule and frequency of backup
  • size and type of data
  • BUDGET

If your backup schedule is only monthly and you only retain a month of data, then you will only be as good as the last copy of events. This is hardly any protection from loss or corruption. If you store large files, such as graphic images or videos, the space you require per file increases drastically. The biggest consideration is – how much are you willing to spend on something you may never look at again?

As you can imagine, there is much to consider in this space before you start any backup plan

Recovery

Most business owners are knowledgeable when thinking in terms of backup but many never really spend any time to think about recovery. They assume that as long as the data is “backed up” it must be recoverable.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In some situations, the process of backing up changes the data format, making it unreadable by the original application.

Alternatively, the process of recovery could take hours if not days to become operational once more.  Having the appropriate Business Continuity Device, such as the devices by Cornerstone Backup, a Solve-IT.ca partner, can ensure your operation is back in a short period of time.

In still other situations, such as email, newer information may be lost if the backup were to be restored. A decision and procedure needs to be in place to ensure important new information isn’t erased by the recovery procedure.

In still other situations, the business has not set up the right schedule/frequency and retention for backup and the necessary copy of the information is not available for recovery.

The worst situation is when there is an emergency occurs and the necessary people can’t be contacted to get the recovery started.

In all situations, it is advised that after the business has devised a backup plan, including recovery procedures, they include the plan as part of their Business Continuity Plan. At scheduled times this plan is reviewed and tested to ensure it works. Consider it as a “fire drill” for all components including your backup recovery.

Without considering all 3 aspects of recovery, the best backup program in the world cannot properly safeguard your data.

If you need help coming up with a properly developed plan or would like a demo of our StaySafe Protection Program, call us at 905-388-2597 or send Solve-IT.ca an email or contact us directly and we will be happy to work through a plan with you.

 

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