Many smaller businesses skimp on their data backup, considering it too expensive or time-consuming. But with events like hardware failure, natural disasters, malicious software and ordinary human error waiting to decimate your data, it’s not a matter of if it happens but when. In short, backup is your digital insurance policy. Here are some tips on how to get your data backups in order.
Decide what’s mission-critical
Your backup strategy depends primarily on what you can’t afford to lose. Customer records? Project files? Financial or sales data? Think about what it would cost the business if you had to wait a day, a week or a month to get everything back. This can help you decide how much you are willing to spend to avert such a disaster.
Choose a backup technology
Many SMBs still rely on traditional backup tools such as USB drives and blank DVDs. These should be considered a temporary solution at best because they only offer a basic level of reliability and you need to remember to manually copy your files.
If you prefer to keep your backup files on-site, a RAID configuration can offer an extra level of protection by automatically duplicating your data across several hard disks, keeping it safe if one of them fails. RAID storage is usually network attached so that anyone in the business who needs it can access it.
Of course, this requires purchasing all the necessary hardware, yet your data is still vulnerable if your office is damaged or compromised. For this reason, cloud-based backup solutions have become popular with SMBs, providing similar data protection at a fraction of the cost. Some important things to consider before choosing a cloud provider include:
- Free versus business: Although many cloud providers offer free data plans, a business plan is always recommended as they offer more storage capacity and business-grade service.
- Encryption: Cloud storage can still get hacked by malicious outsiders. It’s always a good idea to enable encryption on your backups. That way, if you lose data, it’s not compromised.
- Bandwidth: Increasing internet speeds and falling storage prices have drastically boosted the cloud’s popularity. If you are dealing with large data volumes, however, you may want to consider a hybrid local-and-cloud backup plan to save on bandwidth costs.
Regardless of the backup strategy you choose, it’s important to test it on a regular basis. This can give you peace of mind that if your data is compromised, you’ll be able to recover quickly and get back to business.