Businesses face the threat of data loss from a host of factors, including system outages, data breaches, natural calamities, and ransomware. It can be severely debilitating, resulting in unwanted downtime that leads to financial losses and damage to business reputation. A 2019 report shows that the average cost of just an hour of downtime was between $301,000 and $400,000 for 25% of the 750 businesses surveyed.
It’s thus essential for every business to have a robust data backup strategy. At its simplest, data backup refers to the automated creation of files copied from your business’s network and servers, and their storage in an off-site or cloud-based data center.
Having a system in place for copying and storing files, however, isn’t enough to keep your business running smoothly in the event of data loss. You must ensure that everything from your data backup policies to your business continuity plans are in order.
Data backup, retention, and destruction policies
A data backup policy refers to the set of rules and guidelines that determine what data gets backed up, the tools and technology used to perform the backup, and how the data that’s backed up is to be accessed. Likewise, data retention policies determine which pieces of data will be kept in storage, for how long, and in what format. Meanwhile, data destruction policies determine the data that is to be destroyed, when they’re destroyed, and how.
All three are critical for ensuring that your data backup process is conducted methodically and is aligned to your business needs. They’re also necessary in the event of external audits of your business’s data operations.
Diverse background environment
There’s a plethora of storage options available, and as with investments, it’s often prudent to diversify your usage. A common guideline is the 3-2-1 rule, which stipulates that at least three copies of any important piece of data should exist, that they be housed in at least two storage devices, and that at least one of those devices should be located off-site. Options include physical, on-site mediums such as file servers, network-attached storage, and tape, as well as cloud-based and remote storage options.
Prepare for growth
It can be easy to overlook the fact that your organization’s data assets and requirements are likely to grow year on year. Any data backup strategy you implement needs to take this growth into account and ensure that you will be able to scale up quickly and cost-effectively.