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Avoid Data Disaster with These Three Important Concepts

Just about every day we hear of businesses who are sadly closing their doors, thanks to poor planning and failure in protecting their data.

Think about it – would your company survive, if today every bit of data you had, was lost? I didn’t think so!

It makes me question why are so many businesses so badly prepared for situations like this? Do they never think it will happen to them? Is it just not enough knowledge or skill?

The first step in making sure you are able to possibly survive a disaster with data loss, is look at your backup regime, and how well prepared you are.

Backup frequency

I have spoken to small business owners who tell me their backup systems are safe, and that their monthly backups will save them.

I then ask if it was the day before your monthly backup, and all your data was lost that day, how would that affect them?

Inevitably, they say ‘I would lose a months’ worth of work! It would be terrible!’

So don’t leave it that long. Ideally, have a daily backup and a weekly backup regime. Use cloud for daily, and DVD or tape, external hard drive, etc for weekly.

If you run an video marketing business, photographic studio  or digital marketing agency, you may need to backup individual projects or clients as well. This way, it’s faster to restore should you need to.

World backup day

Did you know that there is even a World Backup Day? The issue is so large and so global, there is an annual day (last day of March) where everyone is asked to take a backup. Annual backups are not the ideal frequency, of course!

Multiple backups

You must always plan for multiple failures – it happens, believe me.

Let’s say you back up to an external hard drive, but leave it in your office. Tonight, the office burns down. Now what? Do you have an off-site backup to save your data disaster from becoming a reality?

You need to think of at least two backups, and two locations. One can be on-site IF and only if, there is another off site.

When we think of backups, many of us think of;

  • Tape backup systems
  • DVD or CD burning
  • Copying to external hard drives

Don’t discount cloud backup solutions – done well, they are low traffic, fast to restore and run smoothly in the back ground, typically when nobody is working in the office, so there’s no lost employee time or effort at all.

Your cloud backup services could be your off site backup, and then all you need to do, is consider the onsite, such as an external hard drive (they are becoming so incredibly cheap now), or some such.

I always recommend that you buy a few hard drives, and rotate them – have three for example, so if one fails (and HDD hardware does fail from time to time), then at least you have another source – as well, if course, as your off site backup.

Approximately 22% of businesses with less than 1,000 employees are forced to cease business operations immediately after experiencing a ransomware attack. – Osterman Research

Backup testing

I once worked at a place who never checked their tape backups, and guess what? One day we lost most of our desktop computers in a theft, and we went to restore the tapes. No luck.

Luckily the business survived, but it was touch and go there for a while. A scary time for all of us, indeed!

Make sure you regularly put into place some backup testing. Don’t just take the backup software ‘All good’ messages at face value. Actually reinstall some data onto a computer, and make sure you can access it.

Schedule this to happen at least once every three months. Use different backups each time, and make sure to try various methods to restore.

In Summary

Don’t risk the chance of an unprecedented data failure within your business. A disaster is avoidable with the right planning and know how.

Remember;

  • Increase backup frequency to very regular
  • Have both onsite and offsite backup solutions
  • Test your backups regularly!

If in doubt, speak to an IT consultant to help, but please, don’t delay.

By Lauren Clarke

Lauren Clarke is an Australian freelance blogger, who writes on small business marketing, human resources and business for a number of blogs. Outside of writing, she enjoys sampling Australian red wines, and live theatre.

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