Losing data can be catastrophic for any business. So it is crucial to protect yourself against loss and invest in backup management. Not only should it protect all your important files and folders, it should also synchronise the data and restore it quickly in the event of a failure. Read on to find out what you should know about disaster recovery of your data.
What if you were to go to work tomorrow and all your data was deleted? Your customer files, your correspondence, your accounts, your concepts, technical drawings, plans – anything you have ever made, managed and used digitally. How expensive would that be? Would your company survive without a possibility to restore the data?
If this is not something you wish to experience, you need a comprehensive concept to backup and restore your data. Backup solutions protect against expensive damage caused by operational breakdown and cyberattacks and provide a plan for recovery. Backup management is now a very complex task because small businesses as well as bigger enterprises collect their business data on so many different devices and in such large networks.
What secure data backup needs to provide
Modern backup solutions fulfill three tasks:
- Backup data in a cloud or locally
- Synchronise data
- Restore data
These tasks are not only crucial to your business, but also legally essential. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates the rights and duties of data protection in the context of personal data, which means files containing information about employees, customers and suppliers. The law also defines archiving duties for particular kinds of business data, and these must be fulfilled digitally as well as physically. One way to ensure the protection of personal data is encryption.
The right backup strategy means: forgetting nothing
At the dawn of the digital age, people used to burn a disk on a Windows computer in the evening to back up all the data. Before that documents were collected in folders and needed a lot of physical storage area. But the huge quantities of data businesses handle today need a more professional storage approach. This means an automatic, systematic, strategic management of all our important files, folders, and other data.
To find the right backup system for your business, analyse your needs first. The number of workplaces, devices, and the quantity of data are just a few factors you have to take into account. Other important ones are: what would be the financial and legal consequences of losing data? What security category is the data you store? Which kind of encryption would be appropriate?
These questions will help you analyse your needs:
- What data sources are there?
- What data types must be stored?
- What backup frequency is sensible?
- What backup media are available to us?
- What backup type is the best solution?
- What cost-effectiveness does that create?
- What archiving obligations are there?
- Who is responsible to manage the system?
3-2-1 rule of data backups
You should store at least three copies of the files on at least two different media, with at least one copy at a different location.
Five storage places to back up data
You can create a backup in different places – either locally or in a cloud. The external hard drive is the easiest, smallest solution as a local backup. You can use a USB stick as a data carrier for smaller quantities, or a portable hard drive with more storage capacity.
If more than one user accesses a file, a network attached storage (NAS) system is recommendable. The storage medium, or hardware, is integrated into the network and a backup is performed automatically by software.
Magnetic tape is still used to back up data today. It is easy and cheap to store, but downloading the data is much slower than from a hard drive.
There are many providers offering Cloud backup as a service. Exchanging data with the Cloud requires a stable and fast internet connection. Computer centres that store the cloud backup can be anywhere in the world and offer lots of cloud storage.
One variation of the Cloud is hybrid backup. This is where data is backed up locally in the business and in the Cloud as well. This combination of local and cloud backup speeds up restoring data enormously. Yet a cloud backup should always be encrypted properly, so the data is stored safely.
Five kinds of backup management
If small businesses need a backup of large quantities of data, they will have to get to know about the various methods of securing it. What is the fastest and most efficient way of backing up data with software? Here is an overview of the most common concepts for storage and recovery.
- The full backup: This kind of backup saves all your data. It requires the most storage space and takes longest to save.
- The incremental backup: Only new and edited data is saved, and added to the full backup. This saves a lot of time when you are working. But when it comes to recovery, all of the updates have to be there and they have to work.
- The differential backup: Again, only the new and modified files are saved following a full backup, but not in a series. The files are saved individually. This backup solution needs more storage space, but is more reliable when restoring.
- The mirrored backup: Mirrored backups are exact clones of the data. They need a lot of storage space, but they are the fastest to restore in certain critical situations when quick recovery is essential.
- The virtual backup: The virtual method is the only one which can provide almost uninterrupted access to data and applications through a virtual system in the event of a breakdown. It is also available as a hybrid version.
Backup strategy: What do you do if something bad happens?
As well as the technical issues of storage space, storage place, storage method and backup software, there is an important issue around personnel. Which of your staff will be responsible of backup management, taking responsibility for saving data? You need to regularly check how well your data backups work on local devices and in the cloud.
This person should draw up a business continuity plan (BCP) when you are analysing your backup needs. The plan will define how risky a loss of data or other damage could be for your business. From this management responsibles can work out what technology should be used to get up and running again after a cyberattack.
Continuity planning includes a disaster recovery plan (DRP). This is a first-aid package involving all the activities that restore the network, data and applications and make them possible to use again. The faster recovery is completed, the less productivity is lost.
Backup management is not manual work
Automatic backup solutions are a good choice for small businesses. First of all, suppliers offer absolutely reliable solutions, and secondly, small businesses can scale them up when the storage needs grow.
Konica Minolta offers a budget-conscious backup tool as a service. It is part of the Managed IT Services and includes backing up server data as well as management and support for daily backups at each workplace and device.
Konica Minolta offers local data backups, Cloud backup and hybrid backups as flexible, tailored solutions for the needs of any company, from small businesses to bigger enterprises. Businesses can select backing up networks from a range of technical options, from NetApp to Veem, SolarWinds and more.