Backup Planning in 2024: The Complete Guide with 10 Essential Tips
Solid backup planning with a strategy is critical to keeping your company’s critical data safe.
Many companies have lost data because they don’t have a backup plan, and therefore, no DR plan or knowing if a restore will even work. A simple backup plan with periodic text restores will help prevent data loss.
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When data is lost, you can experience significant financial and reputational loss. Damages to your reputation with customers and investors will impact future trade, and you might even have to pay penalties.
Losing data can cost you a lot of money too. We now have cloud backups and disaster recovery software that can help us prevent these things from happening, and all you need is a solid backup plan.
In this article, we’ll learn about mastering backup planning. We’ll give you tips on keeping your data safe and ensuring your backup is reliable and easy to implement.
What is Backup Planning?
Backup planning meaning is the process of creating a strategy to protect your data. It involves customer records, financial data, etc., that must be backed up, choosing the correct backup method (full, differential and incremental), and storing the backups safely.
Backup planning involves different things: decision-making, evaluating, costs and risks, frequency, and accessibility. These things should be taken into account for backup planning.
These are some of the things you need to do during your backup planning:
- Decide which software and systems should be used (considering costs and risk).
- Define the frequency of backups and type. i.e., full, differential, or incremental.
- Decide on a recovery procedure, time expectations, will you need new hardware, and how long a restore will take.
What is the difference between RTO and RPO in disaster recovery solutions?
The Importance of Data Backups
Data backups are essential to businesses because they can prevent costly data loss. When you back up your data, you must be sure that the backup software you have used can restore your data to its original location. Your back up plans must be easy to follow for all techies.
Our software has modules for MAC and Windows desktops, and all Windows server modules (bare metal, system state, Exchange server and mail, MS SQL, MySQL, and SharePoint). Our software also has cloud modules to back up M365 (email, OneDrive and SharePoint).
To create a reliable backup plan, there are a few key rules to follow if you want a solid backup plan that you can rely on.
The 3-2-1 rule is a simple but effective backup strategy. It states that you should keep three copies of your data, use two media types to store them, and keep one copy offsite.
Naturally, the best option is cloud backup. It’s most valuable in remote work environments. It’s essential for cyber security and data protection because remote workers could be using devices not suitable to protect your data from cyber-attacks.
It is advisable to rely on something other than legacy onsite backup systems. Cartridges and tapes can help you avoid losing your data due to a natural disaster, as you can keep that somewhere safe. A cloud backup is a minimum requirement because your data is always stored in a different location from your live data.
Here are some reasons why backups are critical:
01. Safeguarding Business Operations:
Starting a business on its own is already a considerable risk because most companies have a million things to do, and backups are often well down the to-do list because they don’t actually bring revenue into a business.
Incidents such as human error, hardware/software failure, cyberattacks, and even natural disasters can be catastrophic for businesses, especially businesses that do not have proper backup planning.
The company will lose a tremendous amount of money, face compliance failures, and will most definitely be getting sued by clients.
02. Defence Against Cyber-attacks:
Backup plans do not necessarily protect you from cyber-attacks; they are there as insurance in case of a cyber attack. All the same, you need vital backup planning to protect your company from cyber attacks.
A reliable backup will allow you to shut the door in the face of cybercriminals if they access and encrypt your data. Your recovery process would be to prevent further ransomware attacks and simply restore your data.
In the society we live in right now, data is everything, and businesses see this data every day. The intake of data comes from every activity that they carry out.
The data being stored by these companies is very valuable and confidential. This is why they should be protected from attackers. Attackers are the people who deploy specific measures and attack the data being stored by the companies.
Several kinds of attacks can be deployed when data is being targeted.
03. Ensuring Business Resilience:
Data might not be lost through cyber attacks. There are many other ways that a business can lose data. For instance, you can’t rule out a natural disaster. Nothing can be overlooked.
What Are The Different Types Of Backup?
When it comes to safeguarding your business data, data backup plays a crucial role. There are three types of backup strategies that you can employ:
- Full Backup: A full backup involves copying all the data from a system or storage device. While it offers comprehensive protection, it can be time-consuming and requires significant storage space.
- Incremental Backup: With an incremental backup, only the data that has changed since the last backup is copied. This method is faster and requires less storage than a full backup. However, restoring data from incremental backups can be more complex.
- Differential Backup: A differential backup captures all data that has changed since the last full backup. It is faster than a full backup but slower than an incremental backup. Restoring data from a differential backup is generally less complex than restoring from an incremental backup.
The choice of backup type depends on your specific needs. A full backup is recommended to protect against catastrophic events like hard drive failures.
Incremental or differential backups are more suitable if you need to capture minor changes, such as file edits.
Many businesses employ a combination of backup types to achieve optimal data protection. For instance, a weekly full backup might be supplemented with daily incremental or differential backups. This approach ensures both recent data copies and efficient use of storage and time resources.
10 Essential Tips for Data Protection in Businesses
You should include these essential tips in your backup plans checklist.
Even if you think you have done a great job protecting your company’s data, you can take a little time to look at these 10 things because you can never be too sure. Here are the tips:
01. Identify and Locate Data:
Protecting what you don’t know or can’t find is impossible. Firstly, you need to understand where your critical data is stored for it to be protected. Is your critical data stored as single files, databases, or offsite? Secondly, you need to locate where it is stored; and lastly, you need to separate the data that needs protecting from the data that doesn’t.
Remember, it is easy to lose data unless you find a way to manage it. The people in charge of data safety must know where your firm’s critical systems and data are stored.
Furthermore, you need to keep track of everyone with access to everyday data; You also need to know why they have access to each data; Lastly, you need to know when and how the data is being used.
02. Clear and Concise Security Policies:
If you own a business, you must establish clear and concise security policies. These properties must align with global security and privacy compliance requirements. Also, these security policies should be consistent and stay the same, as that could confuse employees.
In addition, it will be good to simplify your data protection and privacy policies. This will help your employees do their jobs well.
03. Establish Connections:
You can’t do it alone. This is where connections play a huge role. Everyone in the company needs to have one goal: “making the company grow“. Your business can only grow if your data is safe.
04. Educate Employees:
It would be best if your security team could seek help from others to provide better data protection.
In most large corporations, the security teams are filled with brilliant people who are paid to think outside the box. They also all need to work together. They need to feel safe around each other to create a safe environment.
It should be noted that to meet the data protection expectations, the security team has to work with professionals in every department, especially those who need their data secured.
Also, with the security team working with professionals across all levels and departments, you have better communication.
It would help if you educated your employees about cyber threats and cyber security, data privacy policies and data protection. This will help your employees navigate and avoid anything that could harm the company’s data. It is also essential to let them know the importance of data protection.
Something as simple as not using USB drives, accessing non-business related websites, and never opening emails they are suspicious of.
You have to do this and make it like an awareness program where you educate your employees about data protection and data privacy policies. Give them tests, and then observe them to measure their involvement in the program.
This educative program will help you and your employees. This program makes your employees look good because your organisation has educated them on something essential. Also, you can use this process to tell them the importance of collaborating and working together to create security systems that can help your business grow.
05. Implement Data Loss Prevention (DLP):
06. Know Your Backup Team:
The size of your cyber security team depends on how big your company is and the type of backup you are using to protect your data. Smaller companies require only a small team, while more prominent companies with more data require larger teams.
Investing in the correct backup software and DR systems will save their cost many times over because they can automate the mundane of human tasks.
You must ensure you are familiar with the people who handle your company’s security. This has to be one of the most important departments in your company.
You should know the person in charge of the USB ports, who handles the cloud data, and who manages the whole cyber security scenery. Do not hesitate to get resources for them whenever they ask for them.
07. Have a Business Data Backup Plan:
Also, insurance providers nowadays ask for proof of an offsite backup during an audit. They need evidence to make your cyber insurance valid.
Lastly, specific measures have to be implemented regarding data backup plans. Firstly, you need a clear and concise process of how the backup happens. You also need a way to access the backed-up data and how business-critical data can be restored in case of hardware or software failures.
08. Plan for Contingency:
You need the contingency space for when you need to create more data as your business grows.
Another way to free up space is the data retention policy that can help you delete specific data after a particular period.
Lastly, if you decide to use a cloud-based backup data provider, ensure they can grow as your data does.
09. Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan:
Disaster recovery is a technique that allows you to create a replica of the systems and software that your company needs to operate. This is way past a simple backup plan.
Every business should have these backup plans. You can count on your recovery plan.
Furthermore, when developing a recovery plan, you need to consider Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO).
Firstly, RPO involves how often your data is backed up and how much data you can afford to lose. On the other hand, RTO is about how long a data recovery will take.
10. Run frequent Data Backups:
This is dependent on how often your business creates and processes data. Your data backup plans should exceed the processing and creation of data. This means you would need higher frequency data for your backup in case anything mistakenly goes missing.
Mastering backup planning is crucial for ensuring the safety and security of your valuable business data. By following these 10 essential tips for data protection, you can establish a robust backup plans strategy that minimises the risk of data loss and enables swift recovery in emergencies.
The back-up plan can be as simple or complicated as you deem necessary, providing it works when it comes to restoring data.
Do you have any backup strategies we haven’t mentioned? Pop them in the comments below.