Best Practices for Data Backup

Best Practices for Data Backup

Without a data backup, there is no such thing as corporate sustainability. A company may be fortunate enough to continue operations without severe data loss, but the possibility always exists. But what are the best practices for data backup?

Significant loss of data can occur for various reasons, including hardware failure, inadvertent deletion, cybercrime, natural disaster, and so on. Because digital data is so valuable to businesses nowadays, the ideal strategy is to have a dependable and effective data backup solution in place.

There are various techniques for data backup – which we explain below. Also presented are 10 best practices for data backup.

On-Premises Data Backup

On-premises backup is the most traditional method of data backup. An on-premises backup is a data backup technique in which you copy the data to an in-house storage device. Depending on the backup program you use to replicate data, the backup might be done manually or automatically.

On-premises data backup mediums include devices such as an external hard drive or network-attached storage (NAS).

Some of the primary advantages of on-premises data backup include:

  • Direct Access – Even if you don’t have an internet connection. So, even if the internet is unavailable, you still have access to your on-premises backed-up data.
  • Complete control – You also manage and control your data centre’s accompanying hardware and software.
  • Cost-Effective – While it can be costly to set up a proper on-premises backup storage system, along with monthly maintenance, it is less expensive in the long term. As a result, large enterprises that can afford the initial cost of on-premises data backup will have lower future costs.
  • Security – Since it is stored on non-internet-connected means, it prevents fraudsters from easily gaining access to the data.

Cloud Data Backup

Cloud data backup is the most popular and advanced method of data backup. You hire a cloud backup provider to back up your company’s data on their servers.

You are essentially transferring your data to the cloud, which cloud backup providers control. You don’t have to worry about on-premises hardware maintenance or assigning adequate physical space and environment for storing locally backed-up data this way.

Some of the primary advantages of cloud data backup include:

  • Unlimited data storage – All you have to do is subscribe to the storage space you require and then decrease or raise it as needed. In this way, you’ll never run out of storage space.
  • Global Access – Your backed-up data can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. Amid the pandemic, the capacity to execute backup and recovery from any location at any time is a huge boon.
  • Robust Security – Although data is kept on the cloud service provider’s remote servers over the internet, it ensures strong security. Most cloud backup services encrypt the data before storing it at a remote location, making it difficult for fraudsters to access the data.
  • Resilience – Any local hardware or software failure does not influence the cloud backup data because the data is not stored locally.

Furthermore, cloud backup services duplicate and store your backup data in various faraway locations.

As a result, even if one of their data centers fails, your data is still secure at the other site. In a nutshell, cloud storage provides dependable disaster recovery.

  • Cost Savings – Cloud backup solutions are based on monthly or annual subscriptions based on a company’s file system storage demands.

Furthermore, the fees are relatively reasonable when compared to the cost of establishing an on-premises backup solution.

As a result, small and medium-sized enterprises may find cloud backup the greatest choice for meeting their backup demands cost-effectively.

There are numerous cloud backup services available today. You must carefully assess the services you have identified and select the one that best meets your company backup needs.

Related: Online Backup vs Cloud Storage: Understanding the Difference

The Hybrid Data Backup approach

Businesses can use hybrid data backup to benefit from both on-premises and cloud backup. Data is backed up in the cloud on a hybrid data backup while a copy is also kept on-premises.

You can have two copies of your critical company data in this manner. This technique is ideal for firms that protect vulnerable data and cannot rely on a single on-premises or cloud backup.

It is more expensive than simply having an on-premises or cloud storage solution. Hence it is only suggested for enterprises that can bear such costs.

Some of the primary advantages of hybrid data backup are as follows:

  • Dependable Recovery Plan – If your on-premises backup data becomes corrupted, you can still access cloud backup data.

It provides you with access freedom because the cloud backup data is available at all times and from any location.

Furthermore, if your internet connection fails, the data kept on-premises comes to the rescue.

  • Intelligent Data Backup Management – Most sensitive data can be backed up in the cloud and on-premises. However, less sensitive data can only be backed up in one media.

10 Data Backup Best Practices for Businesses

1. Regularly backup your Data

If you don’t back up your data to a schedule, or if you are, but only seldomly, make it a point to set up backups at regular intervals.

The singular most important best practice when it comes to data backups is that you should be performing backups at least once a week. It is better, however, to backup your data every 24 hours. Backups can be conducted manually or scheduled to be performed automatically at a predefined period.

2. Ensure your Backups are Encrypted

Encrypting your backups adds an extra degree of protection. It assures that everything is how you expect it to be if you ever need to restore it.

Your IT service provider can assist you in determining whether your backups are now encrypted and, if not, how to encrypt them.

3. Follow the 3-2-1 Rule

Using off-site storage is only one aspect of the 3-2-1 Rule. This guideline, a common data backup best practice, states that you should keep three copies of your data on two devices/mediums, with one off-site storage option.

A primary server in a company’s headquarters, a cloud backup, and a backup NAS disc are all examples of data backed up according to the 3-2-1 Rule.

In this way, your data is always backed up, regardless of what happens.

4. Store your Backups Off-site

Off-site storage might take the form of a cloud-based service or a physical server in another place. It safeguards your data in the case that your central server is compromised in any way.

A natural calamity can destroy an on-site server, resulting in massive data loss that cripples your firm.

5. Segregate your backups from the network

Protecting your backups against ransomware and other malware is always good practice.  Malware will attempt to infect any machine it may locate, including backup devices, if left unprotected.

This is why it is vital to keep your backups separate from the protected systems or networks.

In the event of a broad ransomware assault, your backups are frequently the only remaining tool for recovering your data. Consequently, your backups mustn’t be contaminated with malware.

6. Retain backups for the long term

Dependent on your requirements, each organization must determine how long it should keep backups before permanently discarding them.

Not every backup must be retained indefinitely; however, certain backups should be kept for months or even years. Banks and healthcare institutions, for example, must adhere to stringent data retention standards that require backups to be kept for years.

A decent BC/DR solution will allow you to adjust the retention of all your backups. In this way, you keep multiple copies of recent backups and compressed versions of previous backups.

For illustration purposes, consider the following data retention arrangement for a small firm:

  • Local backups: Retained for 90 days
  • Intra-daily backups: Kept for 7 days
  • Daily backups: Stored for 14 days
  • Weekly backups: Retained for 30 days
  • Monthly backups: Kept until local backups are deleted

As a general rule, backups should be kept for as long as it is reasonable to do so. Datto, for example, has begun to provide “infinite cloud retention,” which allows businesses to keep unlimited backups in the cloud with no time limit.

7. Test backups regularly

The mere existence of a backup does not imply that it can be recovered. You must be sure that your backup will be functional when you require it.

A data backup best practice often neglected, businesses should ensure that both on-site and off-site backups are tested regularly to guarantee they can be recovered. Ideally, your backup system should include an automated process that automatically validates each new backup and warns you of any problems.

8. Consider your Endpoints

Endpoints are the phones, tablets, and laptops that your employees use to perform their jobs. These devices store data, and unless specifically backed up, the data stored on them will be lost if the device malfunctions, is lost, or is stolen.

Individual device backup is included in the majority of data backup plans. You’ll want to make sure this is in place for the new year.

9. Take into account BOYD

If your organization participates in BYOD (bring your own device), you must consider this when backing up your data. How will you handle personal devices used by your workers for work?

The simplest solution is to prohibit work from being done on personal devices. If you do not want to limit the devices your staff use, your IT provider can help develop a solution to safeguard your data and your business.

10. Backup your SaaS data

At least one SaaS (software-as-a-service) application is now used by 80% of organizations. However, using SaaS applications gives the misleading impression that data is safe since stored on the cloud.

However, your SaaS data is exposed to many of the same dangers as local data. And because that data is not included in your standard backup process, it could be permanently lost in the event of a disaster.

Using an independent SaaS backup tool is critical for safeguarding this vital data. Such tools typically automatically backup and store your data in a separate cloud such as Microsoft 365 and G Suite.

Even if your SaaS data is erased, a user licence expires, or files are encrypted by ransomware, you may still recover it from a backup.

Next Steps

There are numerous methods for businesses to backup data due to the growing necessity of data backup. On-premises, cloud and hybrid backups are all reliable methods of data backup. However, if you choose one of them, it will be based on your business capital and sensitive data volume.

For example, if your backup data volume is small and you can afford to have on-premises hardware and software for data backup, you should go with on-premises backup.

However, if you have a large amount of data to back up and want to take advantage of other benefits such as constant accessibility, low-cost backups, and limitless storage space, cloud data backup is the ideal option.

On the other hand, hybrid data backup is perfect when your company has adequate money to cover both on-premises and cloud backup costs.

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