This week, we take a whistle-stop tour of the why, what, where, when and how of backing up your company data, with our Commercial Director, Chris Jones.
Why back up your business data?
In an ideal world, backups would not be necessary. Unfortunately, as we keep seeing all too often, even the biggest companies haven’t found a way of fool-proofing IT security. Closer to home here in Yorkshire we’ve also seen the impact that unforeseen natural disasters – such as flooding – can have on business operations. By backing up your data you are ensuring that, if you were to fall victim to a cyber-attack, fire, flood or server failure, you will be able to get your business up and running again with minimal disruption. Without effective backups in place, a disaster could spell the end for your business.
What should you back up?
In short: everything you can’t afford to lose. A good rule of thumb for any business – and one which is too often overlooked - is to start by checking your insurance to make sure you’re following your policy stipulations on data storage and security to the letter. If you overlook any part of your policy, there’s a chance you won’t be covered should the worst happen. By making sure you have procedures in place to keep you compliant, and keeping on top of them to make sure they remain up to date, you are well on the way to safeguarding your business.
Where should you store data?
A bad habit to allow yourself or your employees to slip into is to start saving things onto a desktop. What might start with the best intentions of eventually transferring that data onto a server can, and has, led to people unintentionally leaving the office with the only copies of vital files that could potentially cost your business millions should they go missing. Some companies choose to not allow anything to be saved to individual PCs, but ultimately it’s about working out what’s right for your business, balancing the risk you are prepared to take and making sure you implement clear data policies that leave your staff in no doubt of what is expected of them when it comes to handling and storing company data.
When should you run backups?
It might sound overly cautious, but when it comes to how often you back up your data I would always say the more often the better. Ok, so a backup every five minutes might be taking things a little too far (not to mention slowing down network speeds), but if the data you work with is particularly sensitive then you might not want to leave it too much longer. Again, it’s about what’s right for your business.
How should you back up your data?
A backup policy is only effective if it allows you to bring your data back quickly and in full should the worst happen. How you choose to back up your data will ultimately affect how you go about retrieving it following a loss of any kind. A lot of people believe that having data stored on site gives them flexibility, but I would strongly recommend an offsite backup and would generally point companies in the direction of cloud-based systems, which offer secure storage and fast data retrieval.
Getting backups right is crucial, and it remains a very real challenge for businesses. So many people think they’ve got it right, when in fact it isn’t working as they think it is or, worse still, isn’t working at all. We can help you review your existing system to check it’s working exactly as it should be.