Preventing Disaster through Data Backup and Recovery
Data is a part of nearly every aspect of our lives. From your family’s saved progress on the latest video game console to the contact list on your phone to your bank account and 401k information, managing and retaining data affects everything from recreation to business.
We have grown so accustomed to backing up our personal information that we barely notice it when we upgrade our smartphones, and all our apps and texts and passwords are right there waiting for us on a new device.
Data backup and recovery basics
But data backup and recovery does not happen on its own—especially when it comes to your business. While a corrupted file might frustrate a student and make them miss a due date at school, a loss of data can completely shut down a business and have severe financial consequences.
This is why it is an absolute necessity for any business to understand how data loss can happen and have effective backup procedures for systems and data.
Sources of Data Loss
Good data backup planning can be challenging because there are so many different ways to lose your data.
The Human Factor
One of the first sources of loss that many people think about is intentional data loss. This can happen when hackers get access to data and either use it as a means to steal identities or as part of a ransomware strategy—cutting data off from its owners until a ransom has been paid.
But sometimes that intentional data loss can come from inside your organization. You don’t have to look too far to find headlines about people who have lost their jobs deleting files on the way out or taking copies of projects they worked on for themselves or to give to a competitor as revenge.
The human factor is not always a product of malicious intent, though. You may lose data because of something as simple as team members saving their files incorrectly. This was fairly commonplace in 2020 as companies were forced suddenly into working remotely by the global pandemic.
All it takes is one team member accidentally saving their work on their home computer, and the rest of your team can lose access to all the changes they made in the course of their day. That one little mistake could set a project back hours, and if it happens more than once, days or weeks.
Acts of God
Beyond human action, sometimes you need to protect your data from the world around you. Natural disasters like hurricanes, blizzards, fires, and more can damage the physical units on which you store data.
The list of different types of accidental loss of data examples is long. Suffice it to say that any external hard drive, tape storage unit, or USB stick can suffer physical damage. That damage can come from extreme temperatures, weather events, or even something as simple as an unlucky coffee spill.
These are things that you typically can’t predict but that you must prepare for. That could mean storing your back up data on a device in a fireproof box or room or utilizing the cloud as a part of your data backup plan.
Planning Data Backup and Recovery
As you set about creating your backup and recovery plan, there are two major factors you need to calculate as data backup best practices. You need to know your business’s Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) because these numbers will give you a time frame for how long you can afford to be down and how often you need to be sure to perform a data backup.
When people ask themselves, “what is the single most important part of data recovery?” It is this time frame. Knowing your RTO—the maximum amount of time you can afford to be down—creates a sense of urgency when you are performing data recovery and helps you keep from panicking because everything has to be done right away.
Data backup and RTO
If your RTO is seven hours, you can take the time to make sure you are following security protocols as you recover and restore data. You don’t have to get everything done in the first five minutes. Your RTO keeps you working quickly while letting you know that you have the time to do everything correctly.
Your RPO is the file age that you need to recover to resume normal activity. Basically, it determines how often your data needs to be fully backed up. For many small and midsize businesses, that number is one full business day, so data backup procedures are established to run at the end of business every day.
But whether your RPO is a few days or a few hours, you need to know that number so you can establish the frequency of your data backups. If your RPO is seven hours, but your backup data is only stored every other day, you are setting yourself up for failure.
As your business grows and expands its products and services, your RTO and RPO may change. It is always a good idea to take periodic stock of these factors and adjust your database backup and recovery plans accordingly.
Advantages of Data Backup and Recovery
You’ll never need to utilize your backup and recovery plan in a perfect world, but ours is not a perfect world. Between attacks from hackers and natural disasters and plain old bad luck, there is a good chance that, at some point, you will need to put your plans into action.
However, having a plan of action for these kinds of worst-case scenarios comes with some interesting and not insignificant benefits. Here are a few examples of the benefits of strong data recovery planning.
Protection from Human Error
People make mistakes. To paraphrase a famous slogan from back in the day: stuff happens. Work can be accidentally deleted. Beverages can spill on important electronics. The list goes on and on.
Regularly backing up your data means that when those errors occur, you can recover quickly. What happens when someone accidentally erases an important spreadsheet? It can be recovered. A hard drive gets fried? That wasn’t the only place storing key information and documents.
Data recovery plans also protect you from disgruntled former employees that may lash out before their access to your data ends by giving you a way to restore and recover any progress on projects they may attempt to sabotage.
Protection for Your Reputation
Businesses today are entrusted with a great deal of their customers’ personal information. That information is invaluable for a company that understands how to use it. That also means that people who don’t have your customers’ information want your customers’ information.
Leaks of private data can do incredible harm to your reputation. In the past, businesses with prominent data leaks have seen massive hits to their stock prices and to their customer base as people will go to a competitor if they feel they can trust them more.
Beyond the danger presented by breaches in cybersecurity, when you lose data and can’t help your customers when they reach out to you, they remember. Strong customer service is one of the biggest keys to customer retention, and you can’t serve your customers if a loss of data has shut you down for an extended period of time.
Protection from Downtime
It’s pretty simple—time is money. If your team can’t work because of a loss of data, you have a whole lot of time where no money is being made.
You need to make sure you understand how to best utilize data backup and recovery tools and methods so that you and your team can effectively run your business no matter what happens.
Making Your Data Backup and Recovery Plans a Reality
You know the good that having a system backup and recovery plan can do. You know why that plan is necessary. You know the metrics that can show you the frequency and time frame you need to be prepared for in case of a loss of data. So is there a list of tools used for backup purposes?
Yes. There is. And it isn’t as long as you might think.
Companies like Strickland Solutions create software to optimize the processes and workflows of businesses around the world. Part of that optimization is figuring out the best ways to ensure their clients are protected from catastrophic loss.
That’s why Strickland brings you Datto. Datto blends cybersecurity backup and recovery functionality with flexible and reliable physical and cloud-based backup systems.
Datto gives you both onsite backup and cloud-based recovery data for fast recovery in the case of a catastrophic data loss. You can restore your data to physical mediums like bare metal or to and from virtual environments.
It is fast, secure, and affordable. Datto was designed to address myriad sources of data loss quickly and efficiently. So whether disaster occurs through intentional or unintentional human action or by the whims of Mother Nature, you can rest assured that your business will be up and running with a quickness.
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
No one wants to have to use their data protection and recovery software, but everyone needs it eventually. Don’t let your business fall behind your competitors because you weren’t prepared. Talk to us today to ensure that, when you need it, your data backup and recovery plans are robust and ready for anything.