More and more stories of cyber-attacks and massive natural disasters have been hitting the news, and they’re not likely to stop. Have you stopped to consider how these things could affect your business? One word: downtime. That’s especially true if you lack data backup.
Any number of factors can create downtime. Forty-five percent of unplanned downtime comes from hardware failure, 34% from software failure, 24% from data corruption, and 20% from user error. Planning and remediating these issues fall under the umbrella term business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR). Arguably the most critical component of BCDR is data backup.
Imagine if you suddenly lost every client record, every purchase order, every financial transaction history, every contact detail for clients and suppliers alike. Work would grind to a halt as your entire company scrambled to recreate the data. And files aren’t the only things at risk.
Your entire operating system, including applications, settings, preferences, and so on, would have to be reinstalled and reconfigured. This remediation might even have to happen in person, which could be a significant problem if you’ve moved to a largely work-from-home model.
Putting a data backup plan and system in place can save you time and money … and maybe your business itself.
What exactly is data backup?
Data backup is simply copying data from one primary device to another secondary device to restore that data in the case of failure, loss, destruction, or cyber-attack. There are a few distinctions in types of data backup you need to know.
File Backup vs. Full System (Image) Backup: What You’re Backing Up
Document or file backup is the storage of strictly files and folders on either an on-premise or cloud server (see below). This kind of backup ensures your documents and files are available in the event of some hardware malfunction, but not your device’s operating system, applications, or any other system-related data.
File backup typically requires less storage and processing power on the server, which equals cost savings. It often takes less time to restore only files rather than an entire system. And usually, a software backup application is not required. You can drag and drop files, making it easier to accomplish for the average user without involving your IT team.
File backup is best suited for day-to-day use, such as accidental file deletion, data corruption, or multi-user overwrites. It is inadequate to handle a complete system recovery in malfunction, natural disaster, or other significant incidents.
Trying to recover data from a file backup is often significantly slower than from an image backup. While this may not seem like a big deal, workflow coming to a standstill while your IT team feverishly works to recover each device is majorly disruptive to business operations.
A complete system or image backup is the storage of files AND systems-related data. This type of backup essentially makes a mirror image copy of an entire device.
Image backup allows for much quicker restoration of destroyed, damaged, or lost devices. Recreating the foundational system information isn’t required. Image backup is essential when recovering large data sets, like multiple devices or shared company resources.
Since image backups copy both files and systems data, information reloads to the original device (or a new device) all at once. Usually, a software application is necessary to manage the recovery, which offers the valuable option of restoring only a subset of data (instead of all files) in a time-effective way. For this reason, image backup is what’s typically meant by the term “data backup” and is highly recommended for every business.
Local vs. Cloud-based Backup: Where You’re Backing Up
Local backup refers to either a file or image backup stored in an on-premises server, tape, disc, flash drive, or other memory devices. Local backup allows you to control access to your stored data. So, it’s more secure in that unknown people in some datacenter can’t physically reach your equipment. Since it doesn’t rely on an internet connection to supply the data, it’s often quicker to perform a recovery.
Because of the ease of access and non-reliance on internet connectivity, local backup is a critical component of a BCDR plan. However, relying solely on local backup is unwise. Natural disasters, ransomware or malware infections on the local network, and insider threats can compromise on-premises devices. The best practice is to use a hybrid approach of local storage devices as well as cloud-based storage.
Cloud-based backup refers to a file or image backup stored in a remote server. While technically, this could mean an off-site server residing at a business’s secondary location, it typically indicates servers owned by a third-party cloud services provider. Cloud-based data backups are cost-effective, widely available, and easily implemented and managed. As noted above, you should use them in conjunction with a local backup because they’re dependent on an internet connection.
The biggest drawback to cloud-based solutions is cybersecurity. There are more points of access for cybercriminals to exploit with off-site hosting. These risks must be appropriately understood and planned for before implementing cloud-based data backup. It’s an essential component of your data backup plan.
Data Backup Plan: Why, When, & How You’re Backing Up
A data backup plan is a pre-defined policy of what sort of backups you’ll do, where you’ll store the data, how often you’ll perform backups, how and what you’ll restore in the event of a failure, security measures, and oh, so much more. A DB plan is critical for any meaningful and successful implementation. Find out the essential components of a data backup plan here. Where are you directing?
Why do I need data backup?
If we haven’t made it clear, data backup gives your business a quick way to recover from hardware/software failure, data corruption, user error, power loss, and cyber-attack. “90% of businesses without a disaster recovery plan in place will fail after a disaster,” reports Touche Ross.
The longer a restoration takes, the more money your business is losing. Unplanned downtime can cost up to $17,000 per MINUTE. More than 50% of companies experience downtime lasting longer than a day in the last five years. That’s not the kind of math anyone wants to do.
So, what do I do about data backup?
You’ve got several options when you’re ready to take the plunge.
- Go the DIY route: Procure, install, and manage your hardware. Create and implement your DB plan. Perform, monitor, and test your backups regularly. Execute your recovery under pressure in the event of an incident.
- Go directly to a data backup provider: Receive pre-configured hardware, cloud backup, and specialized software application for handling data backups. Create and implement your data backup plan with guidance. Handle your network interconnectivity, run your backups, and execute your recovery with assistance.
- Go to an IT Managed Service Provider: Receive expert guidance to create a data backup plan from someone who understands the big pictures of your business and your network. Hand off full responsibility for procurement, installation, management, monitoring, test backups, and recovery. Sleep well at night.
If you’re looking for an IT company near you to support you with data backup, talk to us. IntermixIT delivers award-winning data backup services to clients throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and even national locations. Give us 13 minutes to discuss your business continuity and disaster recovery needs. We’ll give you a recommendation on how to implement a plan that could save your business. It’s all part of driving your IT success.