The elements of a strong backup strategy for your business
When disaster strikes, a lot of businesses never reopen their doors again due to massive losses. Most of the time, this happens because they failed to prepare in advance with a comprehensive backup strategy and business continuity plan. In other cases, businesses might have had plans in place, but these were too outdated and irrelevant to be useful. Some companies even mistakenly assume that having another copy of business data in an external hard drive counts as an effective backup strategy, only to see it fail when it’s needed.
To ensure your company’s survival, you must establish a strong backup strategy that incorporates recovery and continuity to minimize long-term disruption to your operations. Here are five crucial steps to achieving that:
Multiple locations and devices
The 3-2-1 backup strategy isa good starting point, since it involves having three backups of your data. Two of these are stored on different media, while another is stored in an off-site location, typically in the cloud.
Maintaining a local backup is good for less serious cases, since it can help you recover your data quickly, but it’s far too risky to rely on entirely. You should always have at least one up-to-date copy of your business data in the cloud, and many experts recommend having two or three, hence the 3-2-2 and 3-2-3 backup strategies.
Clear recovery objectives
A backup strategy is only of any practical use if you think about recovery as well. After all, you need to think about how long it will actually take you to recover lost data before your business suffers serious losses.
For some systems, even a day might be too long. That’s why you must consider your recovery objectives and priorities. The two most important metrics here are your recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs), which determine how much data you can afford to lose and the maximum amount of downtime your business can tolerate, respectively.
Regularly scheduled backups
Defining your RPOs will dictate how frequently you should schedule your backups. An RPO of 24 hours, for example, requires maintaining backups of your data that are no older than 24 hours. Another reason it’s important to choose your RPOs carefully is that backups take time and can themselves cause disruption. You need to find the optimal compromise between risk and reward, since your data synchronization processes shouldn’t, for example, consume all your available bandwidth during normal working hours.
Security by design
A common mistake is backing up data and then forgetting about it until you actually need it. As such, backup archives are often poorly protected, making them a top target for attackers. The more backups you have, the larger the target on your back grows.
That said, you should never compromise on your backup strategy. Instead, you should ensure they’re secure by design. Backups should be encrypted automatically, including while data is in transit from your local network to a remote cloud storage facility. User accounts should also be protected by multifactor authentication (MFA) to prevent unauthorized access.
Ongoing testing and review
A backup and disaster recovery strategy isn’t something you document once and then never think about again. Business technology infrastructures change all the time, and it’s essential that you update your backup strategy accordingly. A robust strategy is only as good as it is current, and failing to back up a new system can leave serious holes in your plan. Be sure to review your strategy regularly, especially after making any significant infrastructure changes, and update the plan as required.
Online Computers provides the full range of business continuity services your company needs to prepare for unpredictable events. Get in touch today to talk about your technology needs.
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