A data backup plan helps you ensure your business can resume operations quickly and efficiently in the event of a system failure, on-site disaster, cyberattack, or another occurrence that could compromise your access to and the integrity of your data.
In today’s data-driven world, every business needs a robust data backup strategy and plan. A data backup plan helps you ensure your business can resume operations quickly and efficiently in the event of a system failure, on-site disaster, cyberattack, or another occurrence that could compromise your access to and the integrity of your data.
Businesses rely on digital technology to propel operations. Sales teams use customer relationship management (CRM) and other systems to manage customer data. Many accounts payable (AP) teams handle procurement through online AP platforms and even those who don’t make electronic payments and store procurement-related data in standalone applications. And to market your business effectively, marketers and PR staff must aggregate and analyze the data they receive from various sources, including your businesses’ website and social media profiles, other relevant social media pages, ads, customer service feedback, and market research, among others.
Indeed, every corner of your business now has data flows it must manage. No matter how much you invested in establishing your IT infrastructure, your systems will not run indefinitely without interruption. Businesses of all sizes and in all industries are vulnerable to system errors, physical natural disasters, and cyberattacks, among other threats. Any of these threats could prevent employees from accessing your data for extended periods or even result in the loss of critical data you need to operate.
Data loss is expensive. When you lose customer data, you lose revenue opportunities. Depending on the nature of the loss, your reputation may take a hit, further impairing your sales efforts. Or you could open yourself up to costly litigation or regulatory penalties and fees. Further, trying to recover or restore data without recent data backups is expensive, not to mention time-consuming. And every hour you spend trying to recover your data is an hour your competition has to snatch customers, sales, and market share from you.
It’s critical for your business’s success that you and your employees have access to your data at all times. Having a backup plan can help you quickly reestablish this access in case of an emergency. While every business’ IT environment is configured, there are some common attributes each plan should have.
Your data must be backed up as frequently as possible. If you must restore your data from backups but only back up your data once a month, you’ll be working with data as much as a month out of date, which will impair your efforts to resume operations.
Your backups should be located off-site rather than on-premise. If your backups are kept on-site and a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, strikes, your backups will be just as vulnerable to the damage as your data center is.
Not only should your data be backed up off-site, but you should also avoid backing up your data solely on servers when possible. Complement backups on off-site physical storage devices with third-party cloud-based backup solutions. Using a third-party solution can provide you with the physical and online security your backed-up data needs without cannibalizing your existing IT staff to maintain a separate set of backup servers.
You will have wasted a good deal of time, effort, and money if, when you retrieve your backup data after a disaster, you learn that it’s been compromised. Ensure that the data you’re backing up is free of viruses and malware by ensuring your antivirus and anti-malware software are regularly updated. And safeguard your backup data from hacking efforts by encrypting it.
Routine Test Restore
You must incorporate a regular routine of testing your ability to restore your data. Not only does this help you ensure that your backup plan is safeguarding your data as intended. It can help you identify unanticipated issues that may compromise the integrity of your backup data. Moreover, practicing restoring your data at your leisure can help prepare you to do so quickly in an emergency.
Until the Internet era, disasters were physical in nature, be they a flood or a worksite shooting. Yet even though cybercrime rates are rising, costing businesses billions, too many business leaders fail to incorporate cyber incidents, be they a cyberattack or a system-wide malfunction, into their emergency preparedness response and business continuity plans. Your backup recovery plan should be central to emergency planning efforts, not sitting on a shelf in an IT department’s closet.
Even if you establish a solid backup data plan, you could still lose invaluable data in the event a disaster strikes. How? Suppose an employee finds your customer relationship management system clunky, downloads some of its customer information on a spreadsheet, and begins updating it. Housed in a master file stored on an employee’s desktop, this spreadsheet grows to contain invaluable information about customer accounts. Yet, none of the information is being fed back to your (regularly backed up) CRM. If you do not have one in place, you must establish a data governance policy that establishes how all users must utilize data and how it should be managed to ensure your business information remains complete and secure.
Businesses, especially small and midsize businesses, often lack the time, resources, and expertise to develop the kind of robust data backup recovery systems their organizations require. But working with an experienced IT business solutions provider can help.
We at Centerpoint IT have spent the past fifteen years developing IT solutions for Georgia’s business community. We can help you develop and implement the data backup strategy and business continuity plan that’s right for your company to ensure that you can quickly restore your data when disaster strikes. We also offer managed IT support services and expert IT consulting to help businesses manage their data securely and effectively and grow their business.
If you need assistance developing the right data backup and recovery plan, data governance plan, or other help managing and safeguarding your IT assets, contact us today.