Top 10 Key Parts of an Effective Data Backup Strategy
Data backup is a crucial practice for today’s businesses, especially as data creation and consumption rates have skyrocketed across many industries. Besides data analytics and more digital experiences with customers, various regulations affect businesses on global and local levels. And then, we have the multiple threats aimed at data, with an ever-looming potential of business disruption. Cybersecurity concerns and recent surges of extreme weather and other environmental factors combine to underline the importance of protecting data.
Since data backup is so crucial, it’s important for businesses to implement a strategy quickly, but also through a well-thought-out process. We’ve identified ten key areas of data backup planning that businesses should consider. Keep these in mind and use them as an easier guide to greater data protection.
1. Everything starts with a plan
A data backup plan is a framework for how an organization’s data will be protected. To get the most value and provide the greatest safeguards, backups should reflect a business’s needs and the type of data it has to safeguard. Creating an effective strategy requires clear communication throughout an organization, and visibility into processes. As part of planning, organizations should eliminate unnecessary silos and enable collaboration among different departments to identify risk and help build a stable and effective data backup strategy.
2. Create a data retention policy
Beyond the data needed for ongoing daily operations, organizations amass data that may be necessary on occasion, or for compliance purposes, but generally remains in storage. While the idea of indefinite storage may seem attractive, knowing when data can be destroyed is crucial to an efficient, and scalable data backup plan. Compliance, industry requirements, and needs for providing customer service and other factors influence the duration and types of records that may need to be retained. Use a collaborative process to identify actual needs and ensure that compliance requirements are met.
3. Create a disaster recovery plan
While creating a data backup plan, it is also important to consider what will happen in the event of a disaster and how to respond. Identifying RPOs and RTOs and determining retention policies provides goals, but it’s crucial to have a disaster recovery plan that outlines a response. A disaster recovery plan (DRP) helps an organization minimize downtime. It enables recovery from a disaster and provides for continuation of vital systems. Creating an effective DRP requires knowing hardware and software inventory, responsibilities and procedures to put the plan into effect.
4. Know who needs access and manage it
When it comes to data, protection starts at access. Companies should identify who needs to access any given set of data and restrict access accordingly. Access level controls are effective in protecting backed up data. These can be role-based for backup and recovery operations, and can also extend to how your systems connect to the correct backup server and avoid man-in-the-middle based attacks.
5. Know where your data resides
Effective data backup requires a clear understanding of what data exists and where it can be found. This visibility into storage is crucial for backup operations, disaster recovery, and for compliance reasons, such as GDPR and other privacy regulations. Knowing your systems and data can help protect your organization, customers, and users from cyber threats as well.
6. Use encryption
Once you understand your data risk, you can apply methods to protect vulnerabilities. Encryption protects backup data, giving an organization control over its information. While encryption is an effective tool for avoiding the potential damage of cyber threats, the process should be carefully managed.
7. Maintain a backup schedule
The investment of time and resources at the beginning of data backup planning will help avoid problems down the road, but it also helps identify unique needs, such as backup scope. This process helps determine the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – the maximum tolerable amount of data loss, which then informs how frequently backups should be carried out – and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – how fast you need to be able to recover from an event that interrupts systems. Short RPOs and RTOs will require greater backup frequency and a larger investment in storage, networking, and other technologies.
8. Test your data
An effective data backup strategy is an ongoing process. By testing backup routines and simulating disaster event response, organizations can identify potential gaps and process inefficiencies, and rectify before an actual event. Testing should also ensure that data users can access backed-up information when needed, and processes optimized to address concerns.
9. Understand costs
While it is important to have a data backup plan that offers the best performance and protection possible, the plan also has to be affordable. This doesn’t mean lowest-priced. Affordability should also encompass the potential expense of a data breach or loss. It’s possible that the plan with the most features, and the greatest protections, is the least costly in the long run. On the other hand, understanding your data backup needs can help you avoid overspending on protections or services that you might not need.
10. Avoid unlimited offers
Your data is crucial, so your backup plan should reflect it. While unlimited storage offers can seem attractive financially, it’s important to look more closely at the plan. Does it provide the breadth of services needed for compliance, security, and access? Backup planning should be comprehensive and well-planned, with cost as an important, but not prevailing, factor.
When planning your organisation’s data backup and recovery needs and goals, consider these factors carefully. Deep Blue Backup helps businesses all over the UK leverage the cloud for their data backup needs. If you are in need of data backup for your business or simply want advise about data backup, get in touch.