Data backups are an important part of any business continuity plan. Having data backups protects your company from data loss by ensuring you always have a copy of important data, enabling you to bounce back quickly from any disaster.
To help your business develop and maintain a robust and effective backup system, we will discuss the most common mistakes to avoid when backing up data.
1. Relying on a single backup medium
There are many storage options for keeping copies of your files. These include compact discs, flash drives, and cloud storage. However, each of these solutions has its disadvantages. For example, physical backup devices like external hard drives are susceptible to physical damage, loss, and theft. On the other hand, cloud backups may be better protected against physical risks, but they are vulnerable to data security issues like data leakage and sharing servers with other users. Given these, you should store backups on at least two different types of media to minimize the risk of data loss.
2. Not having an off-site backup
If all of your data backups are located on site, then they’re all at risk of being lost or damaged in the event of a disaster. That’s why you should have at least one backup stored in a different location, such as in the cloud or an off-site data center.
To keep your data safe from any disaster, follow the 3-2-1 backup rule:
- Maintain three copies of data (i.e., the original and two copies).
- Save your backups on two different types of media.
- Have at least one backup off site.
3. Forgetting to test backups regularly
Your backup system shouldn't just be optimized for saving copies of your data, it must also excel at restoring lost data. So that you don't struggle to recover data after a disaster, don't forget to regularly test your backup system.
Testing confirms that you meet regulatory requirements, as well as your recovery point objective and recovery time objective. Test for common issues like misconfiguration, and take the necessary corrective action.
Backup testing is also necessary in the following scenarios:
- Before and after a system change or upgrade
- After an outage
- Before rolling out a new system
You don’t have to test restoring a whole environment each time, though, as doing so can be time-consuming and disruptive. Instead, you can conduct a full test on a monthly or weekly basis, and run more frequent smaller-scale tests for critical systems, applications, and data.
4. Not having a backup strategy
You can avoid plenty of backup mistakes by having a comprehensive backup strategy. In designing and implementing a backup strategy, answer the following questions:
- What data do you need to back up? Which data is critical for your organization to survive, operate, and thrive?
- How often do you need to back up data?
- Where will you store your backups?
- How will you integrate your chosen backup solution into your IT systems and processes?
- Who are the key personnel in charge of implementing your data backup strategy?
- How and how often will you verify that your backup and restore processes are running smoothly?
Failing to train key personnel
The success of your backup strategy relies heavily on the people who are implementing it, so you need to train these key personnel regularly. Otherwise, they might commit common mistakes like forgetting to back up regularly. Providing them with proper training ensures that they thoroughly understand the strategy and what is expected of them.
Maintaining a reliable data backup system can be complicated, so it’s best to leave this task to the IT experts at SpectrumWise. We can help you develop a sound data backup strategy and system that will enable your business to quickly recover after any disaster. Schedule a consultation with us today.