Every day, Charlotte businesses face an unprecedented risk level. File corruption, hardware and network failure, malware, and the eternal risk of natural disasters spell looming doom for small businesses. To add salt to injury, every hour of downtime caused as a result costs the business $90,000 to over $1 million on average.
Put simply, the consequences of unwarranted downtime and outage are far too high a price for Charlotte businesses looking to boost their profit margins. Anticipating the possibility of a major disruptive event in advance helps brace for uncertainty. In this post, we rounded up the best practices for data backup and recovery for Charlotte businesses – the SpectrumWise way.
- Business data backup and recovery is an essential part of the overall business strategy. Managers should consider investing in solutions that help identify, respond, and promptly mitigate the impact after a major disruptive event.
- The effects of unwarranted downtime are far-reaching, with financial and operational implications. Customer dissatisfaction and stalled operations make up the bulk of the damage control effort. Hence, a data backup and recovery strategy is deemed quite necessary for business risk planning.
- While local backups are often preferred for their cost-effectiveness, a combination of both local and cloud backups provides better coverage for your business. Still, regular testing will be required to keep your business emergency-ready.
- Outsourcing data recovery and backup to a managed service provider in Charlotte NC saves time and money in that professional IT experts bring the expertise, resources, and experience required to implement practical data backup and recovery solutions at a fraction of the cost.
Why is Data Backup So Important for Business?
Your employees need continuous access to their computer systems as your business grows. Similarly, your customers need uninterrupted access to essential services if you plan on keeping them around for the long run.
Unexpected disasters, hardware and network failures, natural disasters, and other disruptive events can get in the way of service delivery in the same way as frequent disruption would frustrate hardworking employees. Things can turn from bad to worse when essential services are not restored rapidly after downtime and your customers are left with no other option but to switch providers and seek services elsewhere.
Keeping easily retrievable copies of vital business data in secure locations (both on-site and remote) provides the means to get things back on track when disaster strikes. The information to be stored in your data may include financial records, customer data, internal and external policy documents, and any additional information collected by your business.
Choosing Your Backup Method: Go Local or Go Cloud?
With data backups, it all comes down to two options: local and cloud backups.
Local backups make use of physical media, the most popular being external hard drives. Local backups are easy to retrieve since they’re stored within the company’s reach. Data stored in a local backup can be downright impossible for hackers to gain access to without an internet connection. On the downside, however, these backups are susceptible to physical damage, fires, floods, power outages, and insider threats.
For businesses that demand greater flexibility and efficiency, cloud backups are the way to go. Copies of business data stored on a remote facility and accessible through a remote server offer more security over traditional backups. They are safer, and faster to retrieve lost data from, provided that you have the right security and automated backup tools for the job.
A combination of both local and cloud backups offers a much more reliable and practical solution. Where local backups come short in safety and security, cloud backups can make up for speed and efficiency. And where cloud backups lack in cost-effectiveness and accessibility, a local backup can be used instead.
Choosing Suitable Backup Software
Data backup software simplifies the data backup process. On average, businesses hold 347 TB of data, which can be difficult to backup and restore manually. A backup software integrated into your overall data backup and recovery strategy can help restore data quickly and resume normal operations when disaster strikes.
To start with, it is important to consider how much data needs to be backed up, and how quickly it can be made available. Here are some guiding questions to help guide your search for the best backup software for your needs:
- What type of data are you backing up? Critical or non-critical?
- How big are the data sets being backed up?
- Do you have sufficient storage space?
- How frequently do you intend to back up data?
- Does the software have sufficient encryption capabilities?
A careful thought into the software’s license agreement should help you further understand the capabilities and limitations of the backup software you choose. Keep an eye out for fine print and hidden charges.
Set Up a Regular Backup Schedule
Nowadays, it is no longer enough to back up vital business data once a night, but instead, do it several times a day. Regular backups can take forever to go through on a frequent basis, especially when the company deals with vast volumes of data.
Some worthwhile solutions that can help hasten the backup process include:
- Automated backup applications hasten the backup process by minimizing or eliminating human effort altogether. Automated backup software can also retrieve the stored data much faster after a major disruption.
- Instant disk recovery facilitates faster recovery of virtual machine (VM) disks from a backup file.
- Block-level incremental backups facilitate a faster backup process. Only altered blocks of data are modified with BLI – not the entire file.
While setting up your backup schedule, consider the storage medium, location, and access controls to keep unauthorized users away from the stored data. System files and user settings can be backed up on a daily basis, alongside customer information and sales data.
Application files, too, and other documents that the organization relies on for stable operations should be backed up as frequently on external hard drives and copies of the same data stored in the cloud to supplement each other, should one get compromised.
Implementing Data Encryption – with a Touch of Endpoint Protection
Don’t count your backup strategy complete just yet, without data encryption and end-point protection. A common misconception is that data stored on endpoint devices (smartphones, laptops, and tablets) is automatically backed up and secured. In fact, the opposite is much closer to reality. Business data stored on endpoint devices may not be automatically backed up and can be vulnerable to breach.
Data encryption encodes valuable business data and only users with the correct encryption key can access it. For SaaS users, it is reasonable to assume that the burden of protecting business data and backups falls on the organization, not on the product’s manufacturer.
Some measures to add a layer of security to protect your backups include:
- Stronger passwords
- Multi-factor authentication
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for business
On the bright side, implementing endpoint protection for business software users has been further aided by the cloud. Here, IT departments can store valuable data fast and efficiently to cloud storage overseen by the IT department. That way, your IT can rapidly recover mass lost or stolen data fast and efficiently without breaking the bank.
Testing Your Recovery Plan
It goes without saying that the worst possible time to test your backup is when you need it the most. Periodic testing should be done both internally and externally to ensure all data is backed up and stored correctly and that your business data will be ready whenever you need it.
All results should be documented to ensure the process is being properly monitored. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the following outcomes:
- Data is always available when needed
- The data can be restored without loss or corruption
- Data can be restored quickly
- Data is secure during the recovery process
All these are positive signs that your backups are ready if and when needed. During these tests, the recovery processes should be monitored and any issues should be addressed. It’s also important to conduct routine inspections on the backup infrastructure to identify and fix issues sooner rather than later.
Remember, the testing process should be flexible enough to adapt to changing technology and data requirements.
Outsourcing to Data Recovery Professionals
If your company lacks the necessary resources or expertise to manage data recovery processes, outsourcing to a professional can help address the risks and concerns with data backup and recovery comprehensively.
Experienced and knowledgeable outsourced IT professionals have spent years mastering data backup and recovery and the risks involved in the process. They’re well aware of the challenges facing businesses, from cost constraints to regulatory compliance.
Because outsourced IT specialists have spent time working with multiple businesses with similar challenges, they can help you save time and money in the long run as you won’t have to worry about acquiring unnecessary infrastructure and personnel.
Even more importantly, professionals are able to navigate cybersecurity issues more efficiently. In that sense, you can have peace of mind knowing that your data is being recovered quickly and securely.
Your data backup and recovery strategy is your last line of defense when faced with uncertainty. With the right measures in place, you’ll be sure to protect your data and ensure business continuity. And if you’re still uncertain about data backup and recovery, don’t hesitate to outsource to a professional data recovery service.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my data Is properly backed up?
You can confirm your data is properly backed up by regularly testing the backup to make sure it can be accessed and restored if needed. Simulating a real-life disruptive event reveals existing gaps in your data backup and recovery process, so you can address them before real disaster strikes.
What type of data should I be backing up?
All vital business data, including financial records, customer information, sales data, email and other communications should be adequately backed up and updated regularly. Copies of the same data can be stored locally or on cloud storage for faster, safer access when they’re needed.
What are the benefits of outsourcing data recovery to professionals?
Outsourcing data recovery to professionals ensures that your business data is backed up in safe storage devices. Professionals can further retrieve lost data faster and more securely should the need arise.
Are there any hidden costs associated with backing up data?
There can be hidden costs associated with backing up data. Such costs often remain hidden in data storage fees, additional hardware purchases, and opaque service subscriptions. Your managed IT service provider can pick up on these elements and guide you toward a more cost-efficient solution.
What is the most cost-effective method of data backup and recovery?
Cloud storage is one of the most cost-effective methods of data backup and recovery. It’s secure, reliable, and cost-effective for businesses.