Your computer is wiped clean. Get back up with backups.

Imagine walking into the office on a Monday morning and seeing that your computer has nothing on it. That weeks’ worth of complex excel calculations? Gone. Your client project that needs to get out the door today? Disappeared. The long list of unread emails? Poof. (Even though you might not be so upset about that).

If this happened to you, would you be furiously scrambling or cool, calm, and collected? There’s a simple way to make sure you’re always the latter: frequent data backups.

Since yesterday was World Backup Day, we’re reminding you why it’s so critically important that your data is backed up and recoverable, and the different types of backups to consider.

What is a backup?

Backups are just a second copy of all your important files stored elsewhere for safe keeping. Instead of being all in one place, like on your computer. there is a duplicate in a separate locationm like a data center, the cloud, or on another storage device.

Why should I backup my data?

Regular backups are vital insurance against a data-loss catastrophe. Whether it’s due to a lost or stolen laptop, a natural disaster, or a corrupted hard drive – data loss occurs all the time. One small issue can quickly compound and destroy the files you put a lot of work into.

A simple backup isn’t enough.

With the increased prevalence of cyber crime and ransomware attacks, it’s important to think about how your backup solution can handle a security incident. Ransomware attacks aren’t localized to a single device. They quickly replicate to primary file servers and are distributed across the network to other machines. Advanced attacks can also target distributed storage, like your One Drive or Dropbox accounts that infect all machines that sync to the file share.

Since standard backup software will simply backup anything on the server, if your server is infected – your backup will become infected as well. Since backups have limited space to store previous versions, ransomware can displace previous, clean version history – leaving only corrupted data from which to backup. Scenarios like this are why effective backup strategies need to be built into your disaster recovery plan.

Building a backup strategy for your business

Developing a solid backup policy requires an investment of time and money, but the cost is far less than the nightmare of recreating data. A few key items to think about are:

What data is being backed up?

  • Give crucial data highest priority. Using a solution like StorageCraft’s File Backup and Recovery with Backup Analyzer can use intelligent data analytics to recognize which files on a computer are critical and those that are not to reduce the backup and recovery time.

Where is your data being backed up?

  • On-premise and off-site (remote backups) are equally important. If something should happen to your local on-premise backup, you will need to gain access to your data from a remote off-site location.

How often should backups occur?

  • Depending upon your organization and how risk-averse you are to downtime, you will need to balance your backup time frame with cost and storage space. Some organizations cannot afford to be down longer than 15-minutes, while others can be without data access for an hour or even a day. Give thought to determining your threshold.

What types of backups will occur?
There are various types of backups from which you can select:

  • Full Backup — As the name implies, this type of backup makes a copy of all data to another location.
  • Incremental — An Incremental Backup will copy only the data that has changed since the last backup operation of any type. The modified time stamp on files is typically used and compared to the time stamp of the last backup.
  • Differential — A differential backup is like an incremental in that the first time it is performed, it will copy all data changed from the previous backup. However, each time it is run afterwards, it will continue to copy all data changed since the previous full backup. That means it will store more data than an Incremental on subsequent operations. However, this is typically far less than a full backup. While full backups are the most complete, they are more time-consuming and require more storage.

Who is responsible for monitoring and testing your backups?

Just because you set up a backup schedule, do not presume it is always 100% successful. It is imperative that your backups are monitored for completion and tested to ensure they’ve completed correctly. Testing your plan before you need it will allow you to sleep better at night knowing that you are ready in the event of hacking or system failure.

Working with your IT partner to develop an efficient and effective backup strategy is essential to the data integrity and reputation of your organization. Your IT partner can do a deep data dive into where your data is stored, your willingness to experience extended downtime and other factors before implementing the most appropriate plan. Spending time in planning, saves time and heartache in the future.

To mark World Backup Day, make sure you have a plan to get your business back up when it goes down. Talk to Summit today to get started.

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Lee Snead

Lee Snead is Summit's Content Marketing Specialist, and brings cyber-security awareness and training expertise from his days as a security awareness program lead for a Fortune 500 company. Lee focuses on quality content creation, photography, videography, and impactful communications that turn complex IT topics into easily consumable ideas. When he's not writing or filming, he's out on the water. Surfing, kayaking, and SUPing are this St. Louis native's forte.

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