How Often Should I review My Backups?

How Often Should I review My Backups?

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Are you 100% confident that your current backups will save you when you need them to?

Ensuring your data and systems are backed up and recoverable is of the utmost importance. The frequency and speed of backups though will vary according to your tolerance level to data loss and the time it takes to get your data or systems back and operational. It is alarming how many businesses don’t pay serious attention to their data protection and recovery plans until after it is too late.

Whether it is undervaluing the need to backup data, unawareness of the damage to productivity, or fearful of the assumed costs involved, backup strategies are grossly underutilised.

Traditional backups are fraught with risks, such as hardware faults, data corruption and information loss. Backing up to USB thumb drives, other external drives and free cloud tools are simply asking for trouble from both a reliability and security perspective.

We see a vast number of small and medium sized businesses implement a manual “offsite” backup procedure, whereby a nominated staff member takes backups home with them of an evening. This is dangerous and essentially welcomes human error into the fray. Faults often go unchecked, backup drives can get lost in transit and are often left in non-secure locations like the kitchen bench or a car glove box. This method relies on staff members remembering to change disks/drives or tapes daily or weekly and is not a scalable option as your data grows – statistically, most businesses are experiencing data growth at rates of 20-50% per annum. Not to mention that it is one more unnecessary task that a staff member needs to inherit alongside their numerous other responsibilities.

One of the more commonly underestimated backup functions we see is the independent backup of critical data such as email files and documents. Whilst most business users will likely utilise a Google Workspace or Office365 platform for operational tasks, these platforms alone are not a backup solution. In fact, Office365 has a standard 30-day retention period only, meaning that if anything catastrophic was to occur to company documents or emails, the business could only recoup 30 days of data at best.

In addition, business continuity is often overlooked which results in lengthy outages in the event of a disaster before the business is operational again.

Cost effective, less risky, simple to set up technologies exist today that provide safer and more reliable solutions than older traditional methods.

A better way.

An easy to implement example is a managed online backup storage service. These solutions use backup software that incorporates an automated verification check on your backup data, replicates your backup data to an offsite platform, and the provider of the service can monitor, maintain and perform simulated periodic recovery tests for you. This increases your ability to recover quickly, and improves your level of confidence that “Plan B” will work as required (just in case you have a problem with you locally stored backups). This method also allows for improved disaster recovery capabilities as you now have a real option to restore data and/or systems in the event that you suffer an unrecoverable failure with your primary systems; or worse, fall victim to a cyber security threat.

This technology can also include Business Continuity services to allow you to continue working from replicas in the cloud until your local environment has been recovered.

Putting a series of sticks in the ground does not constitute a fence.

Before you embark on the journey of re-vamping your data and system backup strategy, be sure to do your homework and talk to someone who specialises in these projects. Transferring data to an offsite location (effectively via the internet) means you will have to be conscious that it will impact your internet network bandwidth and data consumption. In other words, backups during prime time may compromise internal work flows so out-of-hours backups is typically preferred. You will also have to be comfortable with the level of security implemented for your backup data while it is in transit (over the internet) or at rest in the cloud provider you choose. Your cloud provider’s facility is also of importance. Make sure your data is stored in a facility that is at least a government certified secure data centre and complies with your data sovereignty needs.

With the rapid increase in data consumption, and ever-increasing availability requirements of every business, start the conversation with your trusted IT provider as to the effectiveness and suitability of your existing IT Systems and Data Backup procedures. Maybe nothing needs to change, but neglecting it can only end in a manner that will have you wishing you hadn’t.

If you are not 100% confident that your backups have you covered against financial, operational and reputational damage from a lengthy and preventable outage, contact Aryon here. One of our specialists will offer a no-obligation data management assessment for businesses across Australia and New Zealand. 

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