Operating your business online comes with a few catches. Security is one of the biggest of these catches. This involves a lot of talk about things like SSL encryption, denial of service attacks, and database management best practices.
Yet, while securing data for business gets a lot of attention, you hear less about data backup solutions. This is strange since common cyber threats include problems like ransomware and internal fraud. Both of these threats can jeopardize your data itself or access to your data.
Plus, more mundane threats like power outages or flooding can threaten your computers, servers, and the data they contain. Worried about your data? Keep reading for some tips on backing up your data.
1. Data Selection
Before you commit yourself to any particular strategy, you must determine ahead of time what data you must save. Focus on essentials.
You’ll want a copy of any proprietary information. The same goes for any data or files you can’t easily reconstruct from scratch. Make sure you include financial information and customer information.
Once you settle on the data you must save, organize your computer so you can access that data easily. Hunting for that information will prove tedious, especially if you start with manual backups.
2. Manually Backup Data on a USB Drive
One of the less expensive solutions for on-site backup is a humble USB drive. You can get a 512 GB or 1TB thumb-drive online for a reasonable price. Most computer hard drives won’t contain more irreplaceable files or data than 1 TB.
It’s simple for you to plug in the thumb drive and manually copy over the essential files. The pitfall of this approach is that also means you must make this part of your daily routine. You should also manually delete the data on the drive so you get a fresh save every day.
3. Off-Site Physical Backup
Maintaining an off-site physical backup takes more work and planning, so you need a plan for it. Even so, it’s worth the effort.
Let’s say that a fire breaks out in your office. It can destroy your computers and your backup thumb drive. In that kind of catastrophe, storing data off-site saves you from starting over from scratch.
Develop a basic procedure for off-site data storage. For example, you can save your whole hard drive to an external hard drive every Friday and take it home with you. While most businesses still default to PCs, cloning mac hard drive is also possible.
4. Leverage the Cloud
One of the benefits of the cloud is that it offers a lot of storage space and it’s off-site. So, you can save more data than might prove practical on a thumb drive.
The save process also negates the need for taking a physical copy home with you. Your data goes off-site onto the cloud company’s servers.
Odds are good that those servers will survive most local disasters. They’ll definitely survive any catastrophe in your own offices. Good cloud storage providers will also mirror the data to several servers.
In the best-case scenario, those mirrored servers are in separate locations. That helps prevent loss in the event of a catastrophe at one of the company’s data centers.
You can add automation to your backup process as well. For example, you can automate copying data to an on-site drive or computer.
Most cloud storage providers also provide automation options, such as:
- Daily backups
- Weekly backups
- Monthly backups
These options give you some flexibility in what you save and when. Rapidly changing data, such as new orders or new customer data, should receive daily backups. You can take a less aggressive approach with data that only occasionally changes, such as employee files or tax records.
6. Assign Someone to Backup Duty
While you might take on the task of the weekly off-site backup yourself, a daily manual backup takes time you can spend on more productive activities. Make that daily on-site backup part of someone’s job. Pick someone reliable that you trust.
It’s also very easy for everyone to take it for granted that automated cloud backups always happen. They are an automated process after all.
Don’t assume that process happens just because it’s automated. Someone should make periodic checks that those backups occur.
Think of it like this. You may assume that automated direct deposits happen with your paycheck, but you still check.
A company providing cloud-based services will often discover a problem because a customer calls about it. You can’t rely on the company knowing about problems 100% of the time. It’s your data, so you must take some responsibility for ensuring its survival.
7. Data Encryption
Of course, security is part of the reason you create backups. That means you need encryption on the data. Just as importantly, you should keep the method of encryption locked down to as small a circle as possible.
Encrypting data on an external hard drive or thumb drive makes accessing it much more difficult. This discourages casual internal fraud.
If someone can walk out with a drive filled with files anyone can use, it’s a temptation. A drive filled with encrypted data may or may not ever prove useful. Only someone who thinks they can decrypt it will bother as a general rule.
Encryption also reduces your risk with cloud storage. If someone intercepts some of your data in transit, they won’t get anything useful.
Backing Up Data for Business Protects You
Backing up data for business protects your business on several levels.
It protects your online business from basic problems like a drive failure or damage from electrical surges. It also protects your business from catastrophes like flooding or fire damage.
Storing data in the cloud adds another level of protection by keeping your backup well away from your location. That data remains safe from a problem in your office or a local disaster. This way, you can back up Microsoft Teams, Office 365, and whatever app you use for your business to keep it safe.
You can take that protection another step with encryption. Encryption discourages casual internal theft. It also makes intercepted data largely useless.
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