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The Three Best Data Backup Practices

According to a survey of 700 IT decision-makers published in September 2020, 43% reported an increase in data outages and data tampering caused by human error. Data outages and data tampering are just some examples of issues that can cause downtime and data loss for any organization.

One of the best ways to protect your organization’s data is to have a backup. We will share best practices for data backup that will answer some of your most burning questions — how often to backup, different methods, and more.

Choose Your Data Backup Method

One of the most important decisions your organization can make is which data backup method to use. There are several ways you can back up your data, so choose the best fit for your organization.

Local backups store your data on physical storage devices such as a backup appliances, external hard drives, tapes, or other media types. Local backups protect against system failure and can provide faster recovery, but leave you vulnerable if your local site resources are not available because of a broader disaster. A cloud backup occurs when you store your data online using a remote location that is managed by a third party. Cloud backups protect against local system failures and protect your data in the event of a local site disaster, but recovery can be more complex and time consuming.   To meet their backup and recovery objectives, many organizations are choosing a managed backup service using a hybrid solution.

Managed backups offer a hybrid data back method that combines local and cloud-based technology. You can also take advantage of hybrid backup solutions that include advanced security features like ransomware scanning and file system corruption detection.

Create a Data Backup Schedule

After determining your data backup method, you should create a data backup schedule. Because cloud or hybrid backups are usually stored remotely using a third party, you can usually schedule your backups as frequently as you want — daily, hourly, or even as frequently as every 5 minutes, whatever makes the most sense for your organization.

If you are storing backups locally, you should consider a few factors like how long the process will take (full backups or incremental) and how much room they will take up on your media. If your media becomes full, it may overwrite old backup data or you may need to start saving your additional backups on newer media.

Perform Regular Backup Tests

Many organizations falsely believe that the work is done once they have designed and implemented their data backup strategy. However, you cannot stop there — you need to also include a plan to test your backups.

This ensures that they are performing as expected. If an unexpected issue prevents your data from backing up as expected, you are at risk of losing any data you collected after your last successful backup. Or even worse, your organization could lose all of its data.

Determining how often to test your data depends on the volume of data you are storing as well as how data loss or downtime would impact your business. Small businesses, for example, may be able to schedule backup testing weekly or monthly. Organizations that are dealing with large amounts of data may want to set daily tests.

Conducting backup testing internally can be a time-consuming task for your internal IT staff. If backup testing falls off their radar, your company’s data hangs in the balance. The easiest and most error-proof way to ensure your backup is working as expected is to work with an IT service provider that specializes in managed backups. They can monitor your systems 24-7 to ensure they are working as expected.