Effective Backup and Recovery Planning for Small and Medium Businesses
A backup and recovery strategy plan is a comprehensive, documented plan that helps a company to protect itself against all security issues (including security issues related to backups) and recover from data loss or system failure.
This plan should be put in place before any disaster strikes so that it becomes easier for the company to recover. It should include a detailed description of the process, steps to complete the process, and all necessary resources.
The question is, where do you start? Just how do you create an effective backup and recovery strategy plan?
What are the benefits of using a backup and recovery strategy plan?
Data backup is a crucial step in any business plan. It helps to protect your corporate data from natural disasters, human error, and malicious operators. A data backup should ensure that if you lose data, your business can recover from an unexpected data loss event quickly and continue work with minimal (or no) interruptions.
With an effective backup and recovery plan in place, you will:
Ensure that all the data your business maintains is protected from loss
Always have alternate copies in case data is corrupted
Be protected against natural disasters that may close your business
Be better placed to maintain your reputation
Be protected against the worst effects of a data loss incident
Your step-by-step guide to backup and recovery strategy planning
When devising your backup and recovery plan, you’ll need to consider everything that could go wrong and cause data loss from your systems, network, and backup storage. This could be a natural disaster, such as a fire; or it can be human error, such as an accidental deletion; or it could be caused by a cyber-attack.
You’ll need to consider which data is most important and must be backed up, how often, and what regulations (if any) apply to your business data. A backup and recovery strategy should also contain steps for how to recover data from corrupted disks or other hardware failures.
With so much to think about, and so much at stake, it’s not surprising that many small and medium businesses (who may not have the budget to recruit an inhouse team of cybersecurity experts) turn to experienced and dedicated cybersecurity firms like Millennium Tech to help them with backup and recovery strategy planning.
These six steps will help your business design an effective backup and recovery strategy plan.
Step #1: Evaluate your backup options (hardware, software, or the cloud)
The first step in creating an effective backup and recovery strategy plan is to evaluate your backup options. There are many ways to backup data these days so it can be difficult to know which option is best for you.
Depending on your needs, you may need hardware or software backups as well as cloud storage backups.
Step #2: Choose a vendor/platform
Choosing a backup and recovery vendor/platform is one of the most important decisions that you will make. It is crucial to find a vendor that offers the features and functionality you need to ensure your data is safe. Here are a few questions to answer:
What kind of features do you need?
What type of data does the vendor store?
What kind of storage solutions does it offer?
Does the company offer any additional services like disaster recovery, email archiving, or cloud migration?
What are the costs?
The vendor/platform you select should:
Help you with all your backup and recovery needs.
Provide a solution for both physical and virtual environments.
Provide an uncomplicated way for you to restore data in case of a disaster.
Provide a straightforward way for you to migrate data from one environment to another.
Be able to work with various data types, such as databases, files, emails, etc.
Step #3: Design a backup implementation schedule
How often should you backup your corporate data? This will depend on several factors, including the type of data you hold, how you hold it, and any regulatory requirements. The rule of thumb here is to employ a backup schedule that reduces your business risk the most:
A full backup is the most comprehensive backup type. This backs up every file in your company’s system every time you run a full backup.
An incremental backup stores the changes to data that have been made since the previous backup. In an incremental backup, changes to existing files and folders and new data are saved during the backup.
In this type of backup, you’ll create a backup of the previous backup, and include changes made since that previous backup.
Step #4: Build a recovery plan
Your backup and recovery strategy should include items such as data retention policies, offsite storage, and all other related aspects of data protection. And it must align with your overall disaster recovery plan.
An effective way to ensure that the backup and recovery plan aligns with the company’s disaster recovery plan is to create a table that lists all the components of both plans side by side to compare them while considering:
Step #5: Train your employees
The fifth step in creating an effective backup and recovery strategy is to train your employees.
You should provide training for them on how to backup data as well as how to recover it. Training your employees will improve their awareness of the importance of backing up data and will also make it a routine process so that they don’t forget to do it.
Training should include:
What steps are required for a successful backup procedure?
What steps are required for a successful recovery procedure?
What is the best way to avoid data loss?
Step #6: Test and review your backups
A backup and recovery strategy should be assessed regularly to make sure that you have a reliable plan in place.
There are three main things to evaluate:
Your backup processes
Your recovery processes
The data on the backup
When evaluating your backups, you should evaluate for their integrity, accessibility, and usability:
The first step in evaluating the integrity of a backup is to restore it. If you can’t restore it, then the backup is not valid and therefore unusable.
An effective way to evaluate the accessibility of a backup is by creating an archive, extracting it, and then checking if all the files are there.
To assess the usability of a backup, you can try to open some files in your archive or extract them into a folder on your computer.
The Necessity of a Backup and Recovery Strategy in Today’s Digital World
A data breach can cost your company millions of dollars in lost revenue, time spent rebuilding customer trust, and legal fees.
An effective backup and recovery strategy plan can help your business return to normal operations quickly, protecting your reputation and revenues. Therefore, a backup and recovery strategy is a crucial part of any business because it’s not just about protecting data; it’s about protecting your company’s bottom line and its future.
At Millennium Tech, we specialize in helping small and medium enterprises secure their data against data loss to ensure that they recover quickly, protect their reputation, and continue to operate fully as soon as possible after any data loss incident.
Contact us today to ensure your company is fully protected.