Understanding the need to back up your organization’s data is important. But that is just the first step. How you do your backups is even more fundamental. Poorly designed or implemented backup procedures can be just as bad as having no backups at all.
Given the catastrophic impact on a business that a failed backup and subsequent data loss would precipitate, it’s vital that executives understand just what are the key building blocks of an effective data backup process. We will list the components of successful cloud backup and recovery solutions.
The average modern organization produces tons of electronic data on a daily basis. However, all data is not created equal. There’s therefore a need to prioritize enterprise data and determine what information is most crucial for organizational survival. Remember that no company has infinite resources. The cost of setting up and running a backup procedure should therefore only cover what is needed.
Losing a folder containing photos of employees taken during an outdoor team building event is not quite the same as extensive data corruption affecting the database powering the organization’s ERP. Classifying the data allows you to assign different backup procedures for each category. Some types of data may not even be worth backing up at all.
When smartphones devices overtook desktop computers and laptops as the device most frequently used to access the internet, it was a telling sign of how far mobile computing has come. Not only are mobile devices dominating the consumer computing space, but they have made their way into the corporate world too.
With many small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) heavily dependent on smart phone apps for everything from project management to recording phone conversations, there’s now plenty of data generated and stored on mobile devices. These, as well as phone contacts, documents, videos and other sensitive items on these devices must be factored into the business’ backup routine.
Whether your backups are stored on tapes, magnetic drives, optical disks or in the cloud, the data must be logically and physically protected from unauthorized access. This does not only mean making it difficult for hackers and other malicious external parties from viewing it but also limiting the permissions of employees who work with the data every day. So, no matter what data cloud service providers you’re using, make sure their infra is secure.
Even the IT staff who are in charge of the backup process do not need to see the data in its raw unencrypted form. As much as possible, the data should be encrypted in flight and when at rest. Best practice is to use AES 256-bit encryption or better.
Backups are only as good as their usability. It is easy to get caught up in the daily, weekly and monthly backup routine and forget to test whether the backups actually work as they are expected to. If there is data corruption or wrong data, you may discover the glitch when it’s too late to rectify.
No backup process is complete if it doesn’t include a testing mechanism that follows a strict schedule. Ergo, periodically conduct trial restores of backups to be sure that not just the process works but that the data is good.
Whether you are handling bank records, credit card data or HIPAA information, it’s important that you keep track of the backup media where such data resides for the entirety of its useful life.
That includes keeping tabs on when the data was created and how soon you can legally discard it. Certain laws and industry regulations define when such data can be permanently deleted. When that time comes, the information should be destroyed in compliance with the law.
In addition, the backup media itself eventually becomes obsolete and needs to be replaced. The outdated tapes drive and disks must be physically destroyed in a way that makes it impossible for the data to be retrieved or recreated.
With the growing volume of data that needs to be backed up combined with the increasing complexity of IT systems, the need for backups will only continue to rise. The above components ensure data backups are successful and can be restored when needed.