Today more than ever, companies face numerous threats to their data in the form of data breaches, outages, cyberattacks and even natural disasters. To avoid extensive losses and keep business running, teams must develop adequate backup strategies that safeguard against unexpected events.
Here are five steps you can take to establish a solid backup strategy:
1. Define your backup needs
When creating a backup strategy, consider the following factors to ensure your company’s unique needs are covered:
Risk: Depending on your geographical location, your business may be more susceptible to natural disasters. For example, companies along the coast can suffer greater data loss due to hurricane activity. And when it comes to digital threats like cyberattacks, certain industries like financial services and healthcare are targeted more frequently than others.
Infrastructure: Once you know your risks, you can determine whether you need a cloud backup or onsite backup solution. While cloud backups are the preferred solution for most organizations, some clients in highly regulated industries – government, military and finance – operate under strict security regulations that don’t allow some of their most sensitive materials to be stored in the cloud.
Frequency: Most businesses must conduct backups at least once every day, but the frequency of your backups should match your recovery point objective (RPO), which is the maximum amount of time your organization has to recover from data loss based on the last backup. Understanding your RPO will help determine how often to back up your data.
Compliance: Government regulations increasingly affect how companies store and use customer, employee, and sensitive health and financial data, which can make it difficult to keep up with internal and external compliance requirements. Regulations like HIPAA, for example, require exact copies of electronic Protected Health Information (PHI) to be backed up securely. In addition, these backups should be frequent, tested, secure, encrypted and stored offsite.
Storage: How much data do you need to store, and how quickly is your data growing? Storing large datasets for an extended period of time will require ample space, and some backup vendors limit the amount of data you can back up. Additionally, your business may have regulatory requirements that dictate what should be saved and how it's stored.
2. Budget for your backup plan
Since not all backup services cost the same, develop a budget before committing to a solution. By doing this, you can determine how much the company is willing to spend on a backup solution and whether it will be a capital or operating expense. All cloud backup services charge a fee often connected to the number of users or total amount of data being backed up.
Also, make sure to address the indirect costs associated with a new plan, such as those related to training employees who manage your backup solution.
3. Choose a data backup vendor
While it’s possible for your organization to implement a backup solution without assistance, a third-party backup vendor can help ensure you implement it correctly and effectively. Some providers offer hardware, software and cloud-based solutions, while others specialize in just one option.
When evaluating backup providers, inquire about what services they offer, how much they charge, their reputation, and the estimated timeframe for implementation. Most importantly, make sure the solution you choose gives you independent access to your data at all times. Once you have this crucial information, you can decide which provider is best for your individual needs. If you use Salesforce, check out our Buyer’s Guide For Backup and Recovery, which breaks down all of the factors to consider.
4. Implement your data backup plan
After choosing a backup platform, consider what role your company has to play in implementing the strategy. Vendors take considerably different approaches to helping new customers successfully adopt and deploy their solutions.
Some simply send customers a user guide, while others require customers to engage consultants to drive costly and unwieldy deployment projects. Consider a solution that allows you to get up and running right away, with no extra costs for doing so, and a support team that can help you should you need it.
5. Test your data backup plan
Once you’ve outlined and defined a backup plan, you need to test it to verify that it works. One way to do this would be to simulate a data loss (where data is deleted) and a data corruption (where data is updated).
Then, using the current backup you have in place, retrieve the lost and corrupted data, and insert that data back into your system. Make note of how much data was lost (your RPO) and how long it took to recover your data (your recovery time objective, or RTO). Running these tests regularly will equip your company to confidently handle different data loss scenarios.
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If you need a comprehensive and stress-free backup solution for your organization, Own helps protect your mission-critical data, speed up projects and save money on security.