What would you do if you lost everything? That might sound dramatic or alarmist, but in the digital age, it’s a question that demands an answer. And it’s the question that we implore every business leader (and for that matter, every individual with digital files) to think about as we approach World Backup Day 2018.
So what WOULD you do if you lost all of your digital records?
It’s tough to imagine, but it happens. It’s actually the reason that an independent initiative named World Backup Day got started in the first place, and is now celebrated every March.
And the difficult answer is that there isn’t much you CAN do if you’re unprepared for it. (Yelling, crying and cursing are all options, but unfortunately they won’t reverse the data loss!) It's a fairly simple equation - if you don't back up now, you're going to pay for it later. (Related Article: The Real Cost of Data Loss is More Expensive Than You Think.)
Given that, the smart question to ask is this one: What can I do NOW to prevent data loss later on?
Don't Worry About Data Loss...Plan For It
You might think that the only answer to that question is to back up your data.
But we think there’s a more important first step involved, and that is to accept the fact that you’re not immune to data loss.
Because despite the ever-present cyber risks threatening anyone with an email address, despite the fact that sometimes computer hardware simply fails, and despite the fact that human error is responsible for a large percentage of all data loss events, too many businesses (and people) fail to prioritize data backups management simply because they think that this will never happen to them.
That is, of course, until it does.
It doesn’t actually matter if it’s due to a natural disaster, a fire in the server room, a spilled cup of coffee or a cyber attack because the end result is the same – your data is gone.
And once that happens, it’s back to question #1, which as we’ve already established doesn’t really have a favorable outcome.
The second step then is a simple decision, which is to make sure that your data IS backed up. Take proactive action.
However, while the decision may be simple, proper data backups management for a modern business isn’t a “set it and forget it” process. In order words, it’s not quite as simple anymore as running backup tapes and storing them offsite.
Now decisions need to be made around your desired Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which essentially dictates the age of the data you’re recovering from (the recovery point) and how long it takes to restore it (recovery time).
In other words, you need to decide how much data you can afford to lose (An hour? A day? A week?) and then structure your backups in such a way that you don’t risk losing more than that.
And as the word restore would indicate, it’s not about just backing up your data either; it’s also about having a plan to access it when you need it. Making the third step the development of a recovery plan.
Best practice for business today is a hybrid solution for data backups management. (Check out a short video for more on this topic. Corsica's managed IT customers are all covered with our layered data backups management solutions.)
With a hybrid solution you can backup up the entire network to a local device, but also have redundant cloud storage to protect at minimum your business critical data against equipment failure and cyber-attacks.
We also recommend (and run) bare metal backups vs. file-level backups due to the increased recovery time for file-level.
Finally, all back ups need to be tested on a regular basis. A failed data backup becomes another data loss event if it's not resolved. Don’t just assume they’re working, make sure that they are.
Other Data Loss Considerations: MOBILE
In the age of smartphones, any review of your data backups management should factor in mobile devices.
According to the stats provided by World Backup Day, 113 mobile phones are lost or stolen every minute. If that device contains sensitive company data, you could have 2 problems.
One is that if the information on that device isn't backed up, it could be lost forever. Two is that it could fall into the wrong hands. So be sure all your devices are connected to an automatic backup (such as iCloud for iPhones, iPads), or that you manually back them up nightly, and that you have taken steps to enable a remote wipe feature for additional data protection.
More About World Backup Day
Officially World Backup Day is recognized on March 31st, but unofficially, it should be every day, as a good backup plan isn’t just a one-time event. It's a day for people to learn about the increasing role of data in our lives, and the importance or regular backups to protect it.
One of the actions this initiatives encourages is taking the World Backup Day Pledge:
“I solemnly swear to backup my important documents and precious memories on March 31st.”
The main message on World Backup Day is that our digital data - which humanity is now creating in record amounts - must be actively protected and preserved. Good data backups management includes not just regular backups, but also a hybrid solution that includes a plan for recovery and restore in the face of a data loss event.
Take steps to make sure your personal and professional data doesn't get lost - or in the words of the World Backup Day team...don't be an April Fool! Backup your data on March 31st!
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