By Arabella Rose

Data backup is essential to the running of any business; it is one of the most important aspects but also one of the most ignored. Backing up data is the process of making a copy of your files, to be used if the original copy disappears or is lost. The copy of the file is normally stored in a secure location different to the original.

Data loss can and does happen in various ways, it can be as common as losing your phone or wallet. Even though very important documents that you thought were safe, can go missing or get damaged. The most common causes are accidental error, theft or disasters like fire or flood, etc. Another common data problem is for important files to be saved at only one place on your PC’s hard drive, which if this data were to be accidentally changed or deleted, it would take a lot of time to restore it.

Growing numbers of computer viruses are also a big risk to business information. Once they have infected your computer they can delete or corrupt your data. This is another reason why backing up your data is such an important thing to do. Here are 7 things you need to know about backing up your business data.

1. Prepare for Everything

It is always better to prepare in case anything goes wrong, right? Thinking you’re low risk and then something unexpected happens, you panic, you automatically go into overdrive thinking of all the things you have just lost. Not backing up is probably one of the biggest errors you can make. It can happen so easily as well, you should prepare for the worst, from earthquakes (depending on where you are in the world), a power outage, theft, water damage, to someone simply unplugging your computer. You should make sure you have a plan in place in case these things happen, however likely they are.

2. Don’t Be Naive

One of the biggest problems with data loss is the misguided belief that it can’t happen to you. This is why some small and large companies don’t have backup solutions. It’s the age old case of “it won’t happen to me.” Or maybe you have the mindset of “I know I should get that sorted but I just need to get X, Y and Z done first.” It is important you have a safe and secure backup system in place, so you don’t lose any important documents or files, especially if you store client and customer information. These can be the same companies that can’t believe they might be affected by a virus or malware. Get protected or struggle to get your data back.

3. Accidents Happen

Sometimes accidents aren’t anyone’s fault; we all know that hardware, machines, and other systems can fail. Modern backup software is extremely flexible. You now have a lot of options to choose from, however choosing the wrong options can result in incomplete backups. Backup configurations are no more static than anything else in a modern storage environment. As resources are added and shifted and priorities change, the list of files to be backed up needs to change as well. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your IT tech, no solution is perfect. Make sure you back it up.

4. Staff Training in Data Security Protocol

Data security is only as strong as its least careful user and human error is a high risk faced by businesses. In the Global Benchmark Report, 43.5% said it was due to human error and 24% cited power failure as the culprit. A lot of businesses have important data stored on individual employees’ desktops or laptops. This data can sometimes not be tied into the companies’ backup system. Businesses are more and more relying on employees to back up their own data, without telling or warning them.

5. Backup in Different Locations

This is an obvious one but making sure your primary servers are not in the same place as your backup data storage is necessary. If anything were to happen to your primary data, you need to be able to access your backup. These facilities should be miles apart. One of the best protections against data loss is having at least three copies of your data. These three would be the original files, a quickly accessible backup and a protected copy of your backup.

6. Stop, Drop and Roll

You and your employees need to feel confident that your backup will work. The best way to deploy this is to test a fake disaster and make sure everyone knows what to do. Think of it like a safety drill, where you have to make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go; in case there is a fire, gas leak, water burst etc. The test will show your employees how important it is and what steps they need to take in case it happens.

7. Keep Updating

Data backup plans aren’t just a one-time thing and then you forget about it for the rest of your career. You need to make sure your disaster recovery is assessed and updated every year.

Especially if your business grows you need to make sure you do not neglect these updates is it will be a huge error just like not having one in the first place.

If you think about the time it has already taken you to gather all of these high importance files and information, just think about the time it would take to back-track and try to piece together it all. It is important to make sure you have a copy of all your important business information. Categorizing and prioritizing your work ensures you have what you need if your PC were to be stolen or damaged.

You should regularly test your copied data because a backup is useless if it cannot restore correctly. Ensure your backups are consistent, you wouldn’t want to find out the last copy you made was 4 months ago or older. Keep your backups off site, that way if you do lose data to a fire/flood/theft you know you can retrieve your information in a safe place.