Data loss is extremely prevalent in today’s business IT environments and securing company data is a top priority for most businesses and their IT teams. According to some surveys, up to one third of small businesses today do not have any backup implemented at all. Of the two thirds that do have some backup, coverage may still not be adequate to cover all scenarios when the inevitable happens.
As IT solutions specialists serving businesses in the Colorado front range and around the country, perhaps the the most important job we do is to design, implement, and monitor our clients’ backup of their critical company data.
The fact is, that all hard drives will eventually fail. It’s just a matter of time.
With this in mind, we develop backup strategies that address the possible scenarios of data failure for each unique business environment we encounter.
Here are some tips, based on our experience, to help you begin to evaluate and plan your company’s backup needs:
Identify Data that needs to be backed up. Start by taking a survey of your business and then identify the critical data that needs to be backed up. This might be financial data in accounting software, files hosted on the server, critical business applications, or even employee workstation setups. Every business is unique and the data that is important to backup will differ depending on the type and size of your business. A design firm, with extensive high-res client files will have many more terabytes of data than a financial firm with mostly text based documents. Some businesses want to backup all employee workstations whereas many small businesses will save money by requiring that essential data be copied to server and only back up those servers.
Determine what does NOT need to be backed up. Some cloud services, like hosted email, cloud-based file share, and web based business tools may provide their own backups in the cloud.
Prepare for all eventualities. Consider all of the ways that data could be lost in your company’s specific environment, from server failure to human error. What happens if one of your employees with access to save files accidentally writes over an entire directory? What if the primary backup happens to fail at the same time as the primary data source? What do we do if the whole network gets overtaken by crypto? These are common questions we ask. The most prevalent causes of data loss in IT business environments include ransomeware, hardware and drive failures, lost equipment, theft and human error.
Develop a solution. Based on the above considerations, develop a backup plan that addresses all possible points of failure. Generally all of our solutions have some common elements based on following best practices:
- Multiple copies, different media. always have at least 2 onsite backup copies beyond the original on different media in case one fails. The onsite backups provide quick recovery in the event of data failure.
- Copy offsite. create at least one additional copy of data offsite at a secure location in the cloud. The offsite cloud backup protects against location based issues (natural disaster, fire, ect) at the company site and serves as a viable third copy of the data.
- Monitoring and maintenance. Monitoring backups is a critical part of any effective IT Support plan. Monitoring every backup with appropriate software is the only way to know for sure that you have what you need in an emergency.
Hopefully these tips will help you in making or evaluating your existing backup plan. If you would like to speak to one of our small business IT specialists about your company’s backup, click below to for a free consultation. True North IT is a full service IT support provider based in Boulder, CO.
The Boulder IT Support blog is written by the staff of True North IT. True North IT is a small business IT Support Company in Boulder, Colorado, providing proactive IT services, tech support, comprehensive monitoring and friendly customer service.