Nearly all businesses rely on data storage now, whether through internal solutions or off-site vendors. Losing data that you can’t recover could cause a number of repercussions, from furious customers, to tax disputes, and even legal judgments. Because of these risks, every business owner needs a strong data protection plan and policies and standards in place.
Make Redundancy Mandatory
You know that you need to have backups of all your files, but is that something you do in practice? Do your employees know for certain what information should be backed up? When and how often are backups created? Where are they stored? You and your employees alike should be able to answer these questions confidently.
A great policy to put in place is the “3-2-1” storage methodology. This means having three copies, on two mediums, and one of them stored offsite. For example, an employee could comply with this policy by creating a copy on his or her workstation, then backing up a second copy to any internal company storage system, and finally creating a third copy using a cloud service. In this way, you’re protected from both local and distant disasters.
Verify Your Backups
We have had customers who didn’t forget to create backups, but that didn’t matter because the backups also failed. We later learned that they had failed long before the primary storage did, but nobody noticed because the backups had never been needed before. This could happen to you, which is why you should make it a company policy to verify your backups at least several times annually.
But there’s another reason to test your backups beyond just verifying they’re still there: If you lose massive amounts of data (for example, an entire website and all its contents) that you need to recall from your backups, you’ll want to know how long it would take to get everything restored. This isn’t always something that can be done in a couple hours and may require technical skills that you’ll need to contract out to a specialist.
The difference between a team that knows how to restore backups — and one that has excellent backups but is completely unaware of how to apply them — could equate to months of downtime and a lot of money wasted.
Test Your Vendors
If you have backups through a vendor, make them part of your recovery drills. Prepare empty storage and figure out how quickly your backups can be transferred over, and whether the data is in the same condition. Additionally, be aware of how long it will take your current business internet plan to recover, and transfer all that data back to where you can use it. If you or the provider have a slow connection, recovery could take weeks.
Don’t Overlook The Original Storage Solution
Many companies, are proud that they’ve been able to cut down on wasting paper. However, it is very important that certain records be maintained on paper in the case of a widespread power outage. Accounting data is a good example of something that should always have a hard paper backup.
The Right Plan Is Part Technology, Part Preparation
Choose quality when looking for both internal and external solutions, but remember that even that won’t save you if your team isn’t prepared to keep a watchful eye over your valuable data.