Your company needs backups. It’s not optional. Not only are many industries such as healthcare legally required to have them, but if your business gets hit with ransomware or some human error that causes data loss, it could be fatal for the business. Still, it’s not just enough to take backups, you need to employ best practices to make sure that your business has a set of reliable backups. All while not taking up too much space or cluttering your infrastructure.
Here’s a list of best practices so that your organization can get the most out of backups.
Table of Contents
- Determine What Needs to Be Backed Up
- Decide How Often to Perform Backups
- Choose the Right Backup Method
- Store Backups in Multiple Locations
- Test Backups Regularly
- Document Your Backup Procedures
- Monitor Your Backup Processes
- Implement Security Measures for Backups
Determine What Needs to Be Backed Up
Not all data is created equal. It is essential to determine what data needs to be backed up and how often. For example, critical data such as financial information and customer data should be backed up more frequently than non-critical data. This information should be gathered and documented to ensure that no critical data is missed during the backup process.
So before blindly backing up entire disks or system images, consider what particular folders or files need special attention. Make sure these are easily accessible and can be restored quickly.
Decide How Often to Perform Backups
Once you have identified what needs to be backed up, the next step is to determine how often the backup should occur. This decision should be based on the criticality of the data. For critical data, backups should occur more frequently. It is essential to strike a balance between the frequency of backups and the impact on system performance.
It will depend on your business and industry regulations, but a good rule is to run backups at least once a day. This will ensure you are meeting strict regulation such as HIPAA.
Choose the Right Backup Method
Several backup methods are available, including full backups, incremental backups, and differential backups. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Full backups offer complete protection, but they can require a significant amount of time to process as well as increased storage capacity.
Incremental backups and differential backups are faster and require less storage space, but they offer less protection. The backup method should be chosen based on the criticality of the data and the time and storage constraints.
Store Backups in Multiple Locations
Storing backups in a single location is risky. A disaster, such as a fire or flood, could destroy the backups along with the primary data. Therefore, it is recommended to store backups in multiple locations. This provides redundancy and ensures that backups are available in the event of a disaster.
There is a well known rule in IT that important data must be 1. On the system, 2. On a physical drive/media off the machine, 3. In the cloud. This will ensure that you always have a copy regardless of the emergency.
Test Backups Regularly
Testing backups is a critical step in the backup process. Backups that cannot be restored are worthless. Therefore, it is essential to test backups regularly to ensure that they are working correctly. Testing backups also provides an opportunity to identify and address any issues that may arise.
Document Your Backup Procedures
Documentation is crucial for backup procedures. Documenting the backup procedures ensures that everyone involved in the backup process is aware of their responsibilities. Documentation also provides a reference for troubleshooting and helps to ensure that the backup process is consistent.
Monitor Your Backup Processes
Monitoring the backup process is essential to ensure that backups are occurring as expected. Monitoring also provides an opportunity to identify and address any issues that may arise. Monitoring can be done manually or with the help of backup software.
Implement Security Measures for Backups
Backups are a valuable asset, and they should be protected as such. Implementing security measures for backups is essential to ensure that they are not compromised. Security measures include physical security, and access.
Proper backup best practices are vital for securing an organization’s data, ensuring availability and integrity. A backup strategy should be developed, considering data criticality, frequency of changes, and recovery objectives. By implementing backup best practices you could be saving your organization from a fatal attack, error, or regulatory punishment.