Why data backup is especially important over the festive season
A long year is drawing to a close with people and services slowing down in light of the approaching festive season. Before your business shuts down, however, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account. And one of these is making sure that all your business-critical data is backed up offsite over the festive season. Especially considering that this time of year is a high risk time for data loss to occur.
To avoid data loss, let’s look at what what should be included in your year-end backup and how leveraging the cloud over the festive season can make a traditionally complex and tedious process a more simple and seamless one.
Cloud Backup South Africa VS international Cloud Backup?
There is an abundance of cloud backup vendors with varying offers, but when deciding on one, consider their geographical location and where your data will be stored. This is vital due to the fact that South Africa has, at best, limited internet bandwidth, making it difficult to send and receive large amounts of data to and from a hosted service provider. If possible, select a vendor who, if you need to restore large data volumes, is able to restore your data to an external hard-drive in encrypted format, and have it shipped to you overnight. So should a disaster strike, you will then be able to retrieve your lost or corrupted data timeously. In short, look for a supplier who has the flexibility and capacity to pre-empt most situations to ensure the safekeeping and availability of your information assets.
An incremental backup solution is best-practice
Your backup software should incrementally backup your data, thus including only daily changes. Incremental backups will reduce your backup window and the amount of data you have to transfer to the cloud, by only sending the changes and additions of data to your backup. Incremental backups also allow file versioning, which allows you to restore to a specific backup within the retention period (normally 60 days) to recover the deleted, lost or corrupted data.
What do you need to backup?
The concise answer is any data that you view as business-critical and/or irreplaceable. If you’re still not sure on what data to backup, the following is a general list of important elements to include in your cloud backup:
Documents including spreadsheets, word documents and presentations
Email - for example *.PST files and / or Exchange Server Databases
Any files that would be required to recover your file server/s and other shared computers
Financial and accounting data
Any locally hosted websites or intranets
Business continuity plans that are not hosted in the cloud
Critical data residing on any laptop or other mobile devices
Refine and evolve your backup strategy
Your backup strategy should define what to backup, how often to backup and the retention period for different backups. Most companies who backup have daily incremental backups, which are triggered after the end of daily trading. This ensures that all daily changes to data are backed up and the backup does not interfere with your business operations.
As a business owner, you should also receive notifications on backups to ensure that your data has indeed been successfully backed up offsite and recoverable at any time. If your software is not able to automate this process, you will need to assign someone to do this on a regular basis.
Lastly, revise your data selection for backing up on a frequent basis as this will avoid making the mistake of needing to restore data that may not have been selected for backup. Whether you are using an international or local backup vendor, the important thing is that you frequently backup your data over the festive season and ensure that your backups are stored on a secure storage platform in a secure data centre. Optimize your backup strategy by using incremental backups and select a local backup vendor for quick recovery times and support when your business encounters a disruptive event.