If you’re in business today be it a sole trader or large corporation you’ll have critical data that is essential to your survival and growth. From the small shop with their accounts package and spreadsheets to the big corporate with Terabytes of data across multiple data centres.
Therefore, it goes without saying that how you protect this data is of huge importance. A major data loss incident could cripple your business.
How well are you protected?
Ask yourself if your server (or even PC) was to crash in the morning with all of your data on it could you restore it quickly to a recent (say last night) point in time? If your answer to this question is yes how do you know? Have you recently tested this restore process or is it just an assumption?
Many businesses setup their backup to a tape unit, backup drive or cloud storage and may never think of it again until they really need it at which point it may have stopped working for a whole variety of possible reasons. A backup job can hang, a backup drive can become faulty and without taking a proactive approach to monitoring your backup it may be worthless to you when you need to use it most.
The concerning thing about your data is it doesn’t take a dramatic event like a server crash to put it in danger. Recent virus infections and ransomware such as Cryptolocker caused havoc by encrypting files stored on computers and servers and demanding a ransom be paid to decrypt the files. Desperate users and businesses without a recent backup were in some cases left with no choice but to pay this expensive ransom in the hope of getting their data back.
Other possible threats include users accidentally deleting important files or even a disgruntled employee deleting data maliciously.
So how should you protect your data?
If like a lot of SMEs you have a server (or servers) locally in your own office you should
- Identify your important data. Is everything being covered by the backup?
- Have a nightly backup running to a local storage device such as a hard drive, NAS box or tape unit. Make sure there’s enough space to handle a daily, weekly, monthly and even annual backup.
- Critical data should also be backed up and/or replicated to a secondary off-site location so that in the event of a disaster such as fire or flood your backup isn’t destroyed along with your server.
If you store important data on PCs this should obviously be included in these backup plans. However we would never recommend users store anything important on their own PCs for backup purposes.
- A relatively recent addition for backup, especially as an offsite option are cloud services from companies such as Amazon, Rackspace and Microsoft. With these you can effectively rent storage in their data centres and backup/replicate data over your broadband connection.
Worth mentioning here is that if you ever had to recover a large amount of data from the cloud you would be at the mercy of your download speed so for large amounts of data we would recommend the cloud as an offsite (secondary) rather than primary backup.
The key thing is that all of your data is protected fully and crucially that you test regularly to make sure you can restore from your backups.
If you’d like to speak to us about backup our IT Solutions Team will happily assist with any queries you may have and if required implement and test a solution for you.
Head of IT