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Baby Got Backup: Your Guide to the Ultimate Data Backup Strategy

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With the average cost of a data breach now approaching the $4 million mark, it’s not a risk that many companies out there can absorb. In fact, if you’ve got no backup strategy at all, your company could end up going under all because you didn’t back up your information. If you want to follow backup strategy best practices to stay afloat, check out our guide to get the job done.

Here are four steps vital to your strategy.

1. Make a Plan

One of the best things you can do for your company is to have a plan for how you’re going to back up your data. Having a company with any kind of digital information around and not having a plan for backing up your data is like driving a car without insurance. You need to protect your data to ensure that nothing bad can happen to your business unexpectedly.

Your company needs to have an infrastructure for backing up your data. Without it, trying to implement changes at the eleventh hour in the midst of leakage or a hack will be an impossible task. If there’s any kind of emergency, it could cost you weeks of work to get back where you were before the incident.

Planning gives your team the chance to understand not only your requirements but the full scope of your architecture. You’ll understand data flows better, who has access to what kind of data, and where you’re most vulnerable. You need backup policies and a protocol that protects your customers and your staff while also keeping your business above water under any circumstances.

There are often lots of dependencies across machines, users, and different technologies. You need to be prepared for this.

2. Set Up a Schedule

In order to have a proper backup plan, you need to have a calendar outlining how you’re going to back up your business. You need to have certain tasks done on a daily basis as well as other tasks that are taken care of monthly or quarterly. Annual tasks include assessing your system and cutting the fat from anywhere in your operation.

On a daily basis, there should be monitoring tools that show how data is moving on your network. If you have any background processes, you need to have a tool to show you how those processes are running. If there are issues or tickets, you need a lot to show their progress.

For a longer-term schedule, you need to have an analysis of your system’s overall performance. You should know how you’re doing when it comes to hardware capacity and computing power. Take a look at your current policies and make sure they’re applicable to any new technology or devices you’re planning on bringing into your company.

You should run an annual test of your recovery tools and how prepared you are for emergencies. Have your IT staff take a look at your current architecture to see if there’s room for improvement.

3. Review Logs

No matter what kind of system you have, there should be a regular backup happening on a daily and weekly basis. If you’re working on products, you should automatically be testing out the code that’s added or changes, running the application, and making sure it works. On a daily basis, a server should be backing up data and reporting issues.

Backup problems aren’t typically isolated to just one thing that happens one time. Usually, if there is a problem in one place or a single event, that cascades down to subsequent problems. In fact, if you don’t notice that first event, the results might turn out to only show up to you once something much bigger happens.

If a backup job doesn’t start because the drive is full, that means that a process that normally occurs won’t happen. In the meantime, your drive’s resources are going to be backed up while everyone waits for that first issue to be resolved. The system administrator who was supposed to order the drive or start the migration to a bigger one may have never finished the job.

You have to become a detective when you’re having data or resource problems with your digital media and tools. Your logs are the only way into that mess and if you don’t look at them, you have no way to start the investigation.

4. Protect Your Backups

Every backup application that you use is going to have a database that holds a lot of vital information to help you track down issues. That database or catalog is going to be your best friend if you end up needing to recover any data or backtrack at all. If you lose that, you end up losing your backups and risk all of your data.

Some of the backup applications that are standard in most industries now have the ability to look through your recovery index. However, this is the last thing you want to do. Trying to decrypt partial or encrypted data is a challenging task that takes time and patience which are hard to muster when your business is on the line.

Your catalog is a critical part of your database. It needs to be copied and mirrored just like all of your most important elements. There should be multiple copies of your database around so that you can stay on track no matter what.

If you’re wondering what the best practices are, this company has some tips on how to protect your backups.

Every Backup Strategy Needs The Right People

Even if you have the perfect backup strategy, you need to have the staff on hand who know how to implement it. If you don’t have properly trained IT staff, it’s time to seek them out. They’re your best defense against a toxic breach that could bring your company down.

If worrying about your data is giving you anxiety, check out our guide for the anxiety apps you should be using to mitigate it.