World Backup Day – 31 March 2019
This year, World Backup Day is on March 31st. It is an annual worldwide event that has been running since 2011 and is designed to raise awareness about the importance of backing up digital data.
With the spiralling cost of office space and the need to keep some records for many years, organisations are starting to realise the benefits of the paperless office. This of course means that we have a much greater need for digital storage. Furthermore, banks, utilities and many other organisations are offering financial incentives to go paperless. This is a sensible approach, but with so much of our personal and business data stored in digital form, it is important that we ensure we have adequate protection in place.
World Backup Day was chosen to be the day before April 1st (April Fool’s Day) to drive the message that one should backup all of our data before it’s too late. In this article we explain some of the fundamental steps you should consider to ensure your data is safe and available when you need it.
What is Backing Up?
Backing up refers to keeping at least one copy of your digital data on a device other than your internal storage. This could be to an external storage device, such as a USB hard disk or to a cloud backups solution. Most computer operating systems have built in backup solutions and some dedicated backup devices are supplied with software that automates the task, so you don’t have to remember, although you are still required to configure it to ensure it is backing up the correct data.
Why do we Need to Back Up Data?
There are several scenarios where having a backup of your data would be useful:
- Your file server crashes and all the data is lost.
- A laptop is lost or stolen with important files stored on it.
- Your local hard disk fails, and all data is lost.
- Your PC or file server is encrypted with malware.
- You accidentally delete something important.
Having multiple backup copies going back several months and stored in different locations is also recommended and provides greater security for your data. Solutions that check for viruses and malware, during the backup process, will add further security since some variants of malware can lay dormant for many months while they encrypt your backups.
Thankfully, most organisations will have a backup plan in place, but this is only part of the story. When was the last time you checked that the data being backed up is correct? You may have checked your backup logs, but have you tried to restore from them?
Not all data will need to be backed up regularly. Backing up data that hasn’t changed since the last backup will only add time to the process and require additional storage capacity. There are several backup methods to consider including: incremental, differential and full, so choose the most appropriate.
Other Things to Consider:
How Often do you Need to Back Up Your Data?
If you back up once a day then potentially you could lose a day’s worth of data. Could your business cope with this? The acceptable gap between your backups (and hence the maximum amount of data you could afford to lose) is referred to as the Recovery Point objective (RPO).
How Long Would it Take to Restore Your Data?
If you need to restore your data then the target system could be unavailable while the restore is in progress and then tested. This could prevent you and your team from working. Could your business cope with this period of downtime? This is referred to as the Recovery Time objective (RTO).
There will always be a trade-off between the risk of an event occurring that requires a data restore, and the cost to mitigate it. However, if you look at your RPO and RTO times and assign a cost value to the impact this would have on your business, then this will go some way to helping you understand how much your business should be spending on a backup solution.
Our Technology Advisory Services (TAS) team has over 35 years of experience in helping organisations ensure their IT systems and services are reliable, resilient, scalable and secure. Our highly experienced expert team work across all industry sectors and provide independent vendor-agnostic advice that will ensure your IT is making your organisation more efficient, competitive and innovative. Since we are not tied to any vendor partnerships, dealers or solutions, our advice is based on our extensive experience and exhaustive knowledge of current IT trends.
This article originally appeared on the blog of our member firm, MHA MacIntyre Hudson.