Backup Management Best Practices

April 15, 2021 / by Frederid Palacios

The security of your data should be one of the most significant priorities of your company. Whether your data is private customer information or published public data, you should strive to keep it protected. Cybersecurity attacks and data breaches are becoming more and more frequent and advanced. Just in 2015, there were over 2,000 confirmed breaches with known data loss. Six years later and that number has only increased. Even beyond that, data misconfigurations can happen at any point. System or network failures can result in catastrophic levels of lost data – an expensive and devasting loss. While a backup system can be costly, lost data is significantly more so. You cannot entirely avoid data hacks or system failures, but there are some practices you can implement to minimize these damages. A well-maintained backup system of your company’s data is the best practice you can have in the event of a disaster or breach. We will walk you through the best practices for managing your data backups so that you can find the best solution to protect your information.

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Find Your Backup Type

A data backup is a copy of your business' computer data taken and store elsewhere. Whether on-site, in external hard drives, off-site, in a data center, or in the cloud, a backup will restore the original data and quickly get you back to business after a data loss incident. There are several ways that you can backup important data, each of which comes with different advantages, but the two overarching options are a full backup or an incremental backup. The right option for you depends on your business' needs and operations. If you have a large volume of essential data or need to follow compliance requirements for data storage, you may choose a full backup. This operation requires more storage due to the higher volume of data. Alternatively, an incremental backup will only back up the files that have been updated or created since the last backup. Because less data is being stored at a time, this option is faster and requires less storage space.  However, in the event of an incident, you will need to have all incremental backups available, which can be time-consuming and troublesome. These options can be implemented in various formats such as the cloud, a physical data center, and more. Still, you should first consider the data that your organization accesses on a daily basis and determine which backup option is the best fit for you. Beyond choosing your backup type, there are some best practices that you should apply to your backup system.


Best Data Backup Practices

Regular Backups

Regular backups are the key to preserving important data. Think: if you had a data breach today, when was your last backup? Where would that leave you today? If the answer to that question made you panic, you are not performing backups frequently enough. Performing backups regularly is the best way to ensure that you will bounce back quickly after an incident. Resilience is crucial, and regular backups are the key to achieving it. Utilizing an automatic backup cloud-basic solution is an excellent alternative to a physical backup with on-site storage. With an automated backup, you will remove human error from the backup equation, meaning no one can forget to perform backups or do it incorrectly. You can set controls on this solution to perform a weekly, monthly, or even daily backup if needed. Furthermore, a cloud-based solution will be protected should your physical backup be compromised by a disaster such as a fire, flood, or robbery. It can also be more economical for organizations to switch to remote and cloud-based storage options as you no longer have to purchase and maintain expensive hardware.


Remote Backups

Cloud-based data storage leads us to the practice of remote backups. There are various options for data storage, but ultimately remote storage is the most practical. As mentioned, by storing your data off-site, you protect your information from physical damage or disaster while maintaining the same level of control. In a remote backup solution, your devices will automatically send data to a remote center at a specific interval. This is done by installing appropriate software on the devices needing backup, assigning a backup schedule, and identifying the data by the file or folder to be backed up. Once this is set up, you can relax knowing your data is protected. But, you should remember that this will require reliable internet access, including a case of emergency. Furthermore, your remote data should always be encrypted to ensure it is secure.

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Encrypted Backups

Unencrypted data can be a significant liability to your business. By failing to encrypt your data, you are making it easier for hackers to access your private information. For this reason, your data backup strategy should include a review of safety procedures and a plan for data encryption. Why is this so vital? Unencrypted data can be easily compromised by data breaches, especially as hackers grow in skill and numbers. Talking to a cybersecurity professional about encrypting your data is more of a necessity than a best practice, and once you have been breached, it will be too late. No matter the type of backup your organization uses, there are options to encrypt your data before a disaster occurs. Data security is vital for business continuity after a breach, so ensure that your data is protected.


BYOD and Data Backup

Does your company have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy? This can be a very convenient policy for both business owners and team members, creating greater flexibility for staff while saving on device costs. As more businesses implement this policy, the higher the data-loss risk. With data security, you must take into account all data on devices that exist outside of the walls of your business, including cellphones, laptops, and even home desktops. You should consider what essential data is stored on these devices and then look into installing a backup plan within specified folders. Ensuring that team members backup company data even on their personal items is crucial to minimizing data loss, especially as more employees work from home today than ever before.


Data Retention Span

Even if you are already very efficient in backing up your data, you should be aware of how long you are retaining copies of your backups and what your company’s compliance requirements for backup are. You may want to consult with a cybersecurity compliance professional to determine what data backup retention requirements your organization needs to comply with. Some companies are required to delete certain records of data upon request, which others hold onto old backups indefinitely. Whatever may be required of your company, it is crucial to be aware of what data needs to be backed up and by what means.


Through implementing a data backup plan, you will rest easy knowing that you are protected in the case of a data breach or disaster. These best practices will ensure that your information is secure and safe, accessible to only those meant to see it. With remote, regular, and encrypted data backups, you will be less vulnerable to data losses and keep your data where it belongs – within your company.

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Frederid Palacios

Written by Frederid Palacios

Fred Palacios is a seasoned software architect with more than 20 years of experience participating in the entire software development cycle across a host of different industries--from automotive and services to petroleum, financial, and supply chain. In that time, his experience working closely with high-level stakeholders has provided him with a strategic vision for developing the right solutions to flexibly meet critical business needs. As CTO of Intertec, he's continuing to focus on the creation of business-critical applications for large enterprise projects, particularly those that handle high concurrency and large datasets. He is passionate about using technology as a tool to solve real-world problems and also mentoring technical teams to achieve their maximum potential and deliver quality software.

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