Losing your data is devastating. Backing up your essential data is a proactive strategy to prevent data loss if a failure or disaster happens. Today we are more reliant on digital technology than ever before. That means that we also have more data available than ever before. Protecting our data is a vital pre-emptive approach to preventing data loss.
What you will discover:
- What are backups
- Why you need data backups
- How often to backup your data
What are backups?
What are backups?
Backups are a preventative measure. They protect your data in the event of a disaster. The process of backing up your essential data involves copying and storing your chosen data in another location, usually a physical or cloud-based backup (or both). This can be used to restore the original if a disaster event occurs. Your backups need to protect any data that is irreplaceable. This may want to include your business or personal data, photographs or videos.
Why you need to backup your data
Why are backups important?
Having your vital information backed up is essential to proactively protect your business or personal data. Having effective backups makes sure your data can be restored quickly and with limited downtime if a disaster event occurs.
Without backups, there is a significant risk that your data cannot be restored in the event of a failure or disaster. By pre-emptively protecting your data, you are creating a defensive step against losing vital information if a failure occurs. Overall, Australian businesses are taking vital steps to protect their data, with the ABS reporting that reliance on cloud-based storage had increased by 31% in the 2015-2016 financial year (IT News, 2017).
Why backup your essential data?
We live in a digital sphere. Our lives are connected through digital technology, locally and globally. This brings remarkable advancements and opportunities. However, unfortunately this also brings threats.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre reports that 90% of Australian businesses faced some form of attempted or successful cybersecurity threat during the 2015-16 financial year. Often businesses experienced numerous malicious cyber threats daily, with some businesses affected up to hundreds of times a day (ACSC, 2016). Cybercriminals are now improving their skills at targeting specific businesses (ACSC Threat Report, 2017).
Protecting your data means that you are safeguarding against data loss. It is like insurance for your data. By backing up your important information, you are protecting it from virus attack, security threats, accidental file deletion, software corruption or hardware failure. If you accidentally delete a file or experience a complete system failure, your essential data is secure, safe and can easily be restored.
Without backups, your critical data would most likely be lost indefinitely.
What makes an effective backup?
There are several things to think about when evaluating your backups or putting a backup in place. It is important to consider:
- Having a local copy of your backed up data. This makes a restore a quick process if it is ever needed. Make sure this local copy is stored in a safe location to protect against theft or breakage.
- Having an additional offsite copy. Nowadays, the cloud is an efficient option for an offsite copy. This is important in case something happens to the local copy, such as theft, fire, flood or damage.
- If the backups are working as they should. Test your backups to make sure they are working and a restore can happen if needed.
- What is being backed up? Does this include all vital information?
- Knowing how to restore your data if needed.
- How long will it take to restore your data in case of a disaster event – how long will your downtime take?
What are the main causes of data loss?
What happens if you don’t backup?
If you don’t have backups in place and a disaster event occurs,
- Critical data loss can occur.
- Irreplaceable data can be lost indefinitely.
How often to backup your data
How do you know how often to backup?
The big question here is a bit scary. It asks us to consider the unthinkable – losing everything in a complete data loss situation. We often ignore this situation until we are hurled into this painfully horrible scenario. However, the best thing to do is to ask this question now and proactively prepare (think bomb shelter styles).
“How much data am I prepared to lose in the event of a disaster?”
This question is relevant for your business and personal data, phone, iPad, iPod… any device with irreplaceable data. The more often you backup your data, the safer your information is. Think about how many documents you create, the photos you take or emails you read or send daily. How often do these need to be saved? Your answer may be one day, one week or one month of information. The answer to this question will help clarify your backup process. It will show you just how often you need to backup and if your current backup process is suitable or needs review.
How do you backup data?
It is relatively simple to put backups in place. There are many backup programs available for your data protection, including paid and free versions. When deciding on a backup program, it is important to check:
- Your backups are working effectively and that a restore is possible.
- You need to check to see if your data is usable and actually there!
- Your backups are running at different points in time.
- Make sure it is not simply a single, once-off copy of your files or a copy over the top. If changes are made and you need a previous version, it will not be there!
- It is also essential to have your backups running at different times because if a file is corrupt, it won’t be known until a restore is needed. This is a factor if your computer is attacked by ransomware. Ransomware causes your data to be encrypted and often ends in a demand for money to return your data.
Important things to check on your backups
Ask these important questions to check your backups are running optimally.
- How regularly are your backups running?
- How much data can you afford to lose? Are you backing up your data this regularly?
- Are your backups working properly?
- When was the last time you tested your backups?
- What are you backing your data up to?
- Are your backups secure (physically secure, cyber-secure)?
- Is your software updated?
- Are your backups still backing up what you need?
Click on the link below to download our free Backup Checklist.