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Companies gather an increasing amount of data each day. The magnitude of it will only grow as more companies move from legacy systems to advanced, technologically driven environments. Data related to customers, business partnerships, patients, transactions, and much more holds immense value. This valuable data needs to be adequately protected. Data backup is not an option for organizations anymore, it is a necessity.
Time and time again, we have heard people equate backing up data to saving an additional copy onto their hard drives. This means the data will only exist in one place if it accidentally gets deleted from the user’s computer. An effective data backup strategy is to create 3 copies of critical data, when one is deleted, two always remain.
After malware attacks have increased 300% over the past year, it is high time we educate ourselves on what is an effective data backup strategy.
In this article, we will run through your options, talk about them in-depth, while learning about the risks of not backing up your business’s data.
Why is it Important to Back up Your Data?
Data loss can result in multiple issues the least of which is the resource cost and legal consequences of losing data. To put things into perspective, here is how much data individuals, businesses, and the rest of the world is using (and should be backing up).
In the last minute that you’ve been reading this article:
- 1.74 quadrillion bytes of data was created
- 1.44 million gigabytes of data were uploaded to the internet
- 144 million emails were sent
- Google processed 2.4 million searches
- Twitter received 360,000 tweets
- Amazon processed $259,000 worth of sales
- Social media platforms registered 840 new accounts
Considering the amount of data that is constantly being created, distributed, and downloaded, the impact of losing it is just as significant. According to past studies:
- 94% of companies do not fully recover from severe data loss
- 70% of small businesses close within 1 year
- 54% of companies close within 2 years
- 43% of companies never reopen
Top 6 Cause of Data Loss – and why it needs a backup
A range of problems can result in data loss such as physical damage, system crashes, and other issues including:
Hardware Failure – According to recent studies, hard drive damage from either human mishandling or mechanical failures accounted for 67% of data loss
Signs of a failing hard drive include:
- Unusual heat
- Frequent crashing/freezing
- Slow processing speeds
- Clicking or grinding noises
- Issues while booting
Software failures – Improper device shutdown procedures caused by a power outage can corrupt existing files or the software itself. If a computer suddenly loses power while writing to a hard drive, the device may never start correctly again.
Viruses and malware – Viruses and malware can steal and delete large amounts of data, making it important to use strong antivirus and firewall systems. Data backup in case the first copy is stolen will provide an additional layer of security in the event of a disaster.
Accidental deletion and human error – Data backup provides a safety net for when there are inevitable mistakes with data. Something as simple as spilling water, overwriting data, or downloading virus-infected software can result in data loss. A backup copy helps safeguard from accidental risks that are not a matter of if, but when.
Device theft – You might be using security factors like encryption to protect data if a device is stolen, but without a second copy backed up to restore on a new device the data will still be gone.
Living in Florida, there is often an additional reason for data loss. The East Coast faces hurricane season June through November, and 40% of all hurricanes on the East coast make landfall in Florida. A hard drive overheating can cause damage and data loss, let alone an actual fire, or if there’s a flood that causes water damage. In the event of an environmental disaster, it’s important to have a backup copy stored off-site and away from danger.
There are several aspects to consider in terms of the impact of data loss, including the types of data at risk, how it can affect company operations, and how legal consequences can potentially ripple out.
Types of Data at Risk that Needs a Backup Plan
It’s important to understand just how large the scope of backup’s protection is. Without data backup, you risk:
- Legal documents
- Contracts and partner information
- Accounting records
- General business data
- Employee records
- Customer data
- Historical records
Besides just losing all your information, there are also indirect consequences from data loss such as:
- Lower productivity/efficiency
- Lower revenue
- Lost partnerships
- Reputation damage
- No data for customer services/support
On top of the direct and indirect damage of data loss there are also potential legal troubles to factor in:
- Fines and noncompliance penalties for laws like HIPAA
- Class action lawsuits
- Notifying affected customers if data is lost or stolen
To conclude, it is imperative to backup data that is vulnerable to software and hardware malfunctions, data corruption, malicious hacking, user errors, natural disaster, or other unforeseen events. Backups provide a means to restore destroyed, deleted, or overwritten files. This process is simple on the consumer side which involves backing up smartphone photos or media files to a computer or hard drive. In an enterprise environment, this would involve storing files on hard drives, remotely on another location, or on the cloud either private, public or hybrid. Best practices include a full data backup once a week during off-hours. Additional data backup jobs can be scheduled as necessary. You might only back up new or changed data including incremental backups, differential backups, hot backups, and more. You can also deploy a combination of these backup methods and technologies and have multiple backup copies to ensure complete data availability.
What does your organization’s data backup policy look like? Get in touch with us to discuss your options, issues, and solutions.