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Prevent Disaster and Downtime with Data Backups

If you've ever been the victim of data loss, a hack, malware or similar without a backup, you know the sting of losing hard work and vital company data when things go wrong. Data loss without a backup, at a best-case scenario, can cause the loss of countless hours and dollars spent. At a worst-case scenario, data loss without a backup can lead to irrecoverable damage to a business. Research has shown that after a catastrophic data loss, 40 to 60% of small businesses will never reopen.  

How Data Loss Happens

Research shows that as technology is increasingly depended upon during business hours, so to do dangers increase. The following are examples of ways critical business data can be lost, but they do not encompass all possible ways you could lose data:
  • Hard Drive Failure – A good percentage of desktop and laptop computers are now utilizing SSD technology, but most servers still make use of traditional HDDs for storage. Because these types of drives are made up of moving parts, they are prone to higher rates of failure and generally have a lifetime of three to five years. Failure to monitor and replace failing drives in a timely manner could result in a grinding halt – literally – for your business. Hard drives failures make up about 35% of data loss.
  • Hacking and Data Breaches – These dangers are becoming increasingly prevalent in business computing, with 2,013 breaches occurring in 2019 alone, according to Hosting Tribunal. It can take two thirds of a year to even detect a data breach, which means that huge amounts of vital data can be at risk for large periods of time. Additionally, hacking and ransomware attacks are putting businesses' data at risk every day. Ransomware attacks typically result in a malware program encrypting all data on a system, or at worse, a whole network, with the decryption key being held by the attackers for ransom. The impact of this type of attack can be negated if data has been recently backed up, but without a backup data could be lost forever. The FBI does not support paying such a ransom; you'll be out even more money, and there's no guarantee you'd ever get your data back.
  • Human Error – Human error poses almost as much of a data loss risk as hardware failure, as it is responsible for 29% of instances of data loss. Human error can comprise things like accidental deletion, damage to equipment, or misplaced data storage. By keeping constant redundant backups, these issues can be mitigated easily. Think back to the early days of computing, where a company may have a single large machine, but several terminals for users to interact with – no data was stored on those terminals. In a similar sense, any data that's essential to the company shouldn't be stored on individual users' machines, but instead on a central company server that is regularly backed up.

Protect Work with Versioning

In some cases, it might be wise for your business to make use of a versioning backup system. If your work involves many individuals collaborating on a project, or a single file being overwritten multiple times, then versioning backups are the solution for you. These backups save a copy of your work every time it's saved, so that if something is accidentally overwritten you have the option of checking yesterday's, or perhaps the last hour's copy to get your work back.

Where to Store Backups

Here at Technical Resource Solutions, we recommend that all businesses follow the tried-and-true "3-2-1" rule. This rule states that all data should exist in three copies, on two different devices or media and accompanied by one off-site storage solution.

A company might accomplish this by attaching either a NAS (network-attached storage) or a tape drive to the server which contains company data. The server would also regularly backup to the cloud. That way, if the server were to experience any issues, data could quickly be recovered to the locally available drive. If an issue which affected the larger geographical area, or the whole office, were to occur, the business would still be able to recover backed-up data as a cloud backup would not be affected by local issues.

How Often to Back Up Company Data

The rule of thumb to answer this question is that you should always consider the amount of time that you'll have to spend recovering everything if something goes wrong. That is to say, if you back up your data every Monday, but total data loss occurs on Sunday, then you may be forced to attempt to recover and entire week's worth of business data. On top of that, each hour of data loss-related downtime could cost a business around $8,000. As such we recommend backing up company data daily at a minimum, with more frequent backups for essential data that significantly changes multiple times through the day.

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