Data Backups

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Data Backups

The Importance of Effective and Successful Data Backups

Data loss is a risk that poses a serious threat to all companies in existence from smaller businesses to large enterprise organisations and this concern needs to be addressed carefully and effectively in order to plan for the “worst case scenario” in the event that disaster strikes. Data that has been lost due to negligence could potentially cripple the company from operating effectively depending on the severity of the information which has been lost, for instance if a database with all of the company transaction history and client details goes missing.

  1. It is very important to schedule a backup all of your crucial data at regular intervals to minimise data loss in the event of computer hardware/software crashes or in a case where files have been misplaced or deleted erroneously.
  2. It is also extremely important to run a restore from the backup media in order to test the integrity of the data backups from time to time to make sure that the data has not been corrupted during the backup process as corrupted backups will not be very useful in a typical disaster recovery scenario which actually defeats the object of making backups in the first place.
  3. Utilise a backup media rotation scheme that would suit the requirements of your business, for example, certain institutions require a minimum of 5-10 years of data to be saved even if no longer in use. This data can be safely archived and retrieved at a later stage should this be required for audit purposes etc.
  4. Various forms of backup media exist:
    • Backup tapes
    • External hard drives
    • CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs
    • Online backup solutions

    It is important to choose the correct media solution to suit your specific company needs in order for backups to run efficiently depending on speed and/or capacity requirements.

  5. Best practice to follow is to have at least 2 up-to-date copies of all crucial backup data saved on removable media to be stored safely offsite in case of theft, damage by fire or natural disasters occurring on the premises. This media can be rotated and reused depending on the backup media rotation policy that is enforced.
  6. Most backup software solutions incorporate the encryption of backup data. This is a vital feature to use because this safeguards your data in case of the backup media being lost or stolen and ultimately means that the data is less likely to be leaked and potentially compromised because an imposter cannot access encrypted files without the correct decryption key and hence renders the files useless to any unauthorised persons.