Data backup and disaster recovery: Top business FAQs answered

Your business data is your company’s lifeblood. It’s essential for your daily operations. But what if disaster strikes? How will you protect and recover your company data?

This article answers some of the most common business questions about data backup and disaster recovery to help you safeguard your company’s valuable data.

What is data backup?

Data backup involves creating copies of your company data and storing them in a safe place. This way, if you lose or damage your data for whatever reason, you can restore it from your backups.

What data do I need to back up?

You should back up all business data that is critical to your operations and that you cannot afford to lose, including:

  • Operational data – website data, inventory records, and project management data
  • Financial data – accounting records, invoices, payroll records, and tax returns
  • Customer data – customer contact information, purchase history, and support tickets
  • Employee data – employee contact details, payroll records, and performance reviews
  • Intellectual property – patents, trademarks, copyrights, and business plans

How often should I back up my data?

The frequency of your data backups depends on many factors, including:

  • Type of data – If you have data that changes frequently, such as customer records or financial data, you may need to back it up daily. All other types of data may be backed up less often.
  • Importance of data – If you lose your data, how much would it affect your business? If you have data that your operations rely on, you should back it up more frequently.
  • Risk of data loss – How likely could you lose your data? If you are at a high risk of data loss — for example, if you operate in a disaster-prone area or have been the target of cyberattacks — you should back up your data more frequently.
  • Budget – Backing up data can be expensive, so it is important to find a balance between your budget and your backup needs.

If you are unsure how often to back up your data, consult with a data backup expert like Interplay. We can assess your needs and create a backup schedule that is right for you.

Where should I store my backups?

You can store your data backups in a variety of storage mediums, including:

  • Tape libraries – Tape libraries are good for storing large amounts of data securely and cost-effectively. They are very durable and can store data for many years. However, tape libraries can be more expensive and complex to manage than other storage mediums.
  • External hard drives – External hard drives are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. However, they are not very durable and can be easily lost or damaged.
  • Network-attached storage (NAS) devices – NAS devices can be used to store and back up data from multiple computers on a network. They are more durable than external hard drives and offer more features, such as data encryption and file sharing. However, NAS devices are typically more expensive than external hard drives.
  • Cloud storage – Cloud storage is a popular option for businesses because it is scalable, accessible, secure, and typically comes with features such as automatic backups, file versioning, and encryption. Interplay recommends the following backup services: Datto SIRIS, N-Able Cove, and Azure Backup.
  • Hybrid on-premises/in-cloud – A hybrid backup strategy involves storing backups in both on-premises and cloud storage environments. This can provide the best of both worlds by offering the security and control of on-premises storage with the scalability and accessibility of cloud storage.

No matter where you store your backups, ensure that it is completely separate from your online data. Otherwise, if your online data is infected with ransomware, the malware can easily spread to and encrypt your backups, rendering them useless for recovery purposes. You should also regularly test your backups to ensure that they are accessible and can be restored successfully in case of an attack.

What is disaster recovery?

Disaster recovery refers to restoring critical business functions, data, and systems after a disaster, such as floods, fires, cyberattacks, hardware failures, and other disruptions. It typically involves restoring data from backups, but it may also include other steps, such as rebuilding servers and restoring network connectivity.

By having a disaster recovery plan, you can reduce the impact of a disaster on your company and you can resume operations as soon as possible.

What factors should I consider when creating my business’s disaster recovery plan?

Take the following factors into account to create a robust and effective disaster recovery plan for your business:

  • Type of data to recover – What critical data does your business rely on to operate? What are the legal and regulatory requirements for protecting your data?
  • Recovery time objective – How long can your business afford to be offline if disaster strikes? Consider the impact that downtime would have on your employees, customers, and revenue.
  • Recovery point objective – What is the maximum amount of data you are willing to lose in the event of a disaster? Consider how often your data changes and how important it is to be up to date.
  • Types of disasters – Considering your business location and industry, what are the types of disasters you are likely to experience?
  • IT expertise – Do you have the internal expertise to develop and implement a disaster recovery plan? If not, consider outsourcing this task to a qualified provider.

Interplay can create and implement an effective data backup and disaster recovery plan tailored to your business’s specific needs. Get in touch with us today.