It is often said that the most valuable part of any computer is its data. Computer parts and components can be replaced, but data is gone forever once lost. While most large businesses understand the irreplaceable value of their data, the message can sometimes be lost on medium and small businesses.
As a small business, you may think that you can’t afford to invest in data backups, but really you can’t afford not to. While it may be a bit much to invest in a backup system comparable to that of a Fortune 500 company, you can still tailor a strategy to fit your company’s size, budget, and data requirements.
Backups Can Save Your Business
Imagine you came into work this morning and discovered that all your business’s data had been corrupted. What would you do? If the answer is “I don’t know,” you have some work to do. Having your data backed up and available to you can make the difference from a couple of hours of downtime rather than having to incur all the costs associated with recreating your data.
When thinking about designing a backup plan for your business, here are some important things to think about.
Full vs. Partial Backups
As the name suggests, a full backup is a backup of every file located on a computer or server. This is often the type of backup used by homeowners as it allows them to have all of their data (including their operating system, settings, etc.) saved in one convenient place. However, most businesses don’t perform full backups as often as they perform partial backups.
With a partial backup, you select the data that is most valuable to you and make sure that copies of it are backed up frequently. That way, you can save storage and money by not saving data that can easily be found elsewhere, such as your operating system software. The one drawback of partial backups is that it is possible for valuable data to be looked over or forgotten until it is too late.
The Frequency of Backups
It’s extremely important to consider how frequently to perform backups, and this will be highly dependant on your business’s relationship to its data. It’s considered best practice to perform daily backups, but if your business isn’t creating new data at a fast pace, you might be able to get away with a weekly backup. Make sure to understand that however frequent your backups occur dictates how much data you could potentially lose (weekly backups = potentiality of one week’s worth of lost data).
Performing backups, no matter how infrequently, is better than not performing them at all.
Onsite vs. Offsite
Another key detail is related to where your backups are stored. If you backup your computer onto an external hard drive that you keep in your office, that is considered an onsite backup. This means that there could be a situation (i.e. earthquake, theft, etc.) where you lose both your original data and your backup in one fell swoop.
It is for this reason that offsite backups have become increasingly popular. There are many services available today which will perform backups via the Internet and store your data in a secure location for an extra level of security. These types of backups can also be run automatically which removes the burden of responsibility for performing backups from you or one of your employees.
There is a lot that goes into developing a good backup strategy, and this article only begins to scratch the surface. If you would like some assistance in developing and implementing a backup plan, the professionals at Partnered Solutions IT would love to help. Give us a call today!