Having a data backup strategy is crucial for protecting your company.

Data protection is an essential element in every organization’s IT strategy because it minimizes the risks of data loss, downtime, and compliance breaches. Data loss threats include corruption of files, human errors, network outages, viruses, ransomware attacks, and natural disasters. Backups provide a trusted copy of an organization’s data, enabling the recovery of data in case of loss.

Data backup may seem like a simple concept, but planning and implementing a strategy can be a challenge. Achieving an efficient, cost-effective data recovery strategy requires careful planning, thoughtful design, and constant testing. IT teams have many different backup approaches to choose from, each with their own benefits and disadvantages.

Let’s take a look at the leading backup strategies.

The Components of Effective Backup Strategies

Here are some of the components of efficient backup strategies:

  • Identify which data needs backup protection. Determine what needs to be in a data backup. For many companies, this includes everything from customer data to files containing information about payments or accounts.
  • Assess your company’s backup needs. How often should you back up your business data? If you want your company to generate data as quickly as possible, you may want a daily or an hourly backup. If your company rarely updates data, a once-weekly backup may be sufficient.
  • Identify where you will store copies of your business data. You can choose between cloud and on-premise storage systems. Many companies, however, use a hybrid approach to ensure maximum data protection.
  • Consider what you’re protecting your company against. If you want to protect your data from natural disasters such as flooding, then you may want to consider cloud-based storage. Only keep your critical business data backups if they are stored in a waterproof, fireproof and indestructible safe.
  • Train your employees. This prevents human error in data handling. Help your employees understand how your company’s data processing works and how your backup systems function.

What Are the Different Types of Backups for Business?

Full Backup

As the name implies, a full backup makes a copy of an entire data set to a storage device. It’s the most basic and complete type of backup because it provides a complete copy of all data on a single set of media. It takes much less time to restore data from full backup in case of data loss.

The two primary down sides of a full backup are that it takes longer to perform the backup operation than other types of backups and requires more storage space. As a result, organizations that have large amounts of data will typically run full backups only periodically, such as once a week or once a month. This approach reduces the burden on storage space and the overall time spent on backups. To preserve data during the intervals between full backups, they rely on other types of backups.

Incremental Backups

Incremental backups complement a full backup. They copy only the data that has been added or altered since the last backup, which can be full backup or an incremental backup.

This process offers quicker backup speeds and requires less storage space than relying on full backups only. The downside is that if you need to restore data, it takes more time than if you’re restoring from a full backup. You must rebuild the data set using all of the incremental backups made since the most recent full backup.

Differential Backups

Differential backups make copies of files and folders that have changed since the last full backup. Like incremental backups, they’re much quicker than full backup because less data is being stored.

The primary advantage of differential backups over incremental backups is in its restoration speed. You only need the last full backup and the most recent differential backup to restore data, rather than all of the backups with an incremental backup restoration. The downside is that differential backups require more storage space than incremental backups, although not as much as full backups.

Other Types of Backups

Organizations also use other types of backups. Mirror backups are similar to full backups. They create an exact copy of the original data, with the backed-up files storage separately as they are in the original data set. This approach provides easy access to individual backed-up files and quick data restoration, but, like full backups, it requires significant storage space.

A synthetic full backup combines the most-recent full backup with subsequent incremental backups. In essence, this provides a full backup that’s always up to date. Two other options — incremental forever and reverse incremental backups — combine full and incremental backups. An incremental forever backup stores full backups and all subsequent incremental so that selected points in time can be chosen during restoration operations. Reverse incremental backups supplement a synthetic full backup by retaining incremental backups to enable roll-backs to a specified point.

What Are the Various Backup Options?

Here are some of the backup options that you can choose from:

  • Hardware backups: Data is backed up in a single drive on your computer.
  • Cloud storage: Also known as offsite backup, this option allows you to store your business data in the vendor’s secure cloud infrastructure. But, you need a stable internet connection to quickly upload and download data.
  • Hybrid backup solution: This is a combination of software and cloud backups. Data are backed up not only onsite but also on the cloud.

How Can You Ensure that Your Backups Are Secure?

Here’s a look at a few ways to keep your backups secure:

  • Use Encryption. You should package your company’s data backups and encrypt them with at least 256-bit AES.
  • Follow the 3-2-1 rule. Three backup copies of data, across two different mediums, with one copy backed up offsite.
  • Test regularly. This ensures that backups work as expected during emergency situations.
  • Eliminate manual processes. Manual backups are at risk of human error. If you automate your backup system, you can reduce the amount of human interaction with data, which minimizes the risk of overwriting or deletion.

Back It Up or Risk Losing It

Everything from cyber-criminals and thieves to fires and floods can put your data backups at risk. Thus, it’s crucial to have a backup system in place to ensure business continuity. If you need help implementing backup systems, contact one of our experts today.