Smart Data Backup Strategies for Small Businesses
Dan Levenson May 16, 2017
Planning a data backup strategy for your small business might sound like a simple process, but there’s more to think about to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future.
In this unpredictable world we’re living in today, all documentation needed to keep your business functioning could still easily disappear in a second. A natural disaster may wipe out your business within minutes, even if you have some data backed up.
The above usually occurs when relying on an on-site database for all data storage. While it’s better than nothing, what happens if your entire building is destroyed—along with your server where your backups are stored?
This is just one thing to think about when backing up data. You also need to think about the methods you’ll use to save data, what to back up, and how often you’ll save it.
Using a Local and Offsite Backup System
You’ll obviously want a local backup system, one you can turn to within your location to access data again. It doesn’t mean you should keep this within your business property. Using a backup source within a short drive in your local city can mean being able to rescue your business without driving hundreds of miles to another place.
In cases where there are mass power outages, a local backup system isn’t always feasible. Choosing an offsite, third-party backup provider is a smart strategy to keep things going if you need to go elsewhere to find electricity. Many small businesses still use tape backup with offsite rotation, giving multiple options for data access locations.
However, the cloud is truly the best method for more than a few reasons.
What Method Should You Use for Data Backup?
While not all small businesses are perfect candidates for using the cloud, it’s something to consider first as the most reliable backup method. Considering you can safely store almost the entirety of your business contents in the cloud, you can literally save your business from a major disastrous event.
With the cloud being easy to access on any mobile device, restoring important documents instantly (even from home) can keep your small business from going under.
Of course, cost is probably a concern. Online sources show many great cloud providers for small businesses that don’t cost a fortune, yet still bringing strong reliability.
If you’re essentially a startup and have minimal data, a USB-based drive can keep your data relatively safe. Also consider a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) system, distributing your data across multiple hard drives. RAID technology is more tolerant to failures, so it’s a good sideline backup to using Time Machine (if you use Apple computers).
How Often Should You Back Up Data?
Any continuous backup system is better than one only backing up once or twice a day. If your small business has continually changing data every hour, you absolutely need something continuous.
Redundancy is important here so if one data backup system fails, you’ll have other sources available. In this regard, it’s worth remembering continuous backup won’t always be completely reliable in just one location.
Documentation You Need to Save
Any documents you need to keep your business running require continual backup, including a backup test to assure it’s all being saved properly. Insurance papers and business operation documentation should get particular protection since you’ll need these if your business experiences a disaster.
Plus, all documentation proving compliance needs extra focus on backup. Forgetting to back this up could place you in more financial jeopardy and legal trouble than you may already experience after something unforeseen occurs.