Practical Tips for Improving Your Small Business Backup
Owning your own business and going your own way is very rewarding, both personally and professionally. When you are the boss, you get to do things your own way, and you reap all the rewards when you do things right.
On the other hand, running the show largely on your own is fraught with potential perils. Owning your own business means you are responsible for everything that happens with the company, from how satisfied your customers are to how efficiently your operations run. You might reap the rewards of all your hard work, but the responsibility for when things go wrong is also fully on your shoulders.
Nowhere is this responsibility more evident than the security of your computer network and the reliability of your data backups. If you have not yet developed a data backup strategy for your small business, it is time to get going.
Just think about what would happen to your business if all your data disappeared overnight. That wake-up call should be enough to spur you into action, but what to do next may be far less clear.
Most startup businesses cannot afford to field an IT department, or even hire a single IT person to manage their networks. Without that professional support, it can be hard to tell where to turn or how to get started, but there are some things small business owners can do to back up their data and protect their networks.
No matter how much or how little data you have to protect, it is best to use a three-pronged strategy to keep it safe and secure. Building redundancy in from the start maximizes your data protection while reducing the overall costs, giving you more confidence that any lost information will be recoverable.
The first prong of the three-prong strategy is creating a local backup on a regular basis. If you are comfortable writing your own scripts, you can create automated processes that copy files from your local hard drive to an external hard drive, thumb drive or other backup device. If you are not a coder, you can use any number of off-the-shelf software products do accomplish the same backup goal. The key is to automate these local backups so they take place on a regular basis.
The second prong of your three-prong strategy is the offsite storage of your data. Business owners have two choices when storing their data offsite – pickup and recovery of backup media and cloud-based data storage. Until recently the pickup option was the most practical for most small businesses, but that is changing rapidly. Increased connection speeds and the improved reliability of cloud-based backup has made this type of off-site storage very attractive, and storing backup data in the cloud has a number of distinct advantages.
Cloud-based storage of backup data can provide easy recovery in the event of a disaster, even if the local office facilities are damaged or destroyed. The ability to recover data from anywhere there is an internet connection is certainly attractive, and it is one important factor in favor of the cloud-based approach.
The choice of cloud storage service will be critical, so business owners need to proceed with caution. Security is always a concern when backing up data in the cloud, so end-to-end encryption is a must. It is also important to look at the financial stability and history of the company so your data will be there when you need it.
It is, of course, important to check the integrity of those local and offsite backups and make sure the data will be easy to recover when you need it most. This verification of stored and backed up data is the third, and arguably the most important, part of your three-prong data security strategy.