7 Data Backup Blunders You Need to Evade
Data backups are essential to any modern business, given how integral data is to daily operations and workflows. A strong backup strategy protects your organisation from the consequences of data lost through cyberattacks, human error, hardware failures, and more, allowing it to recover and resume operations more efficiently.
However, it’s important to implement your backup strategy correctly, as failing to do so can often create problems of its own. The following are some of the most important mistakes you should avoid making when creating a backup strategy.
1) Not Backing Up In The First Place
This one is fairly obvious, but it’s worth hammering home the point: your business needs to back up its data! Failing to do so means that you’ll face disastrous consequences in the event of data loss for any reason, and your business will find it much harder to recover afterwards.
This is a surprisingly common mistake – the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 report on cybersecurity found that 39% of small-to-medium businesses don’t have an incident response plan. Businesses that fail to incorporate a plan that includes effective backup policies leave themselves wide open to disastrous data losses.
So if your business doesn’t have a backup strategy in place, it needs to create and implement one as a matter of priority.
2) Inconsistent Backup Procedures
Data backup is only effective if you carry it out on a regular basis. Your business needs to create a rigid schedule to update its backups to ensure that an up-to-date, relevant version is available whenever it may be needed for disaster recovery.
Small businesses can afford to update on a more relaxed schedule of once a week depending on the amount and type of data they work with, but larger businesses should update their backups on a daily basis. This is especially the case for any business with remote workers, high volumes of client data, or that work in heavily regulated industries.
3) Ignoring Mobile Devicess
Given the huge rise in remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ignoring mobile devices in your data backup strategy is a massive flaw. More and more workers now use mobile devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones in their daily work routine – all of which are vulnerable to ransomware, viruses, and data breaches.
Your data backup strategy thus needs to account for all of these devices. Shared remote workspaces like Google Drive and OneDrive are backup-friendly options for remotely filing and securing important files and data. Policies are also important when it comes to mobile devices – consider having employees manually back up mobile devices to a network backup solution on a regular basis.
4) No Auditing
It’s not enough to set up your data backup solutions and then simply ignore them. You should actively refresh and update your backups, auditing them on a regular basis to ensure they maintain parity with the data and software landscape of your business.
This includes checking the integrity of your backups, both physically and within the data itself. Check physical backup hardware for any damage that could lead to failure, and examine the backup itself for any data corruption or erosion that could present issues should you need the backup for disaster recovery.
5) Not Following The 3-2-1 Strategy
The 3-2-1 strategy is a basic framework for effective data backup strategies, with three main principles:
- Keep at least three copies of your data
- Back up your data on at least two types of storage
- Keep at least one backup off-site.
These principles are in place to ensure that no matter the situation you’re faced with, you’ll have at least one intact data backup to rely on.
Keeping multiple copies increases the chances that should one fail, the others will be intact; using two types of storage ensures that the same hardware fault can’t affect all your backups; and keeping at least one backup off-site protects your data from localised disasters such as fires, floods, power loss, or even natural disasters.
6) Allowing Too Much Access To Backup Systems
Backup systems should be sufficiently removed from your main networks that security breaches in your primary networks cannot affect your backups. This is especially the case when it comes to online or cloud-based backups; in these situations, your data backups should be set to read-only to prevent those with unauthorised access from deleting or altering data.
Online backups are also susceptible to ransomware that’s designed to spread across an entire network. Therefore, you should segment your backups to control and prevent the spread of ransomware and other malware. In addition, your backups should require separate access credentials from standard admin accounts in order to avoid unauthorised access.
7) Failing To Automate
This mistake is less to do with security and more to do with efficiency. Manually backing up data on a regular basis takes time and effort, and is also more open to human error. Automation of backup processes, therefore, offers a big advantage: the time and effort spent manually updating backups can be spent elsewhere, and costly mistakes can be more easily avoided.
However, automation doesn’t mean you can ignore your data backups entirely. An automated data backup strategy should be accompanied by a robust auditing schedule; that way, you can identify any errors that may have occurred with automated backups long before they become an issue.
Data backups are essential to any business, no matter the volume or type of data that they work with. However, incorrectly configuring your backup strategy will often just create new problems – so be sure to get everything set up properly, and if in doubt, consider getting an IT specialist to design and implement your backup solutions for you.