18 October 2022

5 Best Practices When Completing Data Backups – and protecting them for your business.

Data loss can be stressful and damaging to any company, even small businesses, especially when sensitive data has been stolen and can fall into the hands of anyone. All businesses are expected to keep their client’s/customers’ personal information safe, and having your network breached can ruin your customer relationships while exposing you to liability. So, in what ways can you prevent this from happening to you? Here are the top 5 practices for data backups that we at Red Rhino recommend.

1. Backup Files Frequently

The first and most crucial step when storing data is getting into the habit of regularly backing up files. Modern backup solutions will automate this. How frequently depends on your organizational requirements. It may be acceptable for some of your data to be backed up every few hours or even once a day. Other data, such as database or eCommerce transactions, may need to be backed up every 5 mins. This concept is known as RPO – recovery point objective. Before any data is lost, you should ask yourself these two questions;

  • “How much data can I afford to lose?”
  • “What point in time do you need to restore to?”

Answering these questions will help you determine what information needs to backup and how frequently.

2. RTO – Recovery Time Objective

Cyberattacks, phishing, and scams have become increasingly more popular and a lot more convincing. As a company, you try your best to avoid these attacks, but it’s prudent to prepare for the worst-case scenario. We recommend designing an IT solution based on the thought, “how long can the company be down in case of disaster or cybersecurity incident.” In this case, if the worst does occur, your disaster recovery plan allows you to be back up and running within the expected recovery time. Without clear communication between departmental requirements, expectations by IT or leadership can be mismatched.

IT should define your critical services and clearly communicate to leadership how long it would take to get those business services restored.

3. Cybersecurity Resilience

It seems that post-covid work-from-home is here to stay, forcing companies to consider cloud-based backups. You might ask yourself, “should we do a local backup or transition into cloud-based such as Google Drive or SharePoint?” We at Red Rhino recommend that the best practice is to have both local and cloud-based backups that consider anti-ransomware best practices. Using both methods will help eliminate any potential work product delay in case one of the systems is down or under cyber-attack. It’s important to perform regular audits of cyber threats to your backup and to implement a disaster recovery solution.

4. Test Restore

Just because a system has been placed and runs the first time successfully does not mean it will work all the time perfectly. To avoid any interruptions or long-term delays when a cyber-attack potentially occurs, your team should periodically perform test restores of your backups. After all, you don’t want to be taken by surprise. Consider creating a checklist for these tests and include file-level restore and the entire infrastructure. Include the following in your list:  

  • Was “test restore” successful? How long did it take, and does that meet our RTO?  
  • Were there any files missing? If so, which ones? 

Update your documentation for the restore process if it changes with these tests, and communicate the amount of time needed to restore data to company leadership so they’re aware of downtime risks to the business. 

5. Use Trusted Backup Vendors and Partners

Always look for certified and trusted vendors/partners. Your company’s data is extremely sensitive information that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Also, make sure that the systems you use have the proper implementation against any cyberattacks and have your best interest in mind. Far too often, we see organizations where they believed backups were occurring, only to find months had passed since the last successful backup.

Hiring A Qualified IT Provider

Cloud Solutions, Cybersecurity, Data Backup, Network Design and Audits are all tasks that can be implemented by a managed IT services company. If you are unsure where to start and need help implementing these practices, it is important to find a qualified IT provider who offers the services that meet your business needs. Red Rhino is one of the top 501 MSPs globally, with expert technicians to help you with all your IT needs. To get in touch with one of our representatives, fill out the form in the link below, and someone will contact you to go over your questions.