Data loss can have severe consequences for individuals and organisations, including lost productivity, revenue, and damage to reputation. Backups are a critical component of data protection, enabling quick recovery and ensuring continuity of operations.  

Types of backup

There are three main kinds of backup your organisation can choose to conduct: full, incremental and differential. A full backup copies all the data in a system, while an incremental backup only copies the data that has changed since the last time. A differential backup, on the other hand, copies all the data that has changed since the last full. As a result, incremental backups are faster and require less storage space than full backups, while differential backups are faster to restore than incremental backups since they only require the last full backup and the most recent differential backup. Full backups provide the most comprehensive protection as they contain all of your data, though they can take longer to complete and require more storage space. The choice of backup type depends on your specific needs and resources.

Why backup data?

Organisations should backup their data to protect against data loss, which can occur due to various reasons such as hardware failures, natural disasters, cyber attacks, human error, or theft. Losing critical data can have profound consequences, including lost productivity, lost revenue, legal liability, and damage to reputation. By backing up their data, organisations can ensure that they have a copy of their valuable information that can be easily restored in the event of data loss. Data backups can also help organisations comply with their country’s data protection regulations by ensuring that sensitive or confidential data is kept safe and secure, and that the correct up to date backup is used in case of restoration.

Why backup a server environment?

Organisations should backup their server environment to ensure business continuity and minimise downtime in the event of unexpected incidents such as hardware failure, cyber attacks, or natural disasters. Servers are critical to an organisation's operations as they host applications, store important data, and facilitate communication and collaboration among employees. If a server fails or is compromised, it can lead to lost productivity and lost revenue.

By backing up their server environment, organisations can quickly restore their servers to a previous state, helping speed up the continuity of operations. Backups can also provide a layer of protection against data loss or corruption. In the event of a cyber attack, for example, backups can help organisations recover their data without having to pay a ransom to cybercriminals. In some cases, backups can help organisations comply with regulatory requirements by ensuring that critical data is securely stored and easily retrievable, and easily removable.

Local vs Cloud

The main difference between cloud backups and local backups for data protection is where the backup is stored.  

Local backups are stored on physical storage devices such as external hard drives or USBs, while cloud backups are stored remotely on a server that is accessible through the internet. Local backups provide quick and easy access to the data but are vulnerable to physical threats such as theft or natural disasters.  

Cloud backups, on the other hand, are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection and are often more secure as they are stored in data centres with sophisticated security measures. However, cloud backups may be slower to restore and may be subject to data retrieval fees depending on the service provider. They can also fail to restore if misconfigured. Ultimately, the decision of whether to use local or cloud backups depends on the individual or organisation's specific needs and resources.

How do I implement a backup strategy?

The 3-2-1 backup rule is a well-established redundancy strategy that can help protect against data loss in the event of a disaster or cyber attack. With this strategy, data is backed up in three copies, stored on two different types of media, and with one of those copies being kept off-site. This ensures that in the event of a hardware failure, human error, or other unexpected incident, the user has multiple copies of their data that are stored in different locations. The off-site backup helps protect against disasters such as fire, flood, or theft, as the data is stored in a different physical location than the original copies.

In addition to providing protection against data loss, the 3-2-1 backup rule can also help streamline data recovery. By having multiple copies of the data, users can easily recover their information in the event of an unexpected incident. By keeping one copy off-site, users can still access their data even if their primary location is inaccessible. This can be particularly helpful for businesses or individuals who need to access their data quickly to continue operations, even in the event of a disaster or other unexpected event.  

Regular checking of the data in the backups both in the cloud and off-site is recommended to ensure the data you are saving is useable!

Business Continuity importance

The ability to continue business as usual in the face of a cyber attack or disaster is imperative to not only the ‘bottom line’ but for reputation and your staff. Ceasing operations for a period can risk losing good staff who need to make arrangements of their own, which will mean a lengthy and costly recruitment process once you’re back on your feet. There is also a risk of losing long term customers due to lack of service, which could be the difference between being able to continue to conduct business at the level you were before the incident.

Backing up your data and network is a boring but necessary task that can save your organisation in the long run. Make sure you add it to your IT procedures this World Backup Day!

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