Are Your Backups Good? How Do You Know?
Your business might be only one disaster away from closing its doors forever. And the funny thing about disasters is, they mostly come unannounced.
Data loss, too, is a disaster that can arrive at any time and have severe consequences on your business. But you can reduce the impact of these consequences significantly if you prepare for them beforehand.
Hoping that nothing bad happens is a great way to stay positive. But you cannot rely solely on hope when it comes to data. Therefore, backing up your data is the only way to prevent your business from suffering the consequences of data loss, which in this day and age can be more destructive than you can imagine.
Data backup means making copies of your original data and storing them at a secure secondary location. It is a critical part of the disaster recovery plan that every business should have, regardless of its size.
The basic purpose of backing up your data is to ensure that you can restore all the business-critical files and information in case a disaster strikes and you lose all the data essential for your day-to-day business operations.
While on the subject of disasters, many things can put your data at risk. You can encounter a hardware or software failure, which could lock you out of accessing your data. A hacker can attack your IT infrastructure and destroy your files, or you could fall prey to ransomware. You can become a victim of natural disasters, a tornado can destroy your office, the computers can burn in a fire, the computer rooms can be flooded, and the list goes on.
In an era where businesses rely heavily on computers, you must have important information stored on your computers, such as tax information, customer credentials, vendor contact numbers, salary records, business expenses, sales records, and whatnot.
What would happen if you lost all this data? Inconvenience would be one of the consequences, but business downtime, disappointed customers, and potential penalties from the authorities are the more severe repercussions that will put your business at risk.
Backing up data may not help you evade fires or reconstruct your flooded office. But if your data is backed up, you can quickly restore it to alternate systems, ensure business continuity despite the disaster and avoid further financial loss due to loss of operation-critical data.
While big businesses are big on backing their data up, small businesses rarely think about it. They are either not aware of the criticality of data backups, or they simply think their data isn’t sensitive enough for some hacker to bother hacking into their system for it or essential enough to have copies in different locations.
Whether you own a small pet store or run a medium-sized construction company, your data is at risk of being damaged or stolen.
By making backups of the critical business data, you can avoid the inconvenience of rebuilding your database from scratch or suffering expensive business downtime.
But, making data backups is only half the battle. The other half is making sure is the backups are good – readable, accessible, and complete.
Your backup efforts will only yield expected results when your data is in good health and can be restored quickly and exactly how you want it to be.
While many businesses understand the importance of data backups, they forego testing the integrity of their data.
You see, data backup is not a “set it and forget it” kind of process. Though numerous innovations have made it possible for you to automate your data backups, you still have to ensure that the files you are backing up are complete and uncorrupted and can be restored when needed.
Just like many things that can go wrong with files that are not backed up, resulting in critical data loss, numerous mishaps can occur, which can lead to you being unable to retrieve the data you were counting on to rescue you from data-damaging disasters.
The files can be damaged while they are being transferred from the primary storage to the secondary storage. Or they could be damaged while they are archived in the secondary storage.
Not testing your data backup is like having life jackets with holes inside. You rely on them to save you from drowning in case the boat sinks. But when the need arises, and you are at risk of drowning, you find out that the lifesaver doesn’t work!
Finding out the life jacket doesn’t work in a sinking boat isn’t the best of scenarios, is it?
Similarly, the worst time to find that your backup isn’t working is when the disaster has arrived. You won’t be too happy with your backups when you have lost all your data and try restoring it from the backup, only to find out that it has been damaged over time.
So, you have to adopt a proactive approach and perform routine backup verification to make sure your backup can come to the rescue when you need it the most.
Backup verification is a process that tests the validity and integrity of your data and assures you that the data you have backed up is complete, current, and uncorrupted. It lets you focus on your business with confidence and peace of mind that your business can continue to thrive, even if a disaster strikes and you lose operation-critical data.
Additionally, backup testing and verification also check if the data can be restored on alternate systems in case your primary hardware is down and gives you insights into the shortcomings of the restoration process. You can mitigate the issues of the restoration process beforehand and be ready to access and restore your data quickly in the face of an unforeseen event.
However critical, data backup and verification are tedious and time-consuming. Continuously copying your primary files to a secondary location and then making sure they are accessible, readable, and restorable is a full-time job. This is the reason why many businesses forego it. Because, who has the time?
Data loss is unavoidable. Accidental deletion, manmade or natural disasters, anything can happen at any time. Therefore, you should have a well-established data backup and verification routine to ensure that you have a reliable secondary database to fall back on in case a disaster strikes.
Being a small business owner, you already have a lot on your plate.
Let a computer help desk in NJ, like Landau Consulting, manage your data backups and perform routine testing for you so you can have the peace of mind that your business will continue running, even if you encounter critical data loss.
Landau Consulting offers small business computer support in NJ and can help you with data backup and testing services.
Providing IT consulting in NJ, the experts at Landau Consulting can assist you in online, onsite, and offline backup procedures and help you select the most viable backup options for your business, be it physical storage or the cloud.
Contact us to learn about protecting your data.
If you are not sure about hiring outside help for IT-related services, check out the amazing resources Landau Consulting has on our blog!