Let’s face it — your data is a valuable asset to your business. Maybe it’s not what comes to mind when you think of valuable assets. Your hardworking employees or your conveniently located office might be what you think of first. But your data is valuable, and it’s important to ask yourself whether it’s as safe and secure as it should be.
More importantly, it’s vital you have a resiliency strategy for all the data that’s crucial to your business operations. That resiliency strategy might look a little different depending on what kind of data you’re working with, but the point remains the same: Valuable data should be backed up if you’re unable to recreate it.
Maybe this paragraph makes you a little bit nervous because, well, you haven’t been too diligent about backing up your valuable data and you have no idea how you could recreate it if something were to happen. It’s time to start taking all of this into consideration.
Here’s how you can put together a great resiliency plan:
Consider the risks of lost data due to a crash.
The reality is that every hard drive is going to give out at some point. Unfortunately, you never know when that’s going to happen. Sometimes a computer shows warning signs of old age, but there are some instances when the hard drive will go out unexpectedly. In fact, half of all computers last four years or less, so your computer could end up going sooner than you think.
Ask yourself how old some of your computers are. Then ask yourself what is stored on those computers that you need to retain. If you have sales records, product information, client contact information, or important research stored solely on that hard drive, then it could all be lost. If this loss of data negatively affects your clients, you could see the reputation of your brand take a major hit. You could lose revenue from it. In a worst-case scenario, such as if you lost private data, your business could face fines, penalties, or lawsuits.
Is your data worth backing up?
Now that we went through the scare tactics, it’s worth acknowledging that not all data is going to need to be backed up. Sometimes it’s outdated. Sometimes it’s useful but not crucial. There’s also always the chance that the data could be easily and inexpensively recreated if anything were to happen to it.
This is why it’s so important to think through a resiliency strategy. In the case of data that isn’t valuable, you don’t need to do anything. If the data is easily recreated, then you can anticipate recreating it should you ever suffer a crash.
But if your answer to the question is that your data can’t be recreated and it’s of the utmost importance to the success of your business — well, it’s time to find a way to back it up.
Develop a strategy.
The risks of loss have to be considered. Your risks likely include a site disaster like a fire, flood, or device theft. It also includes accidental deletion by you or one of your employees, hard drive failure, and even being locked up and encrypted by a criminal organization through ransomware. All of these risks need to be considered and many times a simple strategy won’t work. For instance, backing up to an external hard drive is great to mitigate the risks of accidental deletion and hard drive failure, but it fails to save you from a site disaster, unless you periodically take it off site and away from the computer it’s mean to protect. Nor does it protect you from ransomware as many of those attacks are designed to target the backup disk as well. Whatever your strategy, between any onsite or remote solutions, it needs to mitigate all of these risks.
Make time to do it ASAP.
Once you have a resiliency plan, it’s time to implement it. While backing up all your data doesn’t seem like the most convenient thing on your to-do list, you now understand how important it is. Carve an hour out of your schedule this week to take care of it.
Once you find a system that works, stick to it. Back your data up regularly (ideally no less than once a month), and get in the habit of checking your backup hard drives and digital drives to ensure everything you need is there waiting for you.