2023 Guide to Corporate Data Backup [Recommendations, Advice & FAQ]
Why you need corporate data backup
In today’s business world, data is everything. From critical application data to sensitive customer files, companies today are literally powered by their data. Without an adequate corporate data backup system in place, a business stands to lose everything.
That’s not an exaggeration. Some research has shown that 60% of companies that lose their data are forced to shut down within 6 months. Every minute counts. When a loss of data leads to operational downtime, it costs small businesses an average of nearly $8,600 every hour until the problem is resolved. For large businesses, that number skyrockets up to $5 million per hour.
Regardless of the size of the business, it’s important to have contingencies in place for when disruptions inevitably occur. These disruptions aren’t limited to hackers or servers going down. Natural disasters, human error and other factors contribute to data being compromised and potentially lost.
The single most critical contingency for these scenarios is corporate data backup.
What is corporate data backup?
Corporate data backup is a system of software and hardware that ensures business continuity in the event of a disaster. It is a solution for protecting against data loss and system downtime, enabling a business to continue running efficiently.
Data is backed up to an on-site server, a backup appliance or a data center off-site (or even a combination of all three). Backups occur on a schedule set by the administrator. After a data loss event occurs, administrators can restore individual files, or the entire backup, by choosing the appropriate recovery point.
The critical data your business runs on
What kinds of data should businesses back up?
In short, all of it.
From a file perspective alone, businesses maintain a wide spectrum of critical data that is central to their operations: email, customer data, transactions, marketing plans, strategies, assets and employee data – not to mention all the various files and folders that are accessed by its workers every day.
But then there are the other layers of critical data, like O/S and application data, that power the business’s computing capabilities. If, for example, a cyberattack compromised these files, then critical applications and even the operating systems themselves might not function properly.
Businesses today rely on a wide range of software for their day-to-day operations. When these applications become inaccessible, or the data inside them goes missing, operations can come to a screeching halt.
How does data loss happen?
Statistics show that roughly 70% of businesses experience data loss. It happens every day at companies around the globe. And when there’s no form of corporate data backup in place, those files are often gone for good.
How does it happen? Here are some of the most common causes:
1) Human error
A whopping 75% of corporate data loss is caused by human error, according to the IT Policy Compliance Group. The most common scenario is accidental deletion. Users inadvertently delete important emails, files and entire folders. Often they misplace them by accident. Other times, they delete them on purpose, not realizing the importance of the files until it’s too late. Even skilled IT administrators can cause data loss, for example, by inadvertently misconfiguring new hardware or mishandling a data migration.
2) Hardware & software failure
Sometimes, stuff just breaks. And when it does, a whole lot of data can be destroyed. Whether it’s an application crash or a server hard drive that goes bad, critical data can become inaccessible or even corrupted. Hardware and software failure are among the top causes of data loss. You can mitigate risks by patching systems as soon as they’re updated and replacing old hardware, but these kinds of disasters will still occur. The only way to truly protect your data is to routinely back it up.
3) Ransomware & other malware
Numerous forms of malware pose a constant risk to your cybersecurity. Ransomware is especially nasty in that it specifically targets your data. An infection typically occurs when a user opens an infected email attachment or visits an infected website. The ransomware then proceeds to encrypt nearly every file it can get its hands on, while demanding the user pay a ransom to restore everything back to normal. Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee anything. The operational downtime is where the costs really add up. A report by Datto found that the average ransom request for small and medium-size businesses was $4,300, while the average cost of the downtime was $46,800.
4) Natural disasters
Severe weather events can happen anywhere, posing a risk to commercial buildings and the infrastructure inside it. Fire and flooding (whether from storms or pipe bursts) can quickly destroy on-premise servers, as well as any data stored on them. Depending on the location, businesses can face the added threat of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes. Losing a physical office space, warehouse or industrial building alone can be devastating for a business. But if the data is wiped out too, it becomes even more difficult for an organization to recover.
5) Migration errors
Whenever large amounts of data are moved, it poses a risk of data loss. Most commonly, files are overwritten or accidentally deleted during the migration. This is usually due to human error, but other factors can be at play, such as buggy software. This is why IT experts often recommend performing a new backup prior to any large migration (in addition to the usual backup schedule). Therefore, if data is lost, it can be quickly restored from the backup.
6) Malicious deletion
In a recent poll conducted by Aberdeen Group, 7% of companies reported that their own employees or contractors had purposely destroyed data. This is commonly an act of vengeance when an employee is terminated from the company. Organizations can reduce this risk by removing their account access immediately at the time of termination. However, the only way to fully eliminate the risk of permanent data loss from malicious deletion is to have a corporate data backup system in place.
The need for business-grade data backup
Admittedly, there are many steps a business can take to mitigate the risks of each of the disasters above. But even then, data-loss events will still happen. This is why corporate data backup is so essential.
Businesses need to be realistic about the threats to their data, or they simply won’t be able to maintain continuity when disaster strikes.
- Emergencies will happen– Remember, no operation or system runs smoothly 100% of the time. Hardware goes down. Software can crash. Natural disasters, power failures and human error are bound to occur. Corporate data backup ensures that your business can recover the files and applications you need to keep the business running after an unexpected disruption.
- You need a plan– As the saying goes, “You don’t plan to fail. You just fail to plan.” Companies without a corporate data backup solution eventually will have an occurrence of data loss or system downtime. This loss of data, and the downtime that ensues, translates into money being lost as well—a lot of it.
- Threats are increasing– In today’s digital world, data is more compromised and at risk than ever before. As we’ve established above, there will always be threats like human error and natural disaster. However, today’s cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving and getting more sophisticated. Malware, phishing attacks, email scams, corporate espionage, data theft – the list goes on and on. It’s never been more important to protect your business data against these evolving threats.
- Data is crucial– We’ll say it again: your data is critical to your ability to maintain business continuity. Without access to data, your workers cannot do their jobs. Your systems cannot function properly. Your operations are stalled. Production is halted. Revenue streams are blocked. Important business decisions are either delayed or not made. Data loss affects nearly every aspect of your business.
What to look for in a backup solution
Okay, so backup is important. But what kind of solution is right for your business?
Backup technologies have evolved quite a bit over the last decade. And with so many different options available, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here are some features to look for:
- Hybrid cloud backup: It’s not enough to simply back up your data to an on-site server and call it a day. What if the building is destroyed in a fire? Hybrid cloud backup provides two layers of protection: backups are stored both on-site for the fastest access to data and in the cloud for greater assurance in case of on-site disasters.
- Backup virtualization:Look for backups that can be booted as virtual machines, either on the local device or in the cloud. This allows you to access not only your data, but also your critical applications. If cloud virtualization is available, then you can do this on basically any other machine in just minutes, helping you maintain continuity when it matters most.
- Inverse chain technology: This is patented technology from Datto that allows for faster, more resilient, more frequent backups. Each completed backup has no dependency on other backups, thus removing the need to reconstruct a backup chain. Backups can occur as often as every 5 minutes. All backups are in a fully constructed state and can be virtualized instantly.
- Backup verification:You need to be sure your backups are completed successfully and can be recovered without a problem. Automated verification and testing of backups eliminates this concern and also reduces the time spent on manual testing.
- Ransomware protection: This is another feature built into Datto’s BC/DR systems. The backup device uses algorithms to detect known ransomware footprints, such as files being rapidly overwritten in bulk. Upon detection, the system automatically alerts administrators, so that they can roll back to a clean recovery point. This process effectively minimizes the data loss, stops the infection from spreading and eliminates the threat.
- Search capabilities: Finding lost data is traditionally very time-consuming and not a good use of your IT resources. Look for backup solutions that offer powerful search capabilities, which make it easier to locate files that have been deleted, modified or moved.
- Built for your business: If you have an ever-growing vault of data, make sure your backup solution is easily scalable. Similarly, if you’re a small business, look for solutions that are sized for your needs yet don’t sacrifice protection. With the right platform, small and medium-size businesses today can obtain enterprise-level protection without the enterprise price tag.
Backup strategy questions to consider
Selecting a corporate data backup system will largely be determined by how it meets the specific objectives of the company. Before choosing a system, businesses must develop a backup strategy that will dictate how and when backups will be performed. This will enable the company to narrow down options to find the best system for its needs.
Here are some questions to consider as you create your backup strategy:
- How frequently will backups need to be performed? What is the maximum acceptable age of a backup? How much data can be lost between backups before it causes a severe disruption to the business?
- How and where will the backups be stored? If they’re stored on-site, what happens if the hardware is destroyed? If backups are in the cloud, how quickly can you restore data?
- How can protected data and systems be restored? Which recovery methods are available? File/folder level restore? Bare-metal restore? Virtualization? Which methods are critical to ensuring that your business is covered in every type of data-loss event?
- How much data will need to be backed up? What size BC/DR system will you need? How much local and cloud storage is available, and how does that affect the cost of the system?
- How long should backups be retained? How many restore points will you need to keep before the oldest are deleted?
- How and when will backups be tested? Can each new backup be tested for integrity? Is this testing automatic? Who will manage this process or address issues if problems are detected during a test?
Datto’s business continuity solutions
When it comes to corporate data backup, we like Datto’s solutions because they’re designed to help organizations achieve true business continuity.
The company’s flagship BDR device, the SIRIS, is built with all of the capabilities above, including hybrid cloud technology, inverse chain backups and ransomware protection. SIRIS lets you virtualize your entire infrastructure in as little as 6 seconds, so that critical teams can continue working during a disruptive event.
SIRIS is available in multiple forms for businesses of all sizes, from all-flash devices to rack-mounted 4U chassis. All backups are replicated to Datto’s secure cloud, which is built upon multiple data centers around the globe, protecting more than 140 PB of data.
Don’t leave your data at risk
In today’s data-driven world, it’s important to have a plan in place that protects your data and allows your business to continue running fluidly.
If you’re looking at backup solutions for the first time, it’s a good idea to start with a business continuity plan (BCP). This will help you understand your business’s risks and the impact of various disaster scenarios. In turn, you’ll be better able to set realistic objectives for data backup and recovery, helping you choose the right platform for your company.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about corporate data backup
1) What’s the best corporate data backup system?
The Datto SIRIS is widely regarded as one of the best solutions for corporate backup today, due to its high-frequency backup capabilities, instant backup virtualization and unified deployment. However, backup systems should always be selected according to the specific needs of the company.
2) What is the safest way to back up data?
For businesses, the safest way to back up data is to create multiple copies for storing in different locations, such as on-site and in the cloud. Backups should not be permanently connected to the networks and devices they’re backing up. Also, they should be tested regularly to ensure they work.
To avoid data loss, businesses should back up data as often as possible: at least once daily, but as frequently as every few minutes at larger companies. Immutable cloud storage is ideal for businesses seeking the highest level of security for their backups.
3) What is the best backup strategy?
Each company must develop its own backup strategy to meet the unique needs and objectives of the business. However, recommended strategies for most businesses include daily or more frequent backups; hybrid cloud backup storage, virtualization capabilities and automatic backup testing.
4) How often should a company back up its data?
In 2023, most small companies should back up data at least once a day. However, businesses that deal with large amounts of data changes will need to create backups more frequently, such as every few hours or every few minutes. Backup frequency should be determined by each business’s continuity planning and recovery point objective (RPO).
5) How many backups should a company have?
A company should generally have at least 3 copies of backups accessible via different formats and storage locations. This is sometimes referred to as the 3-2-1 Rule, which dictates that companies should have 3 backups consisting of 2 different backup formats and 1 cloud backup.
Get more information
Invenio IT provides corporate data backup solutions that allow your business to flourish in spite of disaster. For more information on how you can protect your data with Datto’s hybrid cloud BC/DR technologies, request a free demo or contact our business continuity specialists today. Call (646) 395-1170 or email success@invenioIT.com.