94% of companies that go through a major data loss and are unable to recover will close within two years.
Data is the cornerstone of all businesses today. They cannot function without it, and every CEO should ensure that the company's sensitive information is safe even in the event of an extreme situation.
Paper copies are definitely not enough. What if there's a fire or a flood? You need to be prepared for such disasters. What can put your data at risk? And what modern and reliable solutions are available?
Methods of data breaches
Data can be compromised, corrupted, stolen or lost in dozens to hundreds of different ways. The most common ones include:
- The hard drive or memory card is physically damaged, making it impossible to access the stored data.
- The device (PC, laptop, mobile... ) is stolen and the data stored on it along with it.
- The information is deleted - by mistake or on purpose.
- The computer is infected with malware.
- A natural disaster destroys the company's equipment and backups.
- Ransomware will make data inaccessible until you pay a substantial amount (but even that doesn't guarantee a refund).
Chaotic backups are only slightly better than no backups. If you do backup, do it properly; otherwise you're just throwing money and time out the window. And you need a plan to make sure the back-ups go the way they're supposed to. Experts list three rules to keep in mind when creating such a plan and implementing it into your business processes:
- Backups must take place at regular intervals.
- You should back up to reliable media/cloud.
- For physical backup: keep the media in a safe, remote location.
When it comes to prioritising data: back up the data that is most critical to your business first and without which you will struggle to function proactively. You can reinstall programs with a license at any time, but correspondence or transaction records are at greater risk.
Backup and GDPR
When storing your data, you must not forget about data protection. Make sure that consent information is clearly archived and easy to trace.
You should also beware of keeping sensitive information for longer than the legislation allows (this can be anywhere from 2 to 40 years). If you do so, you may be fined up to 20,000,000 CZK. So what to do with data that is close to this limit? You have 2 options:
Delete - delete any personal data older than the time limit allowed, along with any trace that could lead to its traceability.
Anonymize - only remove connections between data and specific people. However, the process must be very careful and detailed.
Backup: the 3-2-1 rule
IT experts agree that one backup is never enough. The well-known 3-2-1 rule states that:
- there should be at least 3 copies of each document
- 2 of them should be on different media
- 1 copy should be backed up externally (ideally to the cloud)
Exactly how you use the rule depends on the needs and capabilities of your company. What options do you have?
Traditionally backed up to physical media, many companies still use this method. What are its advantages and which variants are among the most common?
Benefits of physical backup:
- speed of information transfer
- more control
- efficient data recovery
Disadvantages of physical backup:
- less safety and reliability
- complete responsibility for the operation and management of the media holding the data
- more complex maintenance and restoration
- data space is limited by individual pieces of hardware
USB flash drives are common, storage and their capacity is increasing (though still remains at the bottom of the list). USB ports are on almost all devices today, and the size of a typical flash drive makes it a great way to transfer data.
However, they are not fully adapted for long-term backup. It's not just the capacity and size (which simplifies potential loss/theft), but doubts have been raised about the reliability of USB memory in regular use.
Flash drives are a great tool for briefly storing and transporting information from one device to another, but for a permanent solution, we recommend reaching elsewhere.
Hard drives: the most common physical backup?
For small companies, external hard drives are perhaps the most common choice. You connect the hard drive to your computer and select the files you want to store on it. Most external HDDs also come with their own recovery software.
The failure rate of hard drives is around 2-3%, but there are all the other risks associated with physical backups: media damage, loss, theft, etc.
Even so, it is a very good variant, as evidenced by its wide distribution.
Traditional backup - magnetic tape
Magnetic tape, kind of the granddaddy of the data storage world, is ideal if you have a lot of information to archive. You don't have instant access to the stored data, so it's more of a long-term solution: with a little effort, tapes can last over 30 years!
The advantage of tape storage is the large capacity relative to the physical size. A small stack of magnetic tape can hold up to 12 TB or 30 TB with compression.
However, the backup process is a bit complicated and requires special hardware.
Back-ups on the internal server
If you have access to a LAN, you can use it to back up files to your own server (or transfer data to another PC). This way offers great independence, capacity and high speed.
However, management requires a capable IT department, and if the server room is located on the premises of the company's headquarters, there is a risk that its benefits will become meaningless in the event of situations such as fire, earthquake or even targeted theft of information.
An alternative to backing up to specific devices within the company is to use servers from an external provider. (Large corporations in some cases use their own cloud, but due to the high cost this is not a common practice.)
Multiple servers - often in multiple locations - combine to create a massive virtual storage cloud. What are its pros and cons?
Benefits of virtual backup
- possibility to increase capacity immediately and easily
- instant access to data
- fast (and automated) recovery
- price - today, thanks to the increasing competition, very favourable
- easy to use
Disadvantages of virtual backup
- less control
- the threat of cyber-attacks (despite increasingly careful security measures)
- dependence on internet connection
Backup to the cloud
The cloud is gaining popularity among modern businesses in several areas, and backup is one of them. You can access your data on the cloud at any time and from anywhere, everything is clearly organized and the backup process itself is simple, fast and often does not require any user involvement and takes place automatically.
The price of cloud services is falling while its benefits are increasing. Backing up to the cloud should definitely be one of the components of a successful backup for any responsible company.
Find out what the cloud can do for you and your business.