Data is one of the most critical components of any business and protecting it should be a priority. Generally, loss of data due to hardware failure, software crash, human error, cyber-attack or a natural disaster is costly and risky regardless of the size of the business.
Most often, small businesses assume that it is only the big companies that face data safety and security challenges. But this is on the contrary, since the small businesses are also vulnerable and likely to suffer more due to loss of data. In the event of a disaster, hardware or software crash, a small business may not have the expertise, resources or budget to pay for expensive data recovery services from third-party providers.
A study by Verizon found out that a loss of about 100 or fewer critical files costs a business between $18,120 and 35,730. This may be a lot of money for a small business, hence the need to implement a backup or data protection system.
Although it might not be possible to ensure 100 percent recovery, a backup is an effective preventive measure that enables businesses to resume operations quickly after a disaster or compromise that destroys data.
However, the effectiveness of a data backup and recovery solution depends on how well an organization plans and executes it. A good backup plan stresses on redundancy. Generally, the best practice is to maintain at least three copies of any data at all times.
A backup is a preventive measure that reduces the risk of data losses due to a wide range of causes. By reducing the time to recover from a failure, it minimizes the downtime while improving the business’s uptime, reliability, and reputation.
Generally, although the backup does not prevent disasters or IT system failures, it protects the business from data losses and lengthy downtimes. Some of the major several reasons why the small businesses require data backup solutions include;
Disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires, and others have the potential to wipe out the entire data center and thereby damage all the critical files and information. Since these are usually unpredictable, every business should prepare in advance by deploying a recovery solution that helps to reduce the impact of the damage or loss of the primary data.
In addition to huge financial resources due to damaged hardware, an organization often suffers from lengthy downtimes since they need to set up new systems and reconstruct the data. Without a backup, the only option is to try their luck and see if they can recover files from the damaged disks. This is usually an expensive gamble and does not guarantee recovery when the damage is extensive. On the other hand, if there is a backup, it only takes a few hours to set up new systems, restore the data and get back to business.
Keeping a copy of all the critical data minimizes the effect of a cyber-attack that either damage or prevent access to the files. Although there are security solutions to prevent threats, attackers are always finding ways to compromise the systems and gain access to files which they can damage or infect with viruses.
Typical malicious actions include corrupting, modifying or deleting the data. Other criminals may block access to the information until the organization pays a ransom. Either case, this leads to huge financial losses reputation and reliability issues and can potentially drive away existing and potential customers.
Because small businesses have limited budgets to implement strong security solutions, they are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks hence the need to protect their data. With a backup in place, the small business will have an opportunity to restore files from a clean copy whenever there is a virus or cyber-attack.
A backup ensures that there is always a copy of the business and customers’ data. When the servers or computer systems are compromised and the data gets damaged, the business can just replace the corrupted information with the clean versions from a backup.
In the event of a data compromise, the business will have minimal interruption or downtime. Backing up the customer data protects the business’s brand and reputation as well as cutting costs that it would incur to clean or recover compromised, deleted or damaged data.
Human errors and insecure human behavior, whether intentional or not, increases the risk of data losses within an organization. Most often, this leads to deletions, incorrect file modifications, or exposing critical data to criminals. Consequently, the affected files end up containing the wrong information. If this happens, the small business has the option to restore a clean copy of its data and hence continue its operations with minimal interruptions.
However, even with a backup solution, all organizations must promote safe computing practices and also monitor the employees who have risky behaviors.
ICT system failures are inevitable. This includes failure in hardware components such as hard drives, operating system crashes, and other problems. Such a thing will definitely lead to downtimes and can take days or weeks to get back to operations. It is even worse when such a failure damages critical business files which are hard to replace.
A backup solution minimizes the risks of data losses, while reducing downtime. Even with hardware failure, the business only needs to replace the component such as the hard drive and then restore the data from its latest backup.
Ideally, it is important to have a perfect backup plan in place. However, a small business without adequate resources, skills, and budget to implement a perfect solution can begin with minimal options that minimize the risks of data loss, and then upgrade gradually.
While deploying a large or highly reliable solution is often beyond the reach of many small businesses, there are several entry-level technologies that provide a reasonably good level of data protection.
Available options include backing up to external disks, tape drives, server or cloud storage. Determining which solution is best depends on factors such as the organization’s needs, vulnerabilities, type of files, budget, and frequency of backup.
Cloud backup continues to gain popularity compared to the on-premise tape and disk-based systems. The cloud allows customers to backup up their data to online storage systems through the internet. It has little or no upfront and running costs and provides scalable and flexible options that make it suitable for any type of business.
Some businesses prefer backing up to both the local and cloud storage for more security. To provide extra protection for sensitive and critical information, some backup solutions have the ability to encrypt the data in transit and storage. Also, a system that automatically backs up data at scheduled times eliminates the need to perform manual backups while minimizing the risks of forgetting.
While an online solution provides the ability to back up and restore files through the internet, some providers add an option of saving a local copy. In the event of losing the primary data, the business has the option to restore from the local copy, usually in disks, which is usually faster or useful when the internet is slow or down.
A good backup solution should be scalable, compatible, friendly budget, reliable support and from a reputable organization. However, the requirements may differ from one business to the other and it may be difficult to find a one-fit size for all from one solution. The best approach is to use a combination of strategies so that if one fails, there is always a fallback plan.
Most small businesses do not have the time and staff with adequate skills to manage the backups. In such a case, the best option is to look for a managed service provider. The provider does all the technical work at flexible plans that most small businesses can afford. For example, Altaro provides a solution that service providers can use to fully manage backups for their customers. Typical applications include the Altaro Office 365 Backup for MSPs and Altaro VM backup for MSPs.
Generally, there is a wide range of options for backing up critical business information and hence prevent loss of data. The solution differs from one provider to the other and it is up to the organization to choose a backup technology and approach that addresses its needs. Most often, the businesses need to balance the availability, cost, usability, security and configurability.
Backing up critical business systems prevents data loss in the event of a problem. Although most small businesses look at backups as complex systems, it does not have to be so because there are different types of solutions to cater for any size and type of business.
When budget allows, combining different solutions provides the best protection and faster recovery.