So why are backups so important anyway?

27th February, 2019

When it comes to your business what is your attitude to risk? Do you embrace it, avoid it or just accept that things go wrong?

Is not having a reliable backup strategy playing Russian roulette with your business? – and are you OK with this?

If you trawl the internet it's quite easy to find a lot of statistics with regards to why you should backup your data. Unfortunately it's more difficult to find the source of these statistics, so I won't be quoting any here but at a high-level there are some important factors to consider.

There are many reasons why your business could suffer from data loss:

  • Hardware Failure
  • Theft (including that laptop you left on the train ...)
  • Natural Disaster (fire/flood/etc...)
  • Malicious Intent (while for small businesses this is less frequent, there is still a risk from disgruntled employees)
  • Human Error (Oops! really didn't intend to hit 'save')
  • Malware/Ransomware (honestly, it looked like a genuine email .... and now you're stuck with a decision; should you pay that ransom? If you do, will you get your files back or have you just broadcast the fact that you're happy to pay ransoms?)
  • ... these are just the reasons I quickly thought of, it's not an exhaustive list!

It's likely that a business that suffers total data loss may struggle to stay afloat.

You'll find lots of quoted stats on this. They usually state that somewhere in the region of 50%-70% of businesses that suffer total data loss will go out of business within a couple of years.

While finding the original source of these stats is difficult, they're not hard to believe.

Consider your customer details, your financial data, your sales, suppliers etc... etc... are they all stored electronically? Would you be able to recreate enough of this information if you were to lose it all?

Increasing amounts of data are stored online, whether that's on a device within your company or in the Cloud.

As more of your company's information is stored electronically the risks increase.

Consider the loss of individual files as much as total loss

The purpose of backing up your data is not just to recover from total data loss. Do you have individual files or folders that you can't afford to lose? People make mistakes; they overwrite files by mistake, they hit delete at the wrong time and if you don't have backups how are you going to get that information back?

Malware/Ransomware can target your backups

Increasingly Ransomware is being found to target the native backup systems found in operating systems. The 'best' backup solution for your business will depend on many factors, but if your data is important to your business you should consider specialized backup software that

  • Stores your backed up data in a seperate location, and one which your computers can't access using computer or network accounts.
  • Stores changes to your files so that you can choose a date to restore to.

If you’re sitting reading this and it's reminded you to dust off that spare drive you keep in a drawer for backups (and you haven’t used for a while) hoping that it still works, it might be a good time to revisit your options.

Data protection must be multi-layered. From good anti-virus/anti-malware software, robust physical and network security, strong security policies through to effective staff training. But behind all that you need to have a solid, reliable and off-site backup with the ability to restore your data from multiple points in time, as quickly as possible should the worst happen.