Data Backup Strategies for SMBs

Data Backup Strategies for SMBs

backup plan

Data backup is the process of restoring data from your company’s primary computer system to a separate storage media, such as a data tape, hard disk or CD DVD Disk. If the original data stored in company’s primary computer system is lost or damaged, you can restore the data from the backup device and resume normal business operations.

The most important files to back up are data files. The files that change on a frequent basis. Periodically, it is recommended to back up the entire system in case of a catastrophic disaster. This periodic backup scheme should also include system files that contain specific user’s information for customized settings and passwords. You may also want to back up computer system’s software files if you no longer have the original disks of software. Most backup software available provide the option of backing up all system files on the storage drive, the files that have been changed since the last backup, or individually selected data files.

Data files change every time when someone enters new information in those files, it is good practice for companies to back up the data files every day (or only those files that have been changed) and then perform a complete backup of the entire computer system on a weekly, or monthly basis. If you are running your own company, you should determine the frequency of backups by asking yourself how frequently the data changes and how critical are the different types of data files. In simple words, how much data can you afford to lose without causing any negative impact to your business? You should back up your files almost regularly, but that is not practical. The best strategy is to plan a schedule that works for the majority of your important data files. For example, you can schedule a daily backup of new and modified data files and then a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly backup of all files. If you have very important files that must be backed up more often, you should back up these files throughout the day.

 

File Type

Backup Daily

Backup Weekly

Backup Monthly

Data Files

Yes

Yes

Yes

Critical Files

Yes

Yes

Yes

All System’s files (system and data files)

Yes

Yes

 

For the data files that are modified frequently, you should keep only the most recently modified files. As the previous data becomes obsolete with time, you can overwrite and reuse those tapes.  For the full set of files on your computer system, you should store all the files in a secure off-site location. By storing this complete file set in separate storage device, you can recover the entire computer system’s data in case disaster destroys the originals. For certain types of data (contracts, tax records, patient records, personnel files, and others), you may require to archive data for a specified time period to meet some specific legal requirements. In court cases, courts may hold owners and company officials liable for data loss (despite the reason for the data loss).

You should follow the tape vendor’s guidelines for data tape storage and replacement. Most vendors print these guidelines on the tape packaging. Also, most of the backup software track errors on a given tape, which informs you that a tape should be retired.

It is good practice to store one full set of your company’s data files on-site for immediate data recovery and another copy off-site in a secure location in case your business suffers theft, fire, or other disaster. Many small companies prefer to store backup tapes in a safe-deposit box at a local bank or even at the owner’s home. To reduce or eliminate the hassle and worry, other companies choose to contract with a service provider company who specializes in data archiving and data storage.

 

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