There are infinite ways your organisation’s data could get compromised.
Someone could lose their work laptop. A flood could destroy a basement full of filing cabinets and servers. The first quarter of 2019 alone saw a 118% rise in ransomware attacks in which cybercriminals restricted access to organisations’ files until a ransom was paid to have them decrypted and restored.
Many high profile stories focus on data breaches, but just as much damage can be caused by data loss.
Having backups of your information is crucial in being able to get back to business as efficiently as possible if disaster does strike. Yet a Business In The Community report from earlier this year found that less than half of businesses surveyed back up their data every day. A worrying 8% never back it up at all.
If you have the resources to back up your data automatically, you could save yourself a lot of hassle in the event of an emergency. If you don’t, daily or even weekly backups can hugely mitigate any damage caused.
Generally, it is recommended that businesses follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy to ensure that their files are safe.
Keep three copies of your data
The more copies you have of any important file, the less likely it is that you’ll lose it forever should you suffer some misfortune. Obviously, making infinite copies of anything is impractical in terms of both time and storage capacity.
But having at least three separate copies saved is generally good practice. It’s not so many that you’ll get overwhelmed by duplicates, but it’s enough that you have a few options if you have particularly bad luck hanging onto your original.
Save two copies on different storage media
Your primary copy will be saved directly to whatever machine you use to create or edit it. Your other copies need to be somewhere else. Anywhere else. It would be redundant to keep all your identical files on the same hard drive, as whatever issue corrupts one of them will probably ruin the rest too.
Ideally, each copy you have should be saved somewhere different, on a minimum of two different devices.
This can mean saving a new copy to a separate flash drive, printing a hard copy or connecting a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive to your infrastructure. You have plenty of options and using different types of storage will offer fuller protection.
Locate one copy offsite
A lot of the concerns contemporary businesses have when it comes to lost or compromised data are technological. This makes sense, given most information is handled by technology rather than paper, ink and banks of filing cabinets. But disasters can strike physically as well as digitally.
If your office floods or catches fire, all your different storage options could get damaged. Keeping backups somewhere completely remote means you’ll still have a copy if the worst does happen.
If something happens to just one device, having your backup flash drive in a drawer beside your desk can make for quick recovery. But if something happens to your building that prevents you from accessing both desk and drawer, you’ll need a backup at a different location.
This could mean uploading a copy to the cloud, which you can then access from any device. It could also mean keeping a copy stored on different premises on another drive entirely.
When you handle a lot of information, storing three up-to-date copies in vastly different formats can feel like a hassle. But if you are shut off from your data for any reason, these three simple steps can be what keeps your business moving forward. In cases of ransomware, it also means that your organisation’s money won’t get into the hands of cybercriminals.