Best Practices For Data Backup

Data loss for any reason is one of the most incredibly frustrating things we can experience in our working and personal lives. However it happens, it sparks a wave of regret and instant realisation filled with “If only I’d backed up” type sentiments. Most of us are familiar with the idea of backup our data, but how much do we really know about it when it comes to practical solutions and best practices?

It’s especially important for companies nowadays to understand these best practices, as they are more vulnerable than ever to various cyber threats. For added support to backing up your computer, here are some of the best practices for data backup that all should follow.

1. Set Out Clear Policies and Expectations

When you’re worried about data loss and data backup in your company or organisation, the first thing to do is to work with your management team to create clear and understandable policies that lay out not just procedures, but reasons for those procedures being put in place.

When it comes to IT and data, people can feel as though certain procedures are perhaps surplus to requirements, or even overkill. If you explain why it is that you require all employees to follow the 3-2-1 strategy (more below), for instance, it’s critical that you also add that the results of not doing so could result in reputation damage and financial loss that could threaten everyone’s jobs. That should get people’s attention, and it’s the truth as well!

2. Consider How Long Data Needs to Be Retained

Not all data needs to be stored for the long term. Some data might be kept for legal reasons, some for practical reasons, others for the sake of keeping records. There are times when your data backup storage systems might be getting full where you need to consider your policy on how long backups are kept.

Deleting non-essential information frees up space for important long-term backup requirements, and saves money on having to buy more and more disk space on which to store backed up data Or, you can compress some of your files before making a backup. For example, you can check if you have large video files in advance. If so, you can shrink the MP4 file size first. That would also save a lot of disk space.

3. Backups Should be Encrypted

When creating backup files, it’s important to create a level of encryption that keeps those files secure. You can use passwords, read-only formats, and other methods to keep individual files secure. You can also use these measures on cloud-based storage systems, restricting access to certain files and ensuring only those who need to access them can do so.

If you are worried about the security of any online storage solution, as many companies are, then there’s still no substitute in the modern world for offline storage using USB flash drives and portable hard drives. It does mean you have to invest in more hardware, but the result is data safely stored in an unhackable setting.

4. Frequent and Regular Backing Up is Key

Your backup practices should follow some kind of schedule. For instance, it could be that you backup your main files daily, or weekly, or monthly. Regardless, all employees and other team members should be aware of the backup practices in your organisation and when they happen. Getting everyone into the habit and practice of backing up is the best way to ensure that it is never left too late.

5. Follow the 3-2-1 Strategy

Finally, many companies and individuals now make use of the 3-2-1 backup strategy. It’s an easy and effective way to create multiple backup copies across different platforms for maximum security and data safety.

  • 3 – always keep 3 copies of your data: original, and at least 2 backups
  • 2 – use at least 2 different storage methods: internal hard drive, external hard drive, cloud sources, etc.
  • 1 – keep 1 copy of your data offsite

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