Data Backup: Why and How to Do It

What is Data Backup?

Backup and Recovery describes the process of creating and storing copies of data that can be used to protect businesses from data loss. This is sometimes called operational recovery, generally restoring the data to its original location or to another location where it can be used in place of the lost or damaged data.

A suitable backup is kept on a separate system or media, such as a computer to avoid the possibility of data loss due to failure of the primary hardware or software. In simple terms, a backup is a copy or file of important information stored on your devices, such as a computer, phone, or tablet, and is used to restore that original information in the event of data loss.

Data loss can take many forms, from hard drive failure to ransomware attacks, human error, or physical theft. Regardless of the misfortune, a data backup may be the recovery you are looking for to restore the data on your devices. It is usually stored in a safe place and separate from an original device, e.g., on a cloud.

Why Is It Important to Backup?

The purpose of the backup is to make a copy of the data that can be restored in the event of a primary data failure. Primary data errors can be the result of hardware or software failures, data corruption, or a man-made event, such as a malicious attack (virus or malware) or accidental data deletion. Backups allow you to restore data to an earlier point in time to help your business recover from an unplanned event.

Storing the copy of data on separate media is essential to protect against loss or damage to the primary data. This additional medium can be as simple as an external drive or USB stick, or something more extensive like a disk storage system, cloud storage container, or tape drive. The alternate media can be in the same location as the primary data or at a remote location. The possibility of weather-related events can justify having copies of data in remote locations.

For best results, backups are performed regularly to minimize data loss. The more time that passes between backups, the greater the chance of data loss when restoring. Maintaining multiple copies of data provides the security and flexibility to restore to a point in time that is not affected by data corruption or malicious attacks.

The main reason for data backup is to have a secure archive of your important information, be it secret documents for your business or valuable photos of your family, so that you can quickly and easily restore your device in case of data loss. Still, 30% of computer users have never backed up their devices. This may not sound like much until you put it in relation to the number of times data is lost:

  • 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute. (World Backup Day)
  • It is estimated that ransomware attacked one business every 14 seconds in 2019. (Cybercrime Magazine)
  • Viruses infect 1 in 10 computers every month. (World Backup Day)
  • Laptops are stolen every 53 seconds in the US (Kensington)
  • More than 70 million mobile phones are lost each year. (Kensington)

Think of data protection as the foundation of your digital disaster recovery plan. By protecting your devices, you will be one step ahead of any cyber threat that could lead to data loss. However, it is worth noting that data loss is not always the result of cyber threats. Your external hard drive or your computer could wear out and you could lose data. That’s the nature of all hardware and backing up your data can help you get it back to a new device.

How Can I Backup My Data?

Here we highlight four common data backup solutions and storage considerations.

Removable media – the smallest storage

Removable media generally refers to small portable devices primarily used to transfer files from one device to another. These include CDs, DVDs, and USB flash drives, also known as USB memory sticks, or jump drives, all of which are compatible with notebook and desktop computers.

Unlike other backup storage options, removable media does not offer large storage capacity or additional security features in the event of a drive loss or theft. Its size is an indication of its storage capacity, some only support 128MB, while others can store up to 256GB.

External hard drives – lots of storage space

As the name suggests, an external hard drive connects to your computer or laptop from the outside with a cable or wirelessly. Examples of external hard drives are USB flash drives and solid-state drives, also known as SSDs.

External hard drives, like removable media, are portable and easy to use, but they can also store larger files, from 128GB to 10TB. They are more compatible with computers and laptops.

Backup to the cloud: flexible storage

Backups to the internet, or “the cloud” as some affectionately call it, allow users to back up their data to hardware located in a remote location. Users can access and manage their data over the internet at any time and on any device.

Most cloud storage services offer a large amount of storage space, in some cases infinite, and encrypt content for data security reasons. Some popular cloud storage solutions you are probably already using are iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox, all of which are compatible with cell phones, tablets, desktops, and laptops.

Backup services – the most storage space

When you have a warehouse of critical data and valuable files, you should consider consulting professionals to help you backup your data by using a backup service instruction. This method of data protection is like that of a backup administrator in a company, which means that you hire a person or service to do your data backups since they have access to robust backup software, hardware devices, or even hybrid data protection solutions.

You are paying for a service to manage and protect your data; most backup services provide encryption. As with the cloud, there is no limit to the number of storage options you can consider.

Key Takeaway

The survival of your business depends on the survival of your business data. To implement a reliable data protection strategy, define your business objectives: backup scope, RPOs, and RTOs implement correct solutions, provision of the memory or the combination of several memories, and perform and monitor backup copies.

This is the only way you can be sure that your business can continue to work safely even in the event of unforeseen events.