Tag Archives: Data Backup

Right Backup System for Your Small Business

How to Choose the Right Backup System for Your Small Business

Even a casual look at news or reports concerned with cyber attacks is enough to underline significance of adopting cyber-security measures. Small businesses need to design a robust strategy for data backup for ensuring business continuity in the event of cyber attacks.

Significance of data loss prevention measures

Loss of revenues can be as high as twenty percent and more if your business falls prey to cyber attacks. In fact, four out of ten businesses are sure to suffer massive losses and the number of businesses that are hit by cyber attacks is reported to be 29 percent as per recent cyber-security survey.

Worse still, your business stands to lose hard earned customers as well. This also includes loss of business opportunities on account of a downtime or a data loss scenario.

Your small business can suffer heavily in terms of its reputation because in majority of cases, a public scrutiny is sure to follow a cyber attack or an event that have caused data breach. It is not just customer or revenue loss. Your business can also suffer on long term basis because of loss of loyal customers.

Business data needs to be protected not only from ransomware or other types of cyber attacks. Your mission critical business data can also be lost due to physical disasters. If your business is not well-equipped with measures that protect critical data, then a single cyber threat can destroy your venture in no time.

Key features of business backup

Backup is simply copies of data files in any device such as a computer that are stored in a storage device at different location. These copies of data can help you retain business continuity even after suffering a major data breach or cyber attack.

The simplest form of backup is a disc or thumb drive that holds limited amount of data. External drives can serve as tools to store and carry moderate volumes of data backup files. You need to use at least two types of storage formats for storing two copies of backup files. Third copy can be stored at a remote location such as cloud storage.

Hard drive for manual backup

External hard drives present a very convenient and affordable method of backing up important files. If your business relies on a small setup or if you are running a proprietary firm then an HDD can serve you well. Ideally you should allocate one HDD for every computer in the office.

Hard drive should provide enough room for present and future data storage needs. The important advantage of using external hard drive for backup is its affordability and security. Hard drives are immune to online hacking since these need to be physically accessed for any operation.

However, hard drives can be difficult to manage if your business in generating exponential volumes of data. It can be difficult to maintain multiple hard drives in such cases. If you are keeping hard drives in office premises, then these are equally subjected to threats of natural disasters. In order to access or upload data on hard drive, you must have a physical access. No remote data access is allowed in case of hard drive.

NAS devices for easy accessibility

This brings us to the next level of data backup devices, which are known as network attached storage devices that are perfect for medium sized businesses. NAS is suitable for network accessibility because it allows sharing and storage of business data across business network. Storage capacity of these devices can be increased by using storage expansion slots to add more and more hard drives to the system.

Whether you propose to design an onsite or an off-site backup system, NAS is a right backup platform that facilitates online syncing. Affordability is a key feature of network attached storage as you will not incur any ongoing costs. However, the upfront costs can be slightly higher in comparison with HDDs. These devices should be used by technically proficient users.

Cloud based backup solutions

Thanks to the advent of cloud technology, now even small businesses can leverage cloud backup solutions to gain extensive scalability and control in terms of data backup files. Cloud data backup allows real time and automated backup at scheduled time intervals.

The space for data storage is proportional to the plans and reputed service providers offer a wide array of cloud data backup plans to suit businesses of all sizes. The most salient feature of cloud data backup is elimination of upfront capital expenditure for purchasing storage equipment.

Since the data backup process is managed by expert staff at cloud data centers, you can reduce employee costs related with backup storage management. Cloud data backup offers seamless access from remote locations to free you and your field staff from the office environment. The backup can be performed from any internet enabled device from any location.

In conclusion

Data backup is an essential requirement for small as well as large enterprises. Ideally, an integrated solution consisting of cloud and NAS or external HDD should be considered for better data availability and greater accessibility.

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How Important are File Backups Today?

File Backup

How Important are File Backups Today?

Given the growing incidents of cyber thefts, data leaks, site breaches and hacks, the need to back up critical data is something that no business can afford to disregard. Any such cyber attack can inflict unspeakable damage to businesses, both big and small. For instance, the NotPetya malware managed to target big businesses in Ukraine by using tax software which had been infected. In another such incident, cyber thieves managed to get their hands on data belonging to as many as 148 million people when they successfully hacked into a credit reporting agency Equifax. These are only a couple of serious incidents which highlight the need for file backups but there have been many more in the last year which shows that businesses were not taking backups seriously enough.

Data loss or damage can cause downtimes, hamper productivity and inflict long-term harm to your business reputation and credibility in the market. Reports suggest that as many as 80% of the businesses which are victims of data theft tend to shut down their operations within the next few years. As many as 40% go out of operation within a year itself. Whether it is man-made disasters or natural calamities or breaches carried out by cybercriminals, you need to back up your data so that it can be retrieved seamlessly. In other words, it is the task of IT managers to ensure that there is a proper Disaster Recovery plan in place should the need arise.

Backups and disaster recovery plans are not the same thing; while backups are copies of the data which can help your business renew its operations, disaster recovery refers to tools and methods for recovering lose data or systems when disasters happen. Below are some important reasons which make file backups imperative for your business in today’s age:

Threats are not going to fade away; rather, they will be become more and more challenging to deal with. With every year, the incidents of data thefts are increasing and this year is not going to be an exception. Ransomware attacks, breaches and attacks using cutting-edge technologies like hacking using artificial intelligence have become the order of the day. Reports suggest that businesses handling very sensitive information are likely to be the new targets. Cyber attacks have been declared as the third biggest threat for the globe after extreme weather occurrences and natural calamities. So, every business needs to pay extra attention when it comes to including disaster recovery plans in their business plans.

For modern businesses, data loss is perhaps the gravest threat because data is integral to their functioning and in the event of data loss, downtime gets triggered. This will translate into huge economic losses for the businesses. Due to sudden power outages, downtimes can occur and these have been seen to inflict losses to the tune of millions of dollars for big businesses. Unless backups are made, such instances of downtime will go unresolved because the numbers are expected to increase in 2018.

From only 17% in 2015 Big Data adoption rate has increased to almost 53% in the previous year. This shows how fast Big Data and Internet of Things are going to become part of our daily lives. Big Data has become the rule for businesses rather than the exception. There are analytical tools which gives a business prescriptive and predictive insight into how it is running and how to take better-informed decisions for the future. At the same time, if there is any breach by accident, it will amount to loss of both critical data and personal data. So, with the continuous evolution of Big Data, it is becoming more critical and complex by nature. This means that businesses will have to adopt robust backup and disaster recovery solutions to tackle cyber threats.

When there are breaches, businesses are not only affected by revenue losses, but also by loss of reputation and credibility. So, when popular brands are hit by breaches, consumers slowly start to move away from them. Apart from the loss of reputation, precious time is lost because data recovery is time-consuming and no new work gets done during this period.

Risk management is absolutely imperative in digital transformation of enterprises. Businesses must be capable enough to address shortfalls and downtimes. So, there must be a robust and secure ecosystem in place to withstand such unprecedented calamities caused by infrastructure collapse or outage or cyber attacks.

Enterprise data is being increasingly managed by a wide range of devices like smartphones and laptops. This helps to improve remote work culture but this means that there are now more end points for data storage. Such end points are not restricted to the workplace anymore; they can be anywhere in the world. So, it is important to have backups for these endpoint devices to ensure that even if the devices get affected there is a central data repository which remains secure. Here, cloud data solutions are perhaps the safest and most resilient for data security purposes.

Finally, data which is backed up can always help you to analyze and formulate business strategies better. You may use this backed up data for data mining and data analysis, patch testing and application testing.

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How To Restore A Backup?

Risk Mitigation with Effective Disaster Planning for Businesses

“It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” Howard Ruff has hit the nail on its head while explaining the significance of preparedness to deal with calamities or disasters that must be accepted as part of life.

Preparing for disasters essentially involves building strategies as well as re-examining existing plans in addition to testing these plans to remove gaps and holes.

Business implications of disaster

It is foolish to expect warnings before disasters with few exceptions of major storms that have names and categories. Natural or man-made disasters can be in the form of electric fires, failed air conditioning units, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, and so forth.

Impact of disasters on businesses is usually catastrophic. It can not only cause financial losses in terms of revenues but can also result in loss of productivity, or jeopardize reputation of organizations with loss of customer confidence. Disasters put a brake to business continuity causing long terms loss of business and shelving of future expansion plans.

According to USSBA, more than 90 percent of enterprises crash within two years after being struck by a disaster and as per Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, one out of four companies are unable to resume operations post a major disaster.

It is therefore essential to prepare your business to restore, resume, and continue the routine operations with a minimum downtime during or after any outage. An ideal disaster recovery plan must enhance ability of your organization to face the unexpected.

Planning DR solutions for business

There are multiple steps involved in the process of DR planning for business enterprises. The major highlights of Disaster Recovery planning process are as follows:

• Risk identification
• Risk classification
• Identification of resources for business continuity during disaster
• Mechanism to restore business to normalcy

Risk evaluation and identification of threats

Disasters have potential to cause widespread damage to property as well as business processes. Every organization must evaluate risks by considering different categories of processes including supply chains, inventories, hardware failures, accessibility, network connectivity, communications, security, utilities, and so forth.

This should follow categorization of these business aspects according to their potential to impact business continuity. This will facilitate prioritization while focusing on restoration of these processes during the disaster recovery. It will also provide you with estimates about potential of your organization to tolerate extreme environments and optimum level of IT resources that would be required while dealing with disasters.

Risk evaluation is very important for every business because categories of high risk business processes vary according to different business verticals. For example, for a healthcare provider, the most important risk would be restoration of power to ensure well being of patients.

Estimation of recovery period

Critical period of downtime before a business can be impacted varies significantly for different verticals of industries. Online enterprises or manufacturing industry with continuous process cannot afford even a single minute of downtime. This period is called as tolerance limit of an organization.

It is extremely important to determine tolerance limit of the organization since the implementation of recovery sequence depends on this. By understanding tolerance limit of different applications you can prioritize the applications with less tolerance limits.

In the similar fashion you need to evaluate acceptable level of RPO (Recovery Point Objective) as well as RTO (Recovery Time Objective) for different sets of applications. Ideally, disaster recovery solution based on public cloud can efficiently meet your requirements of Recovery Time Objectives due to absence of single point of failure. In addition to this the recovery is also faster as well as more affordable with Public Cloud Disaster Recovery Solutions.

Significance of encrypted and secure backups

For any business, its data is considered as its lifeblood and therefore it deserves to be secured under all circumstances. In order to ensure that your business survives the most overwhelming event, you need to backup your databases, emails, files, and operating systems. It is also recommended to have special recovery procedures in place for data restoration from repositories.

This brings us to importance of off-site data backup facilities that would not be impacted by disaster that strikes your on-site infrastructure. Ideal backup solutions must provide facility of online data backup via a secured connection.

It is for the same reason; cloud data backup solutions are highly sought after by modern businesses. These are usually preferred as an alternative or addition to tape backups. Cloud data storage and backup solutions are significantly more cost effective as well. Additionally these data storage options offer shorter recovery periods and longer retention periods.

Developing effective communication plans

Communications play significant ole during emergencies and therefore you should be in a position to support your DR plan with effective communication strategy with concrete assignment of roles.

Make sure to compile updated records of contact numbers of key personnel and availability of the effective collaboration suite to facilitate instant messaging, document sharing, and online meetings. Try to establish alternate means of communications because the basic communication platforms are usually affected during disasters.

Disaster recovery plans based on cloud computing are regarded as ideal for business environments because these can rapidly restore business availability with minimum downtime. These are efficient, secure, and economical. It is important to design and test a practical and robust DR plan. You can also ensure that the DR plan is part of Service Level Agreements.


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