Data loss is a costly calamity that can strike any enterprise. Whereas you may not guard 100% against its occurrence, you can plan to survive it and recover lost information. This point is so critical that you should handle it proactively and not as a reacting firefighter. We recommend documenting a backup policy to avoid losses and have a successful recovery algorithm.
But what should you feature in your backup policy?
Keep reading this post to learn about what you should include in the data backup policy.
Your backup policy should include a precise backup frequency. It must specify a backup schedule because you can lose data anytime. Another thing to stipulate is how regularly you will be testing the stored files to ensure they can open after a data crash.
Ideally, you should save your sensitive data items daily. However, most small enterprises have a few stand-alone computers that make it impossible to back up data daily. Therefore, it may be wise to prioritize your information and back up some data daily, while other non-sensitive data may be backed up weekly. All the information necessary for your daily operations and is dynamic requires daily storage. Data regarding closed projects or content that doesn’t require updates, such as videos, can be archived.
Data Recovery and Disaster Recovery Plan
The plan should enable you to get back to your feet after losing your valuable information. Thus, your policy is useless if it lacks this essential component. It has to spell out exactly how you will recover lost information after disaster strikes. Having such a plan will ensure you recover quickly since lost time equals lost business.
Your policy should also feature proper testing to see how everything works during a disaster. It has to include regular drills that keep your workers on their toes. Otherwise, sitting and waiting until the last minute could cause avoidable trouble. If you want to trust the system, do so only after testing it, as any confidence without real-life testing is blind faith.
Secure, Encrypted Offsite Backup
A secure and encrypted offsite storage for your data is a must-include point of a data backup policy. Yes, it’s good to have an on-site backup. However, we recommend complementing it with an off-site backup alternative. Otherwise, it could be impossible to recover your data if the loss resulted from physical damage affecting storage hardware. For example, you could lose all your computers if a fire razes down your offices.
Don’t forget to include this component in your policy. Your plan must detail how your staff should handle all media containing sensitive information, showing how such devices should enter and leave your business premises. Train your workers to recognize and manage such media professionally.
Besides, you can train your workers to handle media containing redundant data. For instance, they ought to know how to sanitize or dispose of them carefully. Otherwise, you could get in trouble because mishandling such devices could produce data losses. Careless disposal could land the media containing sensitive information in the wrong hands; hackers can glean information stored on such media and use it against your company.
Changes to Backup Schedule and Retention
Lastly, your policy must outline how you will change your stored data and how long you will retain each stored data class. It has to state any changes to your backup schedule. Remember, your clients could request changes to standard backup and data retention periods. Such requests will require constant reviewing based on each case’s needs and merit.
Having a data backup policy for your business is critical and benefits you and your clients. However, be careful how you draft it to avoid excluding any necessary components. We hope the six core ones discussed here inspire you to fortify yours.
Note from Alex Tray: I am a system administrator with ten years of experience in the IT field. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, I worked at multiple Silicon Valley companies and helped launch several startups. Currently, I am a system administrator at one of the major tech companies in Texas. I often contribute articles about cybersecurity, VM disaster recovery, and site recovery to the NAKIVO blog. My primary expertise is Windows Server and Desktop Administration with extensive knowledge of Azure, Active Directory, Office 365, DNS, DHCP, Group Policy, Endpoint Manager (Intune) and Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (SCCM).