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How Often Should You Back up Company Data?

How Often Should You Back up Company Data?

February 13, 2023

Cyber attacks put 60% of small and mid-sized companies out of business within six months

Each day, hackers get smarter, and ransomware becomes more advanced. You have to ask yourself, is your company data safe? 

That depends mainly on how often you back up company data and the robustness of your security methods. Regular backups are key to keeping your files secure, but many businesses don't perform them often enough. 

Here's what you need to know to keep your business safe. 

Understand the Different Types of Backups

Each company has its own security needs, which is one reason why the scalability of managed IT services is so beneficial. IT as a Service (ITAAS) also includes backups and disaster recovery. 

However, you should understand the different types of backups, so you have a better idea of how frequently to schedule each one. 

Full Backup

A full or complete backup includes copying everything. If disaster strikes, you can completely recover your company files and assets using the most recent version. 

Keep in mind that this type of backup security takes the most time, space, and bandwidth. 

Most companies only run a full backup periodically, based on how much data they need to be secured and copied. How often you should perform them depends on the size of your business and the type of data you're storing. 

Small businesses with limited data might perform a full backup daily. Data systems that see a lot of traffic, such as banks or large retailers, mix 24-hour full backups with incremental backups. 

You should perform a full backup at least once a week or every 24 hours if possible. 

Incremental Backup

Incremental backups take the least time and space as this method copies and stores the most recent changes or file versions since the last incremental or full backup. 

Since incremental backups take less time, companies will perform these more often. Banks, for instance, might perform 24-hour full backups with incremental backups every few hours. 

Depending on your business, you might not need such an aggressive approach. Consider performing incremental backups on the days when you're not performing full backups. 

Differential Backup

A differential backup tracks and stores updated copies, but only those stored on a full backup version. It doesn't take into account any incremental backup versions. 

This method stores more data than an incremental backup but less than a full backup. It falls somewhere in the middle regarding the time it takes to run. 

Businesses typically use one of three backup methods: 

  1. Full every 24 hours
  2. Full once-per-week and daily differential
  3. Full once-per-week and daily incremental

There are pros and cons to each method, such as data protection levels, cost, the time it takes to run the process, etc. 

Never opt for cheap backup solutions, as it's not as secure, and you might run into data restoration issues. The best way to find a fit for your business is to talk with an IT support professional that will guide you through your options and the solutions available. 

Backup Storage Locations

In general, there are three different ways to store data. They include online/cloud, on-site, and off-site. 

Where you store the data matters, as it impacts how often you should create copies and whether it's time to move to a more advanced solution. 

The biggest factor you must consider is whether your business complies with all local and federal laws regarding protecting personal information

With off-site storage, files can easily end up in the wrong hands, lost, or destroyed. A business may store files in warehouses or other off-site locations, assuming that information is safe. There are certain risks to storing sensitive information on paper or external hard drives. 

On-site storage refers to keeping data within the office, whether that's on your own servers, external storage devices, paper copies, etc. It's more convenient than off-site storage as you have quick access to the information, but it's still not as secure. If cybercriminals gain access to the network, they can easily steal all of this information. 

Additionally, you have to worry about other types of damage, such as fire and flood. A single leak can wreak havoc on those servers, putting data at risk and causing a slowdown in production. 

Another option is to store data virtually or in the cloud. The benefit of this method is that all your files and information remain secure regardless of anything that might happen to your office or network. 

Virtual backups are one of the best ways to keep your business data safe. It's also scalable, so it will grow with your business as needs increase. You can also automate cloud storage backups, so you don't have to think about scheduling them, and data always remains protected in a secure, off-site location. 

Other Cyber Security Measures to Implement

Now that you know the importance of backing up your company data, including how often, it's time to discuss ways to protect that information. After all, backups should be your failsafe if anything goes wrong, not your only line of defense. 

First, a security audit identifies any weak points in your system. You can use the information you gain from an audit to increase protection and prevent cyber criminals from accessing your system. 

Software patches and updates are one of the best ways to keep hackers from targeting your business. Once developers see flaws and vulnerabilities, they release patches to fix the issue. Therefore, it's vital to remain on top of these updates. 

Finally, only keep the data that you need. Excess data takes up more storage room and causes longer backups. Additionally, it's less information for hackers to get their hands on. 

Use These Guidelines to Back up Company Data

So, how often should you back up company data? It depends on your industry and any local and federal laws. However, a good guideline is to perform a full backup at least once a week, ideally more often, and either incremental or differential backups in between. 

If you're ready to take your protection to the next level, it's time for Next Level Technologies. We offer managed IT solutions and support, including disaster recovery and backups, as well as backup testing. Call us or send us a message to discuss your needs today.

Next Level Technologies

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