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It’s a complicated question and the answer is usually a nuanced one. It depends greatly on the type of data being collected and used, where it’s being stored and your company’s risk tolerance.
No matter the answer, it’s prudent to partner with a managed IT services provider to make the right decision for your business regarding backup frequency, based on your company’s needs and priorities.
There are some sobering statistics that can help convince business leaders about the importance of data backups. The Ponemon Institute’s 2018 Cost of Data Breach Study noted that the average cost of a data breach rose by 6.4 percent in one year, costing affected companies an average of $3.86 million per incident.
During the next two years, according to the study, businesses face a 27.9 percent likelihood of experiencing a data breach. And those breaches usually take businesses a long time to discover – 197 days on average – and contain – 69 days on average. That’s a lot of time that a hacker can spend inside your systems, copying, extracting, damaging or selling sensitive information.
Data breaches are also not necessarily the result of active system intrusions. According to worldbackupday.com, every minute 113 phones are lost or stolen. Every month, one in 10 computers becomes infected with a virus. In addition, 140,000 hard drives fail in the United States weekly.
During a crisis, a data backup strategy adds stability and structure to an otherwise chaotic situation. Crises can take many forms, including natural disasters such as an earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or tornado, power outages, or manmade events such as data theft or ransomware attack. Whatever the situation, data backups can get your business back to operational status with little or no data loss, minimal disruption and brief periods of downtime.
Here’s a look at some of the most essential benefits of creating a data backup strategy:
Affordability – If you choose a cloud solution as part or all of your data backup plan, you can rely on affordable and predictable pricing. If you find your business needs more data, cloud storage is highly scalable. You can add more storage and backup capacity without the hassle of buying a new server, installing and configuring it, and maintaining and managing it.
Cost and Savings – Consider what happens if you do not have a backup plan in place and a disaster strikes. Your business will incur significant and immediate costs by paying a third-party data recovery service. These services can take days or weeks to complete their work and you are not guaranteed to recover all of the compromised data. In the meantime, your customers will be asking for information and services you may not be able to provide.
Security – Your data needs to be protected and encrypted while it’s in transit and at rest. A backup strategy needs to incorporate robust physical and digital protections to ensure only the proper, authorized people have access to data and storage devices. The data should also be monitored to ensure that any dubious activity is identified, contained, assessed and dealt with before any serious harm occurs.
Speed and Simplicity. With a carefully developed data backup plan, you can quickly get access to your last data backup, helping to speed up recovery efforts for your business and get data into the systems and websites where it’s most effective.
Compliance – Your business may be subject to state, federal, industrial or industrial requirements to retain certification or access to potential business. Compliance often means having to show that your company has a data management strategy.
Risk Mitigation – What happens to the data that’s stored on a lost or stolen laptop, tablet, smartphone or thumb drive? If it’s only stored locally on those devices (not a good idea), those losses can be a disaster. Not only have you lost the data, but you may see it for sale or held hostage. You want to be sure that your data backup plan includes mobile devices in use by your employees to ensure that all data is safe and recoverable.
Peace of Mind – When your business has an automated, reliable data backup strategy in place, you can be assured that you are protecting your information and ensuring you’ll have access when it’s needed.
Backups are never really a concern until the data is lost.
Frequency really depends on scale. If it’s an individual PC and you’re storing all of your files in OneDrive or a corporate drive, there’s not that much data changing on the workstation itself.
At ICS, in such cases, we prefer to take a snapshot of the computer once a month, which allows the computer to be restored with all working programs as it was before the event. With all the files are on a shared drive or in the cloud, a user will still have access.
If we’re talking about the shared drive itself, or if the files are stored locally on the machine, we recommend backups every 4 hours with incremental backups daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly.
We prefer to use devices like portable drives that allow a local backup and then send the backup to the cloud after hours.
Since 1981, ICS has helped support businesses with managed IT services, data backups, security, and IT consulting. With offices in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, ICS serves business customers throughout South Texas. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our free IT security audit and how ICS can help with your data backups and other IT needs.