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The Perfect 5-Step Backup Guide for the Imperfect Human

Backup

What if I told you that you and your employees are subconsciously sabotaging your data? You’d probably say, “No way! Not us!”

You might come back and assert that you heard another story in the news about a well-known business that’s been affected by a cyber attack. You heard that in total, the cybercrime economy hauls in a profit of at least $1.5 trillion each year.

You could add that hackers don’t only go after big-name businesses, but also tend to hone-in on small businesses. In 2019, 43% of data security breaches will target small businesses, and that percentage keeps going up.

It’s true; in today’s digital age your business’s data might as well have “RANSOM ME” in its code. Cyber attackers are seemingly running rampant, hungry to snatch your data. Certainly, the shady characters inhabiting the dark web are a greater threat to your data security than you and your employees, right?

92%I’d reply that you’re right. Cyber attacks, malware, ransomware, and a slew of other shady characters should be on your business’s Most Wanted list. Definitely take action to combat the evils of the dark web. But as harrowing an opposition as cybercriminals can be, you and your employees are still a greater threat to your business’s data loss. While mostly unintentional, 92% of all data breaches are caused by human error.

We’re human. Humans forget things; we get impatient and make mistakes. When forming business backup procedures we tend to look for the easy way, not always the right way. It’s only human.

 

Human Habits Damage Data

We mess up.

Have you ever left your laptop on a plane? Spilled coffee on your keyboard? Washed your pants with a USB drive in the pocket? Accidentally deleted or saved over a file?

You’ve likely encountered all of these human-caused data dilemmas, and if you haven’t, you’re bound to face them eventually. When it comes to your business’s data, mistakes can and will happen.

We forget.

Over the course of a business day, you and your employees probably use a plethora of applications and files. Sometimes you may forget to save your work. It happens! Other times you might save, but forget to back up those files to a server or network drive for data redundancy.

We’re possessive.

You and your employees are proud of the hard work you’ve accomplished. It’s your files and data. It’s your intellectual property! 

You could have many hands contributing to your business, which also means many hands also have access to your data. When an employee leaves your business, what’s stopping them using your data to get a new job, or from selling your valuable data to another business? 

We look for the easy way out.

Every day you and your employees make important data decisions, and sometimes those decisions are influenced by factors such as deadlines that can lead to data oversight (like failing to back up a project). As a business owner, you do your best to mitigate human error; but at the end of the day, some human error is inevitable.

If you shortcut your data protection and backup policies, your business will eventually be stuck with a continuity halting mess. So what should you do about it? You need a backup plan.

 

Start with this. The Perfect Backup Guide For The Imperfect Human.

You and your employees aren’t perfect, but your backup strategy can be! Just follow these five simple steps.

1. Backup from the get-go.

Think about the number of projects you and your team tackle each day. All the open files. All the glorious progress!

You and your employees likely do much of your work in front of a screen. In fact, likely 60% of your business’s files and data live on your employees’ desktops and laptops. If laptops and desktops are your business’s only data habitats, something as ordinary as a power outage can uproot your entire ecosystem. It only makes sense to start your backup from the source, considering that’s where your business’s everyday applications call home.

There’s more than one step to this Guide for a reason. If you only back up your business’s laptops and desktops to a single onsite location, like the network-attached storage (NAS) system, your data is still vulnerable to the same natural catastrophes as your office. 

2. Use the “3-2-1” backup method.

Any backup is better than no backup, right? You might think that you’re properly backing up your files and data, yet almost 60% of small businesses are out of business within six months of a data disaster. That’s six months of losing money, dealing with lawsuits, soothing angry customers, and licking your wounded reputation.

Thankfully there is a straightforward way to fend off a data disaster, just stick to the 3-2-1 backup method! Let’s break it down.

  • Keep at least three copies of your data. The original (1), plus two backups (2,3)
  • Diversify multiple backups over at least two types of the following storage devices:
    • Internal Hard Drive
    • Removable Drive
    • External Drive
    • Server
    • Cloud
  • Keep one backup offsite. Otherwise, all of your eggs are in one basket. Cloud storage makes multi-location data redundancy possible and ensures your data is recoverable in the event a natural disaster wipes out your onsite backups.

3-2-1 Backup Method

3. Make backups automatic. Eliminate the human element.

Now that you have your data duplicated over at least three different types of backups, it’s time to determine how your data will get to its backup destination. One way of doing this is to rely on your employees to manually back up business-critical files to a designated backup location. Considering the main reason a business backs-up data is to safeguard itself from every day human error, your plan should incorporate as little human interaction as possible. 

Instead, work with your IT or cloud provider to set your backups to run in intervals. Once you determine your recovery point objective, or how much time can pass between backups without hindering business continuity, you can program your backup to run automatically and continuously in the background of your business processes (every 15 min, every hour, etc.).

Imagine how much of the workday would be chewed up if you tasked an employee with performing your backup every 15 minutes! You might be looking at another full-timer or be forced to take on that responsibility yourself. Luckily you don’t have to. 

Many of today’s backup solutions allow you to customize your backup times. No need to rely on an employee who could make mistakes.

4. Make the most of today’s tech. Life’s better in the cloud.

 While some businesses choose to use hardware-based storage for both their onsite and offsite backups, many are moving to the efficiency and reliability of cloud services. Hardware degrades over time, especially if it has moving parts like a hard disk drive. Physical backups can be expensive to install, are clunky and take up valuable office space, and require constant maintenance. 

Your alternative is backing up to the cloud. Cloud backup services, or online backups, involve copying and transferring your business’s data over a network to an offsite data center. This process can be managed by a third-party provider like Central Data Storage (CDS). We offer a fully-supported cloud backup and recovery solution to ensure multi-location data redundancy for your business.

Try our Backup + Recovery solution for FREE with this 30-day trial!

Unlike physical backups like disk and tape which require purchasing updated hardware every few years, cloud software comes with real-time updates, patches, and security options. Cost-effective cloud providers like Central Data Storage also guarantee your data is encrypted en route to and from our certified data center.

Additionally, backing up your data to the cloud can help your business meet compliance requirements. These requirements are typically in place to safeguard important information from human interference; which aligns perfectly with the goals of a cloud backup. The more hands-off, the better.

On top of being automatic and offering unlimited scalability, the cloud is also flexible. With backup software, you can choose which files or entire operating systems you want to back up. Imagine every version of every business-critical file, right at your fingertips – just moments after losing your onsite backup to a fluke accident. 

5. DO rely on cloud backup. DON’T rely on cloud sharing apps.

Just because it has “cloud” in the name, doesn’t mean it’s the right backup option for your business. Popular cloud sharing apps like Google Drive and Dropbox certainly can be useful tools in your business process, but don’t get them confused with an automatic cloud backup. 

The user-friendly features of cloud sharing apps make for great collaboration platforms, but can’t replace a true cloud backup. 

Cloud sharing apps are built to help teams work together remotely, not for quickly restoring your business-critical data. On the other hand, software providers like Central Data Storage focus on cloud backups and have streamlined processes for the fastest data recovery. 

While a cloud backup automatically begins copying and transferring your chosen data at a time you selected, cloud sharing apps require you or an employee to manually select and add files. Considering many projects may be saved during the day, but are not backed up to the cloud until completion, the automatic features of cloud backup ensure continuous data protection for your business. 

 

Keep your business headed in the right direction.

Data disasters aren’t just possible, they should be expected. Whether it’s a cybercriminal or a human error, your business’s data is at risk. With all the name-brand data breaches and cybersecurity stories abound, you’re likely aware that data protection is key for a business of any size.

While this 5-Step Backup Guide is a good start, remember that you and the other humans in your workplace are the drivers of your business’ success. Your plan should account for a human’s natural tendencies, as well as shield you from the depths of the dark web.

Additionally, your plan should motivate your employees to protect your precious intellectual property but not hold them back from getting their job done. A consistent, automatic, and thorough backup plan will set your business up for a promising future.

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