Data is increasingly at the heart of everything a business does, and it’s probably safe to say that it’s your most valuable asset. But while most business leaders understand the importance of having a robust backup and disaster recovery strategy, data loss still seems to be a regular problem. That’s why your backup and recovery plans must align with your existing network infrastructure.
What are the challenges with data backup?
For many businesses, it has proven difficult to keep up with the rapid proliferation of data. The size of data sets is doubling every two years on average, while the data storage environment is growing increasingly complex. Instead of just dealing with servers, computers, and storage area networks, companies now have to think about important data stored on employee- and company-owned mobile devices, cloud-hosted applications, and even IoT devices. Given the increasing size and complexity of network infrastructures, it’s becoming notoriously difficult to keep track of everything, let alone keep it safely backed up.
How to approach data backups
To ensure your backup networking and infrastructure are operating as they should, there are five crucial steps you must follow:
1. Monitor your data traffic flows constantly
The first step toward securing your backup strategy is to ensure all traffic flowing in and out of your organization are being monitored around the clock for potential threats. Threats don’t just extend to cyberattacks, but also to potential system failures and human error. After all, you can’t protect what you don’t know is there.
2. Understand your unique data requirements
Every organization has unique data requirements, which dictate where and how data can be stored or transmitted. Some data, such as protected health information (PHI), needs to be retained for at least seven years, according to HIPAA legislation. Both internal policies and government-mandated regulations will determine your data requirements. These, in turn, must be applied to your backup systems to prioritize backups and file synchronizations accordingly.
3. Maintain strong vendor relationships
Threats to your data often lie outside your own network, often residing with your vendors. In some cases, data loss happens due to vendors themselves losing it to a system failure or a cyberattack. Other issues are caused by a lack of communication and accountability, which only ends up in finger-pointing. This is why you should maintain strong working relationships with all your vendors, especially those who provide storage devices and services.
4. Allocate ample bandwidth for backup tasks
Data backup operations can consume a lot of bandwidth, which can affect the performance of mission-critical systems. Allocating sufficient bandwidth for backup tasks will help keep disruption to a minimum while also ensuring that the most important data is always kept safe. For example, for a vital system like customer relationship management software, you might need to back up the databases every hour or two, in which case it will probably be best to allocate some dedicated network bandwidth for database synchronization.
5. Review your disaster recovery plans regularly
Business networks are constantly changing and evolving, which is why a backup and disaster recovery plan should be considered a dynamic document that adapts with every change you make to your infrastructure. However, it’s a lot more than just an inventory of devices and data types that need to be backed up. It should also align with your security and compliance policies and your business priorities. You should get into the habit of reviewing your plan at least once per year and whenever you make any significant changes to your networking infrastructure. If you add a new user account or device, you should also update your plan accordingly.
Complete Document Solutions offers a tailored approach to optimizing your office technology and reducing risk across your business. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.