As any responsible business owner will tell you, it’s important to have insurance to act as a safeguard in case of a catastrophe. But even though most businesses have insurance to cover all their physical property, they don’t have anything in place to protect their most valuable possession: their data.
According to a study by the Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation, 96% of all business workstations aren’t being backed up, and 25% of all PC users suffer from data loss each year. If you don’t have a cloud backup strategy in place, there’s a 1 in 4 chance that you’re going to lose all your data and not get it back. You can’t afford to take that risk.
In this article, we’ll discuss why a cloud backup strategy is so crucial, how it can benefit your business, and what’s the best way to develop one for your organization.
Why Having A Strategy Is Crucial
You might think of cloud backup as something that only tech-centric organizations need. But if you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance your business relies on computers in your day-to-day operations. That means your business data is stored on your computers, and that means that if anything happens to them, your business data could be lost – permanently.
Cloud backup isn’t just for high-value applications or complex networks, it can also protect things like employee email or HR records. If your office uses a shared local network and one computer gets a virus, your entire network is at risk. Statistics tell us that 94% of businesses who lose all their data never recover: 43% never reopen, and 51% close within two years of the disaster. Not only do you need to have backups of your business data, but you need to have a plan in place; that way, if disaster strikes, you can restore your computers and get back up and running as quickly as possible.
Cloud Sync ≠ Cloud Backup
Cloud-based services like Dropbox and Google Drive can be a good way to protect the files on your computer, but they’re cloud sync services, not cloud backup. And as you’ll quickly find out if your network ever goes down, there’s a big difference between the two.
With cloud sync
services, users have to manually upload the files they want to save from their
computer to the cloud. It’s a time-consuming process, so most people don’t do
it regularly, which means there’s a good chance that the files in those
cloud-based folders aren’t the most up-to-date versions. On top of that, each
individual computer has to be synced separately, so things like system files
and settings that you’d need to get your network back up after a crash.
Cloud backup services, on the other hand, perform automatic backups, either on a continuous basis or at regularly-scheduled intervals. Setting up these services can be a time-consuming exercise that involves manually selecting all the files, settings, and network configurations that you want to back up; however, there are cloud backup services that automatically scan and back up all the data on each individual computer without requiring manual input. Even with the services that do require manual input, the good news is you only have to do it once; after that, your data will be automatically backed up and can be easily retrieved in the event of a disaster.
The Benefits of Cloud Backup
If you’re a small- to medium-sized business, you may think cloud backup services are an unnecessary expense, but as it turns out, those are precisely the kinds of businesses who need cloud backup services.
Most SMBs have small IT teams typically staffed with generalists; that is, people who can handle a wide variety of IT tasks, but lack in-depth expertise in any one area. That gives you the best coverage for troubleshooting day-to-day computer or network issues, but IT generalists aren’t going to be able to quickly rebuild your entire network after a crash, and the cost of cloud backup is far lower than the cost of hiring an IT expert capable of rebuilding your network.
If your network does crash, according to Gartner, the average cost is $5,600 per minute. Having backups available if your network crashes is crucial, but it’s only half the battle – the other half is in being able to use those backups to get back up and running quickly and efficiently. Cloud backup services offer unfettered access and fast restoration to minimize your downtime.
Building A Backup Strategy
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Developing an effective backup strategy requires a lot of thought and planning, but if you do it right the first time, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort down the road.
The first thing you need to consider is speed; that is, how long you can afford for your network to be down before the business impact reaches catastrophic levels. For most business owners, the gut response is “Zero minutes – my network needs to be able to come back online immediately,” but that’s not realistic; restoring backups takes time. The key is to plan ahead to keep the amount of offline time to a minimum.
To that end,
it’s also important to consider the order in which your files should be
restored. Your critical system files and configurations will be at the top of
the list, of course, but from there, you should prioritize the applications and
files you’ll need to resume operations. For example, if your employees access
all your client data and interactions through Salesforce or PeopleSoft, that
application and its associated files should be next in line during restoration.
Take the time to consider your applications and
files and divide them into two categories – your “Must-Haves” and your “Nice-To-Haves”
– and make sure your “Must-Haves” take priority over anything else.
Lastly, remember to follow the “3-2-1 Rule” for your backup plan. You should have at least 3 total copies of your data: 2 local copies on different devices (i.e., a computer and an external hard drive) and at least 1 offsite copy stored with one or more cloud backup providers. This gives you an additional layer of security, so if your office is destroyed, there’s an offsite backup available, and if the cloud provider’s data center is offline when your network crashes, you have an external drive that can be used to restore your data and applications.
Backing up your data is the kind of investment in your business that you can’t afford to pass up. If you want to discuss your cloud backup options or you’re ready to find a cloud backup provider, reach out to us and we’ll set up a time to chat.