Organizations often seek solutions to ensure their teams can store and retrieve all information regarding their work activities. Data backup strategies are common ways to achieve these goals. Learning about various data backup strategies can help you and your teams decide which ones are the best fit for your company and the type of data you plan to store.
In this article, we discuss the definition of data backup, describe why it’s important, explain what to include in a data backup strategy, and list eight data backup strategies to consider.
What is data backup?
Data backup is the process of storing information in multiple locations to ensure that information is always accessible. Types of information you may store using data backups include software applications, documents, spreadsheets, datasets, and any other digital information. The locations you store and retrieve information from when performing backups may differ depending on the strategy you’re employing. Some strategies involve using an internet connection to store and retrieve data backups, while others use hardware connections to facilitate the transfer of data.
Why is data backup important?
Data backup is important because it may reduce the risk of data loss and can increase the efficiency of data storage and recall. For example, if a hard drive stops functioning correctly or erases information, data backups can help create another copy of that data to ensure it’s still accessible. Common reasons data may get lost include viruses, malware, and hardware or system failure. A data backup strategy helps protect you against losing important information and experiencing costs associated with downtime caused by the loss.
What should you include in a data backup strategy?
There are several elements to consider when deciding on the type of data backup strategy you use. Some of these include:
Risk assessment: Your plan should include a risk assessment to find potential issues that could impact how your company conducts business.
Business impact analysis: A business impact analysis helps companies learn how workplace downtime can affect their operations, which is an important component of a backup strategy.
Data: Clarify the specific data you plan to include in your strategy and where those involved in the process can find it.
Frequency: Another aspect of a data backup strategy is knowing how frequently you plan to perform data backup processes.
Process: Include the process you’ll follow for data backup, including the products or programs used, where the backup is located, and who will perform the backup protocols.
8 data backup strategies
Here’s a list of 8 data backup strategies to consider implementing in your organization:
1. Onsite backups
An onsite backup is when you store data on a separate hard drive accessible through a local shared network. If your local hard drive cannot store or retrieve data, you can access the onsite backup in order to continue those processes. Onsite backups run through the same network as a local hard drive, so, for example, a local hard drive may run directly from a laptop and an onsite backup may run from a server room within the same building.
2. Storage of older backups
Storage of older backups is when you have automatic or manual backups of data from the past. If data becomes inaccessible, you can access a previous version of the data through an older backup. Automatically creating backups in regular intervals can help you retrieve a previous version of your data without manually creating any backups.
For instance, an organization may implement an automatic backup of data every 10 minutes, storing up to five previous versions at a time. This means that users can not only access the most recent previous version of data but can also see several data backups from the past.
3. Offsite backups
Offsite backups are hard drives or servers in a separate physical location from the local hard drive or server. If data becomes inaccessible, employees can access it by using an internet connection. This strategy has the benefit of further eliminating the risk of data loss by storing data in multiple physical locations.
4. Removable media
Removable media may include a CD, floppy disk, or USB drive. USB drives are the most popular form of removable media because they can typically store more data. This strategy involves backing up data into a removable media device and storing that device in an accessible place in case of data loss.
For instance, you may back up a project on a USB drive and store it within your workspace. This allows you to access backup data without the use of the internet.
Redundancy involves replicating a hard drive into two or more instances and may happen instantaneously as you enter and edit data to ensure that all data is always accessible. These backup drives may be in the same physical location, a remote location, or a combination of both. For example, an IT manager may set up a system in which members of their organization can store data automatically on a local backup hard drive and a remote hard drive.
6. External hard drives
You can typically connect external hard drives through USB ports on a computer to store data similarly to a USB drive. The main difference between USB drives and external hard drives is the amount of storage space available. For example, some external hard drives may be able to store more than a terabyte of data, while USB devices typically cannot.
7. Backup software
Backup software provides users with increased functionality when backing up data, such as allowing users to decide which kinds of data they want to back up and determining the location of the storage. Some backup software can also help facilitate redundancy, backing up data automatically to several drives.
8. Cloud backup services
Cloud backup services provide users with automatic data backup and recall through an external system of servers. Cloud service providers work with many businesses to back up and store their information on redundant hard drives in remote locations, allowing them to access it safely using an internet connection. This strategy allows businesses to delegate data backup activities, such as buying hard drives, creating data security systems, and programming user permissions to an external company in exchange for a fee.
I hope you find this article helpful.