Don’t be an April Fool. Back up your data on March 31.
People now create and generate over 1.8 zettabytes of data per year. Despite this increased generation of digital data, nearly 30% of people have never backed up their data, often because they just don’t think about it.
March 31 is World Backup Day, and with so much of our lives, photos and videos being stored in digital form, it’s easy to see the importance of backing up our precious data.
As Warren Averett Technology Group celebrates World Backup Day today, we hope you’ll join us in protecting data with secure backups.
What is World Backup Day?
World Backup Day was chosen to be the day before April 1 (April Fools’ Day) in order to drive home the message that one should back up all those important documents before it’s too late. It is also designed to help those without proper backup procedures in place learn where and how to get started.
“I’m thrilled with the response to World Backup Day, and I hope it’s made a difference in people’s lives,” said World Backup Day founder Ismail Jadun. “We all know someone who has lost critical data, whether it was their videos, photos, music, book reports, or personal stuff. Hopefully this day will make everyone think about their situation, learn about the various options and get their files backed up. I hope that World Backup Day sparks conversations about the enormous task of saving our digital heritage for future generations.”
“I am very glad to see the importance of backing up data getting its own spotlight with World Backup Day! Most people know why backing up critical data and/or personal data is so important, yet many still do not perform this task on a regular basis,” said Practice Leader and Director of Operations for Warren Averett Technology Group, Emily Jones. “Just keep in mind that backing up once a year on this reminder day is not enough to keep your data safe. In the business world, missing daily, regular, verified backups can cause great grief should you have to restore everything from a backup.”
Why should I back up my data?
For small or medium sized business, a data disaster can quite literally be the end your company. For example, the bookmark sharing site called Ma.gnolia suffered a catastrophic data disaster and had to shut down completely when they lost both their primary and backup data stores. We encourage you to relay the importance of World Backup Day with your friends and family and to take heed of these devastating data disaster tales. Like the time a disgruntled employee erased an entire season of the children’s television show, Zodiac Island. Or Pixar’s near complete loss of the animated film Toy Story 2 due to an errant computer command!
Such sad tales could have been prevented had they had a proper data backup and restoration plan in pace. Whether it’s personal or professional data, everything should have a backup.
We also recommend that IT professionals check (and then recheck) their backup restores on World Backup Day to make sure they work. After all, a backup plan that doesn’t actually work isn’t much of a backup plan.
What items should I back up?
For personal use, your computer, laptop, phone, tablet, other wireless devices, photos and videos on social networks should be backed up. For business use, all of your critical business data should be backed up.
What are the most common ways to lose data?
The most common ways to lose data include equipment theft, hardware failure, natural disaster or bad actors who have gained access to your information.
What are my backup options?
Backing up for personal use is so easy that, once set up, your data should be backing up automatically, but it still needs to be tested periodically. Backing up company data is similar but can have complexity added to it that backs up at various intervals based on the importance of the data being saved. There are two main types of backup solutions:
- Local backup: An external hard drive that can be used to easily retrieve data if needed
- Cloud/offsite backup: An online backup service or hard drive securely placed in a different offsite location
How do I go about backing up my data?
Warren Averett Technology Group’s own Curtis Smith has outlined five best practices for backing up your data.
1. Start With Thoughtful Planning
One of the first and most often skipped steps is to develop a well-thought-out plan. Plan for each step of the process, from implementing the backup system to restoring the lost data.
2. Have a Retention Policy
A backup plan should always include a retention policy to ensure that data is backed up at a frequency that matches its priority level. For example, the policy should instate that high priority data is backed up at a high rate of frequency. This way, if disaster strikes, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your backup copy will have all the most recent updates the original did prior to being lost.
3. Always Keep a Second Copy
A very common mistake is only keeping one copy of data. However, best practice is to always keep at least two copies, one of which is stored offsite. No matter how many copies you have, your backups can all be destroyed if kept in the same place when disaster strikes.
4. Set Expectations and Plan Data Restoration by Priority Level
Set company expectations early on and plan for a reasonable amount of time to restore your data should disaster strike. Just like the retention policy, your restoration plan should prioritize the order in which your data will be restored. For example, you wouldn’t want the CEO asking why he or she doesn’t have access to the company database when everyone else’s access has already been restored.
5. Encrypt and Secure Backups
Lastly, make sure your data backups are encrypted and secure from the time they are created to the time they are stored, and at every point in between. Your backups will do you no good if the intruder in your system manages to delete or encrypt them, locking you out of your own backup plan.
What should I do after I back up my data?
Double check your backup procedures and restores to make sure everything is up to date and working. Consider enlisting the help of an IT professional to create and implement a company data backup and continuity plan.