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Businesses of all stripes and sizes require a disaster recovery plan. That’s why IT providers and business professionals alike should be extra well acquainted with the basics of backup.

This begs the question: what is backup, really?

Understanding backup

Backup refers to the copying and archiving of data so that it may be used to restore the original version should data loss or corruption occur. Backup can also be used to recover copies of older files if they have been deleted them from your system. For best results, backup copies should be made on a regular, consistent basis. The more backup copies you have, the more robust your protection against malicious attacks or data corruption. Data backup is integral to any company’s disaster recovery plan, and to business continuity overall.

A 2021 study by Veeam found that data backup systems, particularly dated ones, have limited rates of success. According to the study, on average:

  • 57% of backups will be successful
  • 61% of restores will be successful
  • Full data recovery data will succeed just 35% of the time

This, however, doesn’t mean backups aren’t extremely worthwhile. Instead, it demonstrates how crucial it is for businesses to be smart and cautious about the kinds of data backup that they use. A hybrid backup solution which includes both hardware and cloud storage can go a long way toward mitigating the issue of failed backups.

What can your business back up?

The short answer is everything, as often as possible!

Your company can back up:

  • Important files
  • Sensitive information
  • Email data
  • Communication logs (i.e. chat data, meeting info, calendars)
  • Databases
  • Full computer systems
  • Operating systems
  • Applications
  • Hosts and management consoles—not just your virtual machines (VMs)
  • Cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
  • Mobile devices

Be sure to revisit your backup scope and tweak it as needed every time you switch up your infrastructure!

The benefits of backup

Why is backup so important, and what exactly can it help you accomplish?

Backup software protects critical data and enables its recovery within your company’s recovery time objective (RTO), AKA the maximum acceptable length of time that a computer, system, network or application can be down after a failure or disaster takes place. But because not all backup solutions are capable of completely restoring a computer system or other complex system configurations, it is important to be very careful in selecting the right solution that responds to your company’s specific needs.

The right backup software can benefit your business by enabling you to do the following:

Maintain security

One of the most crucial advantages of data backup and recovery is security. Investing in dependable data backup and recovery services can help secure your data against data sprawl and breaches. It is also critical for ensuring customers’ data safety, as well as compliance with legal standards.

Enable business continuity

Business continuity is about how quickly your organization can recover using the backup plan you have in place. Though backup shouldn’t be the only component of your business continuity strategy, it can go a long way toward getting you up and running again—and quickly.

Reduce employee turnover

It’s not rocket science: with a backup software solution at the ready, your company is less likely to suffer a disaster that stunts its growth, which in turn leads to an uptick in employee turnover—and all its accompanying costs. When a business thrives (backup is crucial to any thriving business), morale and productivity remain high while turnover remains low.

Save money

Think cost control. Losing vital organizational data can have a significant impact; one hour of downtime can equate to an estimated $88K per hour. Losing customers’ sensitive information can also lead to lawsuits, stalled projects and productivity downturns, just to name a few consequences. So, while data backup, recovery solutions and software may seem costly, it’s surely a worthwhile investment in the long run.

Save time

Manually backing up data is time-consuming and resource-intensive, eating up storage space and bandwidth alike. Company servers often have a hard time handling a huge amount of data. Backup software solutions offer the perfect solution, improving network speed, reducing storage expenses, and freeing up time to carry on the daily tasks that matter most to the growth of your company.

What type of storage is used for backup?

Syncing work files to the cloud via Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive is not considered a reliable backup solution. Consider the following hardier backup storage plans:

  • Hard drives: If you have enough capacity on your local disks, you can back them up to external drives. But while these backups are fast and convenient and you don’t need a network, they are best suited to the recovery of individual files or systems in the event of a software failure. While local hard drives can be used for backup, they are not fully reliable, largely because they are not portable. In other words, if the system is destroyed by a fire or flood, your backups can be destroyed. For safety, store your backups in a different location.
  • Tapes: Tapes (magnetic media that can be read or written through a drive or a library) were once the go-to method for storing a copy of your data in an off-site location. The tapes must be physically shipped to a remote location, preferably at least 100 miles from your primary data center. Modern tape technologies, such as LTO-7, allow you to store up to 2.5TB of compressed data on a single tape, making them quite efficient if you need to protect large amounts of data. The downside of a tape backup is a potentially lengthy RTO, since you need to physically ship the tape back when recovering your data.
  • Cloud storage: Cloud storage is the trendiest solution—with good reason! Think of it as the modern alternative to a tape backup. With a cloud storage solution, you opt for a specific storage capacity in your cloud vendor or service provider’s data center. The physical storage spans multiple servers, and the physical environment is typically owned and managed by a hosting company. No hardware is required, but you do require an internet connection to send backups to the cloud.


Need a reliable partner for backup?

On the hunt for a quality backup solution? Sherweb provides all types of IT providers and their clients with backup and other cybersecurity solutions to help keep their business operations safe and sound. Browse our available solutions to learn more, or drop us a line to start a conversation about how we can secure your data and help your business thrive!

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb