The Complete Guide to Data Backup for SMBs

60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster. The importance of a functional data backup strategy can’t be stressed enough. Still, there are so many scattered resources that talk about all the different aspects of backup strategies.

Some tell you how to test your backups. Others talk about disaster recovery plans. Others still talk about different vendors and applications your organization can use to back up their data.

Is it helpful? Sure it is. But like we said – it’s scattered.

We’ve put together a complete guide for data backup for SMBs. No need to hunt down information from across the wide Internet plains.

Here’s what you need to know.

Areas Covered:

  • How to Create a Data Backup Strategy
  • How to Back Up Your Data
  • Data Backup Management Tips
  • Disaster Recovery and Data Backups
  • Putting Your Disaster Recovery Plan Into Action

How to Create a Data Backup Strategy

First things first – creating the backup strategy.

Before you tackle your backup components, you’ll need to step back for a second and let the pen hit the paper. In other words, it’s time to get theoretical.

Start by establishing the scope of the whole thing. If you’re a small business, you might not have much to back up in the first place. Alternatively, you might be a budding organization that has lots to back up.

Setting your backup strategy goals from the beginning will help you establish exactly what you’ll need to invest in. Ask yourself questions like:

As with anything IT-related, you’re also going to want to keep security into consideration here. You need to take into account your existing IT infrastructure and how it’s set up. With that information in hand, you can begin to unlock exactly what your organization needs.

When you answer the questions above (and the questions that they’ll inevitably turn into), you’ll be sitting pretty with the core of your data backup strategy.

To fill out the rest of it, you’ll want to keep reading this guide.

Each section is a critical component of the things you’ll need to make your data backup strategy as comprehensive as possible.

What You Need to Back Up Your Data

So, you’ve taken a good, hard look at the scope of your backup strategy. By now, you should be ready to do away with the theory and get into the practice of it all.

Good news – that’s what we’re doing in this step.

Like we said earlier, most of your options are going to be governed by the amount of money you’re willing to invest into this. We’re not going to keep harping on the importance of it, but with statistics like these…

 

“Of companies that suffer data loss: 43% never reopen and 51% close within two years.”
Invenio IT

…it’s kind of hard to stop.

If you’re ready to start storing your data securely, you should first examine the market for different options. The effectiveness of each data backup solution will vary depending on your recovery needs, your sheer data load, your vendor preferences, and more.

Regardless of what option you pick, you’ll need to ensure that your data is fully secured.

That doesn’t just mean you can throw your data over to a secure cloud provider and hope for the best. It means keeping every aspect of your data backups secure – ranging from limiting access to your backups to password encrypting the tools that can make changes to your backed up files.

As data backup experts ourselves, we can’t recommend cloud-based backups enough. They’re easy to manage, easy to access, and they offer plenty of other benefits for businesses. Plus, they don’t require you to purchase expensive equipment to start backing up your data.

You could finish this article and start backing up your files today.

Data Backup Management Tips

If you’ve already got your data backed up to the cloud (or any other place), you’re going to hit the least fun part of data backups for SMBs.

The management.

While less interesting than the actual backup process, proper data backup management is equally (if not more) important. After all, data backups are, at their core, curated copies of your original data to secure storage media.

If you don’t take good care of them, they’re useless. They won’t work when you need them most.

Start by following the 3-2-1 backup rule. To sum it up, it means keeping 3 copies of your data backups total – 2 of the copies on different media, and one of the copies offsite.

Why is it important for data management?

Because when disaster strikes, you can’t always be sure if it’s going to affect your existing data backups too. Much like a stock portfolio, it pays to diversify.

Of course, each organization will handle the management of their data backup strategy in different ways, and to different effects. There’s no hard and fast rule that will work for every business.

Be sure to stay on top of the shifting data backup trends to be sure you’re always up-to-date.

Another core area of data backup management is to test, test, test your backups. After all, the entire investment will have been for nothing if you don’t have confirmation that they’ll work when you need them.

Disaster Recovery and Data Backups for SMBs

Backing your data up is extremely important. It’s a core part of a larger, more comprehensive disaster recovery strategy.

Bear with us here for a moment – because there’s almost always a bigger fish to fry.

Disaster recovery strategies don’t just take into account your data backups. They allow you to get a birds-eye view of the entire disaster and methodically plan how to restore your operations to full operational capacity.

In short, data backups for SMBs are an important (but tiny) part of the whole plan.

The backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan, that is.

Just like data backup plans, these have differing strategies around them. You can include everything from the step-by-step recovery process to the recovery priority of each individual department within your organization.

You’ll want to ensure that your BDR plan is extremely thorough. Take some time to understand the main disaster recovery terms so you’re not out of the loop when you conduct additional research.

 

“2 in 3 small businesses lack a written disaster recovery plan.”
Nationwide

 

BDR strategies depend on everyone involved in the plan. The better you lay out the recovery actions, the less downtime and fewer errors you’ll face.

Putting Your Disaster Recovery Plan Into Action

Much like data backup strategies, you’re going to need to perform some “live fire” drills. There’s no better way to ensure that things are working than to actually test your plan.

Running these drills will tell you where your bottlenecks exist. You’ll see who’s prepared (and who forgot to read the plan). And, if done correctly,  it will speed up your recovery when the time comes to actually implement the plan.

Be sure to do the following 3 things to keep your disaster recovery plan as efficient as possible:

  • List any available resources (staff, organizations, hardware, etc.)
  • Establish the key players who will be active in the recovery process
  • Detail the emergency contact information of all necessary parties

Once you’ve reached a comfortable level where your BDR plan AND your data backup strategies both go off without a hitch, you can start to even out. You should set regular test intervals to make sure that your team is always prepared and ready to go in the event of the worst occurring.

SMB Data Backup Guidance

There you have it – a complete guide that shows you what you need to do, and in what order you need to do it. Are you ready for the big catch? You probably are waiting for the part where we say, “Got you! You actually can’t do it by yourself after all!”

Don’t worry. That’s not the case.

Lots of SMBs have the full capabilities to handle their own data backup strategies and BDR plans. However, they STILL tend to outsource things to experts.

The reason?

Each one of these steps is variable in difficulty. Each one can take a long time to complete successfully. Data experts (like the ones we have at Netwise) are here to alleviate these problems. We focus on doing data backup right while you focus on your actual business.

No frustrations. No wasted time. And, best of all, no need to hunt for tips and information.

If you’re interested in learning more about data backups and BDR plans, let’s have a chat. We can help recommend the best possible solutions for your organization.