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Backing up – the lifeline to Business

backing up blog article
Cyber security is always a challenge.

Data is often referred to as the lifeblood of every modern business, makes sense. Data is everything you collect in the day-to-day life of a business. Being able to mine this data allows a business to develop strategies around all facets of its activities.

In recent months with the floods on the eastern coast of Australia, the recent high-profile hacks of Optus, and Medibank private means this topic is front of mind for all Australian business owners.

What are the keys to understanding Backup and Data Recovery?

While all It professionals will have various preferences related to technologies and strategies to data backup and disaster recovery, they will all be following key principles related to backup and recovery. One of these ley principles is to ensure that you have multiple copies of your data backed up so that you can deal with ransomware attacks, natural disasters, hardware failures and human error of accidental deletion of data.

The human error of accidentally deleting key emails and documents is a far more prevalent threat to an organisation than other threat. It is not if but rather when it happens, you will need to recover that data in a timely and efficient manner with minimal disruption to the business. The key challenge is if you have no backup and recovery plan once it is gone its gone forever.

A key requirement in a backup and recovery strategy is to ensure you have a cloud element to your strategy. The cloud means you can minimise the risk of data being lost across all forms of incidents. The cloud also allows users to access files from any location on any device that is connected to the internet.

Some other key questions to be answered in relation to the data backup strategy is the frequency of back up and what to backup, which files which documents, and which applications (email, crm system, Order, and fulfillment applications). The answers for each business are different and are subject to what you determine as the critical data needs of your business.

The next key question, as the Optus hack has shown is for how long do you need to retain the data? This is often referred to as the retention requirement. The challenge being after data has reached its retention life one should expect that data to be destroyed. What would be an example? How long should email be kept for? Or how long should we keep data and any associated documents on clients or customers? This is a question Optus and other organisations that require verification of you by using passports, medicare numbers, bank account records etc., are asking themselves right now.

Decisions in this area need to consider the requirements of the Privacy act and the requirements around fines etc. for data being hacked by cybercriminals.

All sounds like it’s a big business issue, well no it’s a problem for all businesses and that’s why a business owner needs to be talking with their IT Support provider like your Local Computer Troubleshooter. Computer Troubleshooters franchise owners focus on providing quality reliable and professional IT services at an affordable price for small to medium business owners.

What types of data to protect?

Email is one of the biggest sources of vital data for businesses. Email often contains information you need to refer to for a variety of reasons. Many people believe because they are using Microsoft 365 or Google workspaces that their data is already being backed up by the provider of the application software.

Wrong, this is a complete misunderstanding by a lot of business owners. All Microsoft focusses on is ensuring the infrastructure to support the use of the application is available. It does not protect data for historical restoration and its SLA’s don’t protect against user error, malicious intent or other data destroying activities.

In fact, deleted emails are not backed up and they are kept in a recycle bin for a nominated time period, the default is 93 days, After, this they are deleted forever. For this reason alone, we at Computer Troubleshooters as part of our managed backup plans include a cloud to cloud back up of your office 365 email boxes.

Other types of data and files that need backup include databases, proprietary application data any software as a service data e.g., Zero, Website databases etc. part of your implementation should include developing a data map and identifying what needs to be backed up and how frequently.

What types of devices require protection?

Simply put anything that is considered mission critical. In other words, if the business cannot operate properly without this data, then it is mission critical. The first level of backup would be any servers that are being used in the business, this would include window servers, or file servers or virtual servers.

If you’re using VmWare or Hyper-V, then this should be backed up. As should Laptops and desktops that are being sued by employees. Employees tend to save a lot of working documents locally to these devices.

Why include the cloud as part of your backup and recovery plan?

It is best practice within he It industry to adopt a 3-2-1 strategy so that you can always recover. The practice implies at least three copies of your data in two different formats with one copy stored offline in the cloud. This is even more important in a highly regulated industry. By storing in the cloud, you can avoid the loss of data due to natural disasters such as floods. Think about how many businesses have been impacted by the recent floods and let’s assume their strategy was to have a backup on a Nas drive at the business and then an offline copy of that drive at an offsite location like their home. There is very possibility that the 2nd backup would have been impacted by the flood as the first. Hence the need for a backup in the cloud.

What are the key benefits of Cloud Backup?

The key benefits of Cloud can be summarised as follows:

  • Less chance of failure unlike local On-premise infrastructure. On-premise infrastructure is subject to local environmental dangers of flood or fire. Hardware infrastructure as it ages needs replacement, whereby using the cloud through an external provider they have the responsibility of maintaining the infrastructure.  
  • The price associated with Cloud storage is often at a more attractive rate than other options. In addition, it is paid for by consumption and monthly, meaning no capital investment required. One of the biggest attractions for small to medium businesses.
  • Speed of recovery and ease of recovery of data. Enables people to recover to virtual machines meaning less disruption time and a reduced time period for staff being inactive, meaning less impact on cashflow, revenue and profit.

Conclusion Where to start the discussion?

 All our franchise locations can provide you with an initial discussion around your needs and requirements. One other consideration is that today any discussion on data backup includes a discussion on your security resilience and posture because both issues are intrinsically linked to each other.

To find your nearest Troubleshooter Location click here or call our 1300 28 28 78 number and be put through to your local Troubleshooter.