Are You Backing Up Your Business Data?

Business-Software-Data-BackupsNo one can predict what will happen tomorrow. An unexpected power outage could cause your business to lose precious data and information. A tornado could rip through your area and destroy your building and everything in it. A flood could wash away every trace of your business records and assets. Even something as simple as a software malfunction has the potential to impact your business continuity and success. Without an effective disaster recovery and data backup plan in place, these types of natural disasters have the power to shut your business down for good.

According to recent research performed by GuruOnline, 4.6 million incidents of data loss occur every year. Of these incidents, 40% are due to hardware failure, 20% to human error, 13% to software corruption, 9% to theft, 6% to computer viruses, and 3% to hardware destruction. These data losses total an annual cost of 18.2 million dollars each year. That’s a lot of money!

As every business manager knows, your data and business information is valuable. Implementing effective data backup processes, therefore, is imperative to your business’ success. While you cannot always predict what will happen in the future, you can prepare for the worst and ensure that your data will be available when you need it. There are several business software solutions available to assist you with data backup to ensure your business continuity in the case of a disaster or system crash. Some businesses prefer to back up their data physically using a different hard drive while others prefer to store their data on a CD ROM or other memory-type tool. While these kinds of data backups are always good ideas, we recommend that you invest in a more comprehensive solution.

Many software vendors offer data backup services via the Cloud and other tradition backup methods.

Testing – 1, 2, 3
Backing up your business data is important, but if you can’t rely on the accuracy of your data backups it’s all for naught. More often than not, companies fail to test their data backups, resulting in faulty and inconsistent data. If your server happens to crash or a natural disaster strikes, you will be left with missing valuable data and could jeopardize the future of your business. Many business continuity solutions offer data testing features so you can rest knowing that you have all of your data as it should be in the database. Some solutions even have automated data testing. Be sure to talk to your provider to see what you need to do to start testing your business data before a disaster strikes.

Here are a few tips to help you more effectively test your data backups:

  1. Test your backups on a regular basis. According to a Symantec study, the majority of companies only test their data recovery plans and data once a year. That is not often enough to protect your data and information. If you wish to resume business as usual after a business catastrophe or disaster, you need to be testing your data on a regular basis. Every time you make a major hardware or software change to your system, test it. Test your data on a weekly basis (at least) to ensure your business recovery process will be as smooth as possible.
  2. Be realistic during the testing process. Your test should duplicate the conditions you will face should you need to actually restore your system. For the best results, you should do a complete restoration of all your business data to an alternate system with identical configuration. You should also test the backup on the hardware you will be restoring it to. You won’t always be able to restore your system to the same computer, so testing it on a different machine will give you a good idea of whether or not the restoration will actually work.
  3. Be thorough. When you are testing your data backups, don’t simply take a quick glance at the data and call it good. When you test a restore, you should take a minute to study the directories to ensure everything is backed up as it should be. Don’t skimp on this process, for you will pay for it in the end.
  4. Finally, test everything. All of your business applications and software solutions should be tested on a regular basis. Pay special attention to any complicated business software applications or solutions.

If you’d like to learn more about the importance of backing up your data and testing it on a regular basis, contact our business software consultants today. We’d be more than happy to walk you through the data backup process and guide you to the right business continuity solutions for your company.

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