Best practices to back up your data : World Backup day

 

Data, it is said, is the most expensive part of a computer. Components may be upgraded and equipment replaced, but the precious data contained in all machines is virtually irreplaceable if lost.
That is why a good backup plan is tantamount to keeping data safe, secured, and ready to use across any number of computing devices used daily. From smartphones to laptops to servers and wearables, data should be secured for all your myriad of devices, both personally and professionally.
Highlighting the cause every March 31st is World Backup Day! This day brings about awareness for every man, woman, and child that accesses data from any device to review their backup policies and—if none are in place—create a plan that will protect all the data on all your devices so you’re never left out in the cold again.
Use Remote Storage
A key factor in your backup solution is remote storage. Backing up your data and storing it on the same disk as your original data can be an exercise in futility. Off-site, or at least off-server, backups will remain viable even if your main server is compromised, allowing you to fully recover your data.
Take Backups Frequently and Regularly
Prevent loss of your critical data by ensuring backups are taken frequently and on a regular schedule. Determining how often your data is updated can help you create a schedule of how frequently your backups need to be taken. Critical data that is updated constantly will need to be backed up more regularly – even hourly, whereas more static data may only need nightly or weekly backups.
Consider Retention Span
After determining the frequency you will back your data up, it’s also vital to consider how long you will retain each backup. Keeping every backup indefinitely isn’t feasible simply due to an often limited amount of space. Most backup solutions offer a series of retention schedules, such as keeping hourly and daily backups for a week, weekly backups for a month, and monthly backups for a few months or even years. This type of schedule allows for having multiple, recent backups in the instance a recovery is needed. Good business practices include retaining certain backups, such as monthly or bi-annual, for as long as possible, if not forever. In addition, we recommend researching your industry’s data retention standards and requirements. Certain industries, such as healthcare or finance, will have strict requirements for backup retention.
Keep Backups Encrypted & Protected
It’s not enough to simply backup your data in an off-site location. Encrypting your backup files is an important step in data security. Backup encryption during storage ensures that your data will be exactly what you expect in the event you need to recover it.
Store Backups on RAID Arrays
For extra redundancy, your backups should be stored on RAID arrays. Distributing your data across two or more drives in a RAID array allows for better performance, reliability and larger data sets in your backup solution. This can also help ensure your stored data will be protected from the failure of a single disk.
Stack Your Backup Solutions
Because backup solutions will differ in how they treat your data, it’s best to use multiple solutions. For example, Liquid Web’s Guardian and Storm® backup solutions take backups of your entire server and store them in a secure and remote location. Alternatively, cPanel backups (available for every cPanel user) only take copies of your cPanel account and can be stored either locally (which is not ideal) or remotely. cPanel backups can be especially useful for those users who have multiple accounts on one server but only need to restore one account. Due to the different benefits of both solutions, our Heroic Support™ team recommends backing up both full images of your server in addition to smaller snapshots of your cPanel accounts. Stacking your backup solutions in this manner will ensure you can be sure that your data will be recovered as quickly and efficiently as possible, no matter what kind of disaster hits.
Give highest priority to crucial data.
Each organization needs to decide how much work it is willing to risk losing and set its backup schedule accordingly. Database and accounting files are your most critical data assets. They should be backed up before and after any significant use. For most organizations, this means backing up these files daily. Nonprofits that do a lot of data entry should consider backing up their databases after each major data-entry session. Core files like documents (such as your Documents folders) and email files should be backed up at least once a week, or even once a day.
It’s not usually necessary to back up the complete contents of each individual computer’s hard drive — most of that space is taken up by the operating system and program files, which you can easily reload from a CD if necessary.
Establish a lifecycle operations calendar. An effective backup operation requires certain tasks to be completed successfully every day. There are also weekly, monthly, quarterly and even annual tasks that are as important as daily tasks. While short-term tasks are highly tactical, long-term tasks tend to be more strategic. In an effective backup operations environment, all tasks should be documented and performed on schedule.

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