When it comes to data, both large and small organizations face the same challenges. A disaster could strike out of the blue and cause data loss. It may take days to replace servers, reinstall data, and reconfigure the system. In the worst-case scenario, the business might lose important information, which can disrupt workflow and service delivery.

All this is avoidable if the business has a backup and business continuity plan laid out. It ensures you can get back up and running as fast as possible when data loss happens. Keep reading to learn more about backup and business continuity.

Understanding Backup and Business Continuity

Although data backup and business continuity go hand in hand in ensuring the business recovers in a timely manner after a disaster, they’re different concepts.

Data Backup

Data is the lifeblood of most businesses. Sadly, it faces constant risks, including storage crashes, accidental changes, ransomware, and virus attacks, which can compromise it. To prevent permanent data loss, most businesses store copies or keep backups, which are easily retrievable when a disaster arises.

There are a few different types of data backups:

  • Hardware appliances: These are physical devices that you attach to your network to collect your data. They don’t require you to provide a separate operating system or server. The downside of this method is that if the device fails, you’ll lose your backed-up data.
  • Software backups: These solutions require the installation and configuration of the backup software into your system. Unlike hardware appliances, software solutions give you more flexibility and cost less.
  • Cloud services: In this case, you store data on a vendor’s cloud storage. This option requires you to install a lightweight data transmission agent into your system.

Business Continuity

Business continuity encompasses what you do before and after data loss. It covers the plans you’ve laid out to prevent data loss and how you’ll fix an issue once it occurs. Firstly, you need to ensure the following:

  • You’ve backed up data properly
  • You know where it’s stored
  • You’ve determined who’s in charge of retrieving data when the need arises
  • You know how long it will take to bring business operations back to normal

What to Include in a Reliable Data Backup and Business Continuity Solution

If it’s your first time creating a data backup and business continuity plan, the process might feel overwhelming. Here is a checklist to include in your plan.

A Data Backup and Business Continuity Team

Typically, your business’ data comes from different departments such as HR, finance, IT, and operations. For your data backup and business continuity plan to be comprehensive, you should have a cross-functional team with an informed representative from each area of your business that collects, generates, or stores data. Their input will help you develop a plan that addresses all critical areas of your data infrastructure.

An Audit of IT Assets

After choosing your team, carry out an audit of all your IT assets, including hardware, software, power supply systems, and backup. This will expose your areas of strength and weakness when it comes to risk management. After the audit, you can make improvements on areas that are falling short to ensure all your operations are secure from data loss risks.

Data Loss Impact Analysis

With the help of your data backup and business continuity team, evaluate if data from different business processes meets the regulation and industry standards. Also, assess how data loss would affect business processes. The goal here is to determine areas that would require immediate restoration before others if a disaster occurs. With a list of priorities, you’ll allocate resources efficiently during data recovery.

A Draft of the Initial Plan

When in a crisis, the last thing you want is everyone doing what they think is right. This can derail efforts to restore normality faster. You can avoid such a scenario by drafting detailed guidelines for the response plan. Doing so will require you to define the scope of work during a crisis and determine the recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO).

The RPO and RTO are important metrics. They relate to the amount of money you’re likely to lose during downtime. RPO defines how often backups will take place to minimize data loss between backups. RTO, on the other hand, sets the maximum amount of time it will take to restore your data after a crisis.

In this plan, you should also state the responsibilities of each team member when a crisis occurs to avoid confusion.

Training Your Team

Most cyber attacks aimed at breaching your data target your employees. They could receive a malicious email, unknowingly click it, and trigger a crisis. For that reason, you need to train them on how to recognize suspicious activities and report them. Most importantly, you should equip them with the skills they need to carry out their specific roles during a data loss disaster. A well-trained team will be the first line of defense against downtimes caused by data loss.

Regular Test and Update

Business changes take place all the time, and they could cause your data backup and business continuity plan to become outdated. Whenever you make changes in your business processes, you should test your plan, revise it, and update it whenever possible. Allowing your data backup and business continuity plan to evolve with your business keeps it efficient and effective.

The Benefits of Data Backup and Business Continuity

Setting up a data backup and business continuity plan requires careful consideration and professional help. However, once the plan is up and running, it comes with tons of benefits:

  • Minimizes financial losses: Without a data backup and continuity plan, it doesn’t take long to get your business running as usual. This minimizes downtime, which costs most businesses up to $5,600 per minute.
  • Your business gains a competitive advantage: If your competitors don’t have backup and business continuity plans, your business will be running when they’re dealing with downtime. Dissatisfaction will make their customers shift to your business because it’s more reliable.
  • You remain compliant with regulations: Some regulations require you to store sensitive business data for a predetermined period for auditing purposes. With a data backup and business continuity plan, you can restore your data even after loss and remain compliant.

Reducing Risks With a Data Backup and Business Continuity Solution

Cybersecurity risks keep advancing and increasing in severity. Businesses can stay safe by making data backup and business continuity a priority. Not only will this protect data, it’ll minimize financial losses and maintain a good reputation for the business.

Business owners looking for data backup and business continuity plans in St. Louis, Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, and western Illinois should consult Da-Com. With our years of experience in this sector, we’ll assess your business and offer a perfect solution. Get in touch with us for detailed information.