If current trends continue, global disasters will rise from 389 in 2020 to an estimated 560 yearly by 2030. That’s without considering business-specific disasters, such as Internet attacks (35.2 million in 2021), data loss and other common problems.
As company leaders face these events with no end in sight, it’s clear they must have a failproof backup and disaster recovery program. The good news is that data and system backup/recovery doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Consistency and continuity are the keys to success.
Choosing a Backup Approach: From Periodic to Continuous
Historically, many companies engaged in periodic backups, where they would create backups on a regular basis. Within the last few years, this has become a nearly ubiquitous approach. A 2019 study found that the vast majority of businesses back up their data either monthly, weekly or daily.
While any backup is better than none, Carmichael Consulting experts do not consider these intervals to be sufficient. At the minimum, periodic backups should be conducted at least twice daily. However, we counsel all clients that have mission-critical data or are subject to compliance mandates to use continuous backup.
With this approach, data is backed up 24/7/365; preferably to an offsite resource. In the event a firm is impacted by a natural, technology or business disaster, company leadership and workers (as well as preauthorized third parties) can gain access to the files from any location with a secure Internet connection.
Backup Best Practices
Even for firms using continuous backups, we recommend additional safeguards. All backups should meet the following criteria:
- Incorporate a complete, bit-for-bit copy of the current-state data and system files.
- Capable of being rolled back to a specific point in time.
- Stored for several weeks; more if a company is subject to audits and/or compliance mandates. In some cases, storage may need to be indefinite.
- Redundant — mirrored to an offsite location to ensure rapid data and system recovery in the event of an onsite disaster. (We recommend secure cloud storage managed by a hosting expert that can facilitate backup restoration.)
- Fully encrypted both in transit and at rest.
Admittedly, this approach costs more than standard periodic backups. If you are hesitant regarding the cost of such a solution, consider how much revenue, public reputation and/or client satisfaction your firm would suffer if you couldn’t restore operations after a major data loss or business/natural disaster.
At the minimum, our experts strongly urge all firms not to operate with less than twice-daily backup. As Murphy’s Law states (and accurately summarizes the reality of business), “Anything that can go wrong will eventually go wrong.”