Why Data Backups Are Important (And How to Do Them Right)

Jesse Sumrak

Most businesses know data backups are important, but they still treat them as an afterthought. However, backups aren’t just important—they’re essential. 

Losing your system data isn’t just an annoyance or a setback. It could break your business overnight. You might not be able to restore functionality, and customers will lose trust in your company. Customers may even lose valuable data they trusted with you.

Your data will be compromised eventually. Whether that’s to human error, viruses, software failure, data corruption, hardware malfunction, or natural disasters, it’s just a matter of when. And if you don’t have backups in place (the right way), you could permanently lose access to your precious data.

Want to know why data backups are important and if you’re doing them correctly? You’ve come to the right place. Airiam focuses on helping businesses build cyber resilience, and data backups play a considerable role. Below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about data backups and how to implement them appropriately. 

What Is a Data Backup?

A data backup is a copy of your business information that you store on a separate system or cloud server to use for recovery purposes in the event of a cyberattack or data loss. Backup data includes a lot of different information:

  • Customer data
  • Documents
  • Media files
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Operating systems
  • Registry files
  • Configuration files

While the concept of data backups is simple, the execution includes more complexities. Here are things you need to consider when planning your data backups:

  • Storage Location: Where will you store your backups? You can choose physical hard drives, flash memory, or cloud servers.
  • Technology Solution: What technology will you use to automate your data backups and monitor your systems?
  • Backup Administrator: Who will set up backups, check for completion, and restore your systems?
  • Scope: What information will you store in your data backups?
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO): How often will you back up your data? Will you do it daily, or will you back up your data several times throughout the day? More frequent backups will protect more data, but this also requires additional computing and networking resources.
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO): How fast do you need to restore your data and get systems back online?

Answers to these questions will help you determine the right data backup solution for your business.

Why Are Data Backups Important?

Data backups play a bigger role than just helping you restore lost data. While that’s their purpose, they provide a range of other non-negotiable benefits:

1. Defend Against Cyber Threats

Hackers attack your systems an average of once every 39 seconds. Eventually, determined attackers will figure out a way to breach your system and access your data. Sometimes, these hackers will steal your data and hold it for ransom. You’ll have to pay a hefty fee to return your data and restore your systems, and it’s not a pretty process.

Clever attackers know about data backups and often use tactics to make these unretrievable. That’s why it’s not good enough to have any old backup in place. You need sophisticated technology, systems, and partners to ensure you always have access to your backup data, even against the savviest cyber threats.  

2. Protect Sensitive Business Data

Your customers trust you with their data. That might be usernames, passwords, financial information, documents, media files, and historical purchases. While they don’t want attackers to get access to this information, they also don’t want to lose it permanently. 

Backups ensure your customer’s information never gets lost. You can retrieve their files and precious data, regardless of human error, viruses, or hardware crashes.

Imagine if someone was using a cloud storage company to store their family photos or even something as simple as an online journal. If the customer lost access to those precious files, do you think they would ever use your services again?

3. Recover Quickly

It’s not enough to recover your data—you need to recover and restore your systems quickly. Losing days or even an hour could compromise your customers’ trust, and they might turn to other businesses or solutions. 

You need data backups you can trust to patch your systems and get everything functioning again. You might run into problems if you find an error with your backup or if the person responsible for restoring your systems lacks experience with this sort of scenario. Issues like these can slow down recovery and further delay your services.

4. Provide Uninterrupted Services

Attacks happen, and some succeed, but you don’t want any of these invasions to hurt your customers’ experience. Cloud backups help ensure your systems stay online, and if things do crash, you can restore them as quickly as possible.  

5. Avoid Ransom Fees

Data backups help you avoid paying ransom fees. Attackers can’t hold your data hostage if you can just restore your copies. However, hackers understand this solution, and that’s why they aim to destroy your recovery paths and leave you with only one solution: paying the ransom.

That’s why it’s crucial you use immutable backups that attackers can’t access, modify, or delete. Access to these backups ensures hackers can never irrevocably steal or destroy your data. You’re safe, regardless of the threat. 

6. Deter Attackers

Hackers don’t want to waste their time on companies with a robust backup solution since they know this will decrease their return on investment. While they can still threaten to expose your data, they lose the threat of destroying your data, and that’s a big piece of the threat puzzle.  

7. Increase Consumer Confidence

Customer trust takes years to build, but you can lose it all in minutes. Keeping accurate, up-to-date data backups ensures your services stay online and your customers don’t lose access to their precious information. This trust helps you retain customers and build relationships with new ones, and trust is a feature you can’t put a price tag on these days. 

Who Needs Data Backups?

Enterprise companies and large organizations aren’t the only ones that need cybersecurity. Around 60% of small-to-medium-sized businesses suffered a cyber attack in 2020. Hackers aren’t afraid to go after the underdogs. 

Every business should back up its data. Whether you run a car dealership, grocery store, or SaaS startup, you need to protect your digital data and ensure it never gets destroyed or stolen.

However, data backups are just one part of a more holistic cyber resilience strategy. We recommend developing a comprehensive plan using a trusted cyber resilience framework.

Best Practices to Implement Data Backups

Not all data backups are created equally. Some check the compliance box but fail to deliver the necessary security measures and depth. For example, you might perform manual backups to a physical hard drive at the end of every week, but what happens after an attack when you accidentally drop the recovery hard drive or discover that it’s infected?

You’re out of luck.

That’s why it’s essential to follow best practices when planning and implementing your data backups. Here are a few must-follow tips:

  • Automate Your Backups: Let a technology solution back up your data. Choose a solution with top-notch encryption in transit and at rest to ensure nothing gets damaged in the backup process. 
  • Store Multiple Copies: Don’t trust a single copy. Airiam uses a 3-2-1-1 backup rule, storing 3 copies of data in 2 different media types with 1 copy off-site and 1 copy air-gapped (or immutable).
  • Secure Your Encryption Keys: If you have direct access to your encryption keys, hackers likely will, too. Use a partner to add an additional layer of security and separation, so hackers don’t get access to your backups when they infiltrate your system.
  • Use Immutable Backups: Immutable backups can’t be modified or deleted. They’re safe from hackers, administrators, and even yourself. 
  • Evolve Your Systems: Your data backups aren’t a one-and-done activity on your to-do list. You need to continue to evolve your systems and processes to protect your information. 
  • Make a Backup Recovery Plan: Plan how you’ll restore your data after an attack. Does an administrator on your team have the know-how and experience to restore your systems, or will you rely on a third-party backup provider to restore them for you?

Trust Airiam With Your Data Backups

Make your data backups a priority by partnering with Airiam. Our AirGapd™ cybersecurity solution protects your business with disaster recovery, continuity services for servers, workstations, and Office 365, and immutable cloud backups. Our 3-2-1-1 backup rule adds an extra layer of security to your business and gives you flexible recovery paths. 

And backups are just a single part of the comprehensive cyber resilience we provide. We offer businesses 24/7/365 monitoring, patching, remediations, penetration testing, and cybersecurity tools and best practices. We’re an end-to-end solution for protecting your digital data.

Interested? Schedule a call with our team to learn how Airiam can provide data backups and holistic cyber protection for your business.

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