Four simple data backup tips for small businesses

Cyberattacks have the potential to damage small businesses for good, so it is crucial that you find the right cybersecurity strategy for you


When you have a perpetually hectic schedule, securing your data is usually the least of your concerns. That is, until that day your security is somehow compromised, and you have to start from scratch.

Lost data can take your job many steps back in a matter of seconds and recovering from it can be tricky, not to mention costly. A Ponemon Institute report found that the average cost of a data breach is an eyewatering $3.6m.

It does not matter what type of small business yours is, as long as you are using computers and other devices to complete tasks, it is vital that you backup your data. That way, you always have a copy in case your servers get destroyed or hacked.

So, in order to avoid your business joining the 43% of US firms that have experienced a data breach in the last year, according to research by the Ponemon Institute, we have put together four simple and easy-to-implement data backup strategies.

Have portable hard drives as backup

Movable hard drives include flash drives or external hard drives. Storing all your data within your internal memory is risky, and that is why having external storage is crucial. You already know the risk of putting all eggs in one basket.

This strategy requires you to frequently store data you wish to back up in those drives manually. They are economical, readily available, easy to use and time efficient. The only disadvantage of this strategy is that it does not provide the business with real-time data. It can become tedious when the data to backup is stored in numerous computers in different physical locations as well. However, it is undoubtedly better to have a physical backup than nothing.

Use network-attached storage

This strategy arguably has more advantages than the portable device data. Network-attached storage can easily backup data from numerous computers in different physical locations given that they share the same network. For it to perform better, the network must be quick and, crucially, reliable. This is because, if the internet goes down, so does your backup data.

To ensure that this strategy is effective, do not rely on your employees to back up data manually as this leaves room for human error – something to be very cautious of since 47% of business leaders told information security company Shred-it that human error had caused a data breach at some point. Instead, go further and adopt an automatic system that can do this within a scheduled time of your choice, such as an automatic cloud backup.

Unlike a hard drive solution, network-attached storage is not vulnerable to damage or malfunction. It also provides businesses with real-time business data updates and is automatically run, maintained and managed so will not expose you to the danger of employees forgetting to back up their data manually, delete data or saving few files.

Sharing apps as data backup strategy

Services such as Dropbox or Google drive are good starting data backup strategies for small businesses. The data shared to these online backup apps is easily accessible and does not take you long to restore when needed.

However, this strategy is susceptible to the risk of files outgrowing your hardware and also using this strategy does not allow you to backup data on schedule. It depends on manual data backup by employees who only select a few files which they wish to store. Nonetheless, you can prioritize the most crucial information you would not want to lose.

These sharing apps are also prone to employees' mistakes of deleting a file before backup and restoring data after a disaster is time-consuming.

Use of disaster protected storage

If your small business is located in hazard-prone areas, it is advisable you opt for a data backup strategy that will protect your data by withstanding adverse calamities, such as extreme weather. Look for a durable disaster-protected storage device that is waterproof and fireproof and connect it directly or use the network to backup data from computers.

Closing thoughts

Small businesses must prioritize backup data strategies like any other of their goals and choose approaches that will simultaneously help their employees to be productive in their tasks. It is advisable that you adopt a strategy that will continuously, silently and automatically backup all of your data and it should be time conscious when it comes to recovering the data when disaster strikes.

Most small companies do not survive long after mass data loss. In fact, the US' National Cybersecurity Alliance found that 60% of small businesses were unable to sustain themselves six months after a cyberattack. So, the time is now to get started on setting up the appropriate data backup strategy for your small business.

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