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Losing your business-critical data can put you in a difficult position. From damaging your reputation to falling foul of GDPR – and even the possibility of going out of business altogether – it’s something to be avoided at all costs. Putting a robust backup solution in place means you’ll always have a copy of your data and can quickly and easily restore it if the worst happens.

However, not everyone has the same ideas around robust backup solutions! Here at Jalapeno, we offer all our clients some simple advice to help them keep their important client, financial and other data safe and sound.

Take direct control of your daily backups

Backing up your data is a crucial process that directly influences your ability to trade and comply with Data Protection laws. Does it make sense to entrust it to a junior member of staff? No, it doesn’t! Unfortunately, this is all too often the case.

And, whilst many younger team members are of course diligent and hard-working, some could have other things on their mind at the end of the day…and neglect your backups as a result. The easy way to avoid this is to take control of the process yourself. Or delegate it to a senior member of staff who’s completely trustworthy, along with a ‘second in command’ for when the primary team member is away.

Set up daily alerts and reporting facilities

Daily alerts and backup reports are a great way to let you know that your backups are ticking along happily. You’ll receive confirmation of whether your backup has taken place and whether it was successful. Any problems will be flagged up, so you can take immediate action to sort them out.

Of course, no one wants to plough through reams of data about their backup status every day. But just a simple alert will give you peace of mind that your data is safe.

Sadly many service providers and / or software solutions don’t provide these alert emails.

Make sure all your crucial files are backed up

We recently heard from a fellow IT support provider about a client who brought in a PC for repair. There was a backup system in place, but it hadn’t been configured correctly and some of the client’s files weren’t backing up. When the client realised this, they immediately contacted the workshop to get their data back. Luckily, the hard drive hadn’t been wiped and the data was intact – but things could have been very different.

The moral of the story is: when you set up your backup system, make sure all your files are included. This is especially important if you’re using an online file sharing solution as opposed to a ‘proper’ online backup system (not recommended except for very small businesses – see below). This is because it’s all too easy for new files and folders to be created which fall outside the scope of the system and don’t get backed up.

Choose a backup solution that suits your business

This one can work both ways. We’ve encountered businesses with solutions in place that are grossly inadequate for their needs (USB sticks and DVDs spring to mind, both of which are easily lost or damaged…).

On the other hand, some companies spend a fortune on third party backup providers offering a Fort Knox level of security when this simply isn’t required. It’s all about finding the right balance. There’s no need to sell a kidney, but don’t sell yourself short either!

So, what are the backup options for small to medium sized businesses? Here are some of solutions to consider.

  • Removable devices

If you’re happy to back up onsite, you’ll need an option that lets you physically remove the device from the premises, so it’s protected from theft, fire, flood and so on. As noted above, devices such as USB sticks and DVDs aren’t a robust solution. You could choose an external hard drive instead.

However, the disadvantage of any type of removable storage if that you’ll probably have to carry out the backup manually every day (and remember to take it home with you!)
We’ve seen too many examples of backup devices permanently left attached to servers and PCs.

  • Network attached storage (NAS)

These can be a good choice for backing up local devices on a small network. The NAS is a dedicated device that all team members can access to back up and restore their files. There are lots of different options available, which can be located on or offsite. Pick one that you can configure to back up all your data automatically and which can also be accessed remotely.

  • Cloud-based file sharing systems

These are free or low-cost services that sync the files on your hard drive to the cloud in real time. Examples include Google Drive File Stream, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive. They’re useful for remote access and collaboration, but many smaller businesses also use them as a backup solution.

This is OK for micro businesses provided the system is set up to include all your files and folders. However, larger companies are better off with a full function internet based solution.

  • Internet-based backup services

Whilst levels of sophistication vary, these solutions offer a much higher level of protection and visibility than file sharing services. Your data will be securely encrypted and stored in multiple locations so that if one set of servers fails, your files will still be available.

These solutions also offer the ability to alert one or more team members as to status of backups on a daily or job by job basis.

The disadvantage here is, of course, cost – but if your company holds a lot of sensitive and business-critical data, it’s a worthwhile investment.

  • Hybrid solution

This is simply a combination of an online system and a cloud-based solution. In our opinion, this ‘double-pronged’ approach is your best option for maximum resilience and protection against data loss.

For example backing up to internet and an on site NAS gives the security of the off site solution with high speed recovery of backup data close to hand.

Like to know more?

For information and advice on backing up your data, get in touch with Jalapeno today. You can call us on 01636 681 110, email or complete our online enquiry form with your questions.