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How Often Should You Perform A Data Backup?

Your company’s data is arguably its most valuable asset. For this reason, learning how often you should perform a data backup should be high on the list of your organization’s security priorities. Making backups is about more than just making a copy of files, it is a safety precaution that could save your company should a disaster or crime strike. 

Although it’s obvious how important data backups are, it’s less intuitive to know how often your company’s data should be backed up. How often is enough?

How Data Backups Work

Backing up your data backup is the act of copying or archiving files and folders for the purpose of being able to restore them in case of data loss. 

Data loss can be caused by a lot of different things: from computer viruses to hardware failures, file corruption, or even fire, flood, or theft. If you’re in charge of business data, a loss could involve critical financial, customer, and company data. If this data is stored on a personal computer, you could lose financial data and other important files that would be difficult to replace. 

Main Types of Backups

Depending on your company’s needs, there are a few different kinds of backups that you can implement, alone or in conjunction with one another. 

Full Backup

This means copying everything; it typically consists of a fast, complete recovery of your company’s data assets. With a full data backup, you can easily access the most recent, single backup version. This option requires the most storage space, bandwidth, and time.

Incremental Backup

Conversely, this takes the least amount of space, bandwidth, and time. This process involves making copies of files by taking into account the changes that have been made since the last full or incremental backup. 

For example, imagine you have completed a full backup. After that, you create two new files and then decide to do an incremental backup.The incremental backup detects that the files in the full backup are the same and therefore will only create copies of the two new files. This saves time and space, as there are fewer files to be backed up.

Differential Backup

A differential backup takes into account updates made since the last full backup; it ignores incremental backups. For example, if you have a full backup done on Friday, an incremental backup done on Monday, and a different backup done on Wednesday, the differential backup will update anything changed since Friday.

Main Types of Backup Storage

Local/On-Site

You can create backups and store these on site, either on your own servers or smaller devices like USB sticks. This is convenient, as you always have access to what you need, but it won’t protect your data if your whole network is attacked or if data loss is caused by issues like fire or flood. 

Off-Site

You can store data off-site, too. Whether you choose to print out important files, store them on external hard-drives that are kept off-site, or some other physical way of preserving the data, this keeps your data safe if your main site is at risk. However, it is still at risk of being lost or falling into the wrong hands. 

Online/Cloud

By storing your data in the cloud or another virtual location, it is safe regardless of happens to your network or physical location. 

There are lots of options for third party cloud storage options, both free, paid, or free with paid extras. Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and iCloud are all popular options, but there are other options available too. Cloud backups can be done automatically, which makes them easier to manage. 

How Often Should You Backup Data?

The only way to protect your business from losing valuable data is to make regular backups. Important data should be backed up at least once a week, but preferably once every twenty-four hours. 

These backups can be performed manually or automatically. A lot of automatic software options are available that you can set to make a backup of your data at a set time of the day or week. 

By backing up everyday, you can be sure you aren’t missing anything important, even if something goes wrong overnight. Daily backups are especially easy if you take advantage of an IT company’s data backup solutions.

Most businesses will need to protect contact information, customer data, billing, bookkeeping, orders, website code, custom programming, and passwords. Individual employees might also want to add data backups for documents, presentations, spreadsheets, appointments, and emails. 

Some businesses will have more specific needs for what needs to be prioritized for the daily backup, such as blueprints, PDFs, company literature, or artwork. You can save information to a USB jump drive, external hard, or burned to a CD or DVD, instead of auto-backups to the cloud.

Contact Total IT today for help organizing your company’s data backups.