Counter to popular belief, SMBs are prone to data loss just as much as enterprises. However, their data protection is lagging substantially. This article overviews one of the methods to decrease data loss probability, i.e., data backup management.
Table of Contents
What is backup management?
Many organizations think that making a data backup is enough to protect their data. However, when a cyber incident strikes and they try to retrieve the files, it turns out that the information is incomplete. Moreover, it’s in complete chaos with multiple copies of the same folder, outdated data, and lacking the necessary information. An organization in the middle of a cyber crisis can’t efficiently process such data. Why does it happen? The company that faces such problems hasn’t introduced proper backup management. The outcomes can be devastating.
Backup management is a part of the data management strategy of a company. It is the process that ensures that the data backup is stored in compliance with rules and regulations, contains all the business-critical up-to-date information, and is free from outdated files.
Why is backup management important to your organization?
Data backup management is essential for any business, but in our opinion, it is essential to talk about its importance for SMBs. Here are some arguments supporting this idea.
- Many SMBs still cherish the belief that cyber incidents that lead to data loss happen to larger organizations, especially when it comes to cyber attacks like ransomware.
- Meanwhile, SMBs often suffer from IT and cybersecurity talent gaps. It makes them more prone to various cyber incidents, including attacks.
- For cybercriminals, SMBs present a valuable target as many serve larger organizations and can be an entry point to an otherwise well-protected IT environment. For example, they can store credentials and other important PII.
- In 2021 alone, 61% of SMBs were the target of a cyberattack. Also, 46% of all cyber breaches impact companies with less than 1,000 employees.
Summing up, SMBs need proper data backup management to be ready for likely cyber threats.
Why Do Organizations Need Data Backup Management?
Let’s take a look at the value of backup management for organizations.
Data loss prevention
Almost 40% of small businesses experienced data loss in an attack. Backups enable organizations to restore their information after cyber incidents. Properly managed backups ensure that the recovered data is up-to-date and essential for business.
Western countries, including the US, have comprehensive legislation governing data, its retention, backup, and recovery. Backup management can help your business to comply with these rules and avoid legal action and fines.
Cyber incidents disrupt business processes, and the speed of recovery can be critical for the survival of small companies. In these cases, recovery should be understood in a broader sense than a simple data transfer from backups to the company’s IT environment.
One of the key characteristics of a proper incident response would be the recovery of all business-critical data and its easy accessibility by the organization’s employees. If your backup data isn’t organized, it will take more time to restore data. Thus, organizations without a good backup management process will have a worse incident response. Learn more with our in-depth Incident Management blog post.
Backup Storage Space
The clients of SpinOne enjoy unlimited backup storage space. However, most cloud-to-cloud backup services charge for exceeding extra space. The costs of on-prem backup and recovery solutions are even higher. Managing the data in your backups can save your budget.
Data Retention Policy
This is the policy that enables a business to sift its data and remove outdated files. Backup management is an inalienable part of the data retention policy. Build a Data Retention Policy for your SMB
Most people strive in organized environments and respond poorly to chaos. During a cyber incident, the level of stress in your employees will inevitably go up. The necessity to go through unorganized recovered data will only make them feel worse. It will inevitably impact their working performance and your overall business operations.
Backup Management Best Practices
This section contains a list of data backup management best practices. You can also use this list as a step-by-step plan for organizing the management of your backup process.
Analyze Your Data
We suggest answering the following questions:
- How many Bytes of data does my organization generate on a regular basis?
- What is critical data for my business?
- Where do we store our data (on-prem, cloud)?
- What is outdated data for my business? Which criteria define it?
- What data requires permanent retention?
- How often do we generate data (including critical ones)?
Answering these questions will help you understand the following backup needs of your business:
- The size of the backup storage space
- The type of data backup
- The location of storage (e.g., cloud)
- The frequency of backup
- The criteria for data retention and data deletion.
Overall, if your business has a data retention policy, you most likely already have the answers to all of these questions.
Learn the basics of the 3-2-1 rule and implement them
Introduced by CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency), the 3-2-1 rule is considered one of the best practices for backup and recovery. It states that a business needs three backups of one data record stored on two different media, with one copy located offsite. Learn more about the 3-2-1 rule in our post on Cloud Data Security Best Practices.
Lay Down Backup and Recovery Processes for Your Critical Data
This step will heavily depend on the data analysis you performed. For example, your business stores critical data mostly in the cloud. This means you’ll need a cloud backup and recovery solution for your business. At this stage, you’ll also need to optimize your backup schedule and frequency. For example, if your company generates files on a daily basis, you’ll need daily backups.
Choose the Type of Backup
Overall there are four types of backups:
- full (a complete copy of your data with file versions)
- mirror (a complete copy of your data on a backup data without file versions)
- deferential (the copy of data changes since the last full backup)
- incremental (the copy of data changes since the last backup, full or incremental).
Each type has its pros and cons. Check out this table that summarizes the backup process and the pros and cons of each type:
When it comes to cloud data, most experts suggest using incremental backup. It uses full backup and then creates copies of data changes systematically. Its main advantages are a high frequency of backups, small storage space required, granular recovery, and low data loss probability.
This type of backup is also better for backup management because it doesn’t create copies of a file unless it has been edited. The main disadvantage is a bit slower backup and recovery process compared to other types.
Understand the types of backups better.
Minimize Manual Backups
It is great to have an Admin that implements manual backups from time to time. For example, you received a large portion of data from a client after your regular daily backup and want to copy it to your data storage immediately to prevent possible data loss and hinder your relations with the client.
However, most cybersecurity experts emphasize that manual backups in the absence of an automated backup solution are a foul practice for the following reasons:
- Dependence on an employee in charge. What happens when a person needs a vacation, is sick or leaves the company and a replacement hasn’t been found?
- Human error. Even the best and the most reliable employees make mistakes (e.g., forget to make backups or do not copy all the files).
- You need to ensure proper encryption of backups. It is harder to implement if you do it manually.
- SMBs cannot hire a large IT team. That’s why automated backups can save your employees’ working time for more creative and essential tasks like planning data protection.
Choose Backup Solution
As mentioned above, manual backups cannot replace an automated backup process. That is why you need a good tool. Learn more about solutions that ensure the management of the backup process in the next section of this article.
Backup your cloud dataUse SpinOne
Examine Your Backup and Recovery Processes Systematically
Check how your backups perform. For example, you can compare the data copied to your storage with the source. It would be best if you also scrutinized how the restore function works. E.g., you can compare the files that your solution recovered with the ones it backed up. This practice will prevent data loss.
Introduce Data Retention Policy
Data Retention Policy will help you identify types of data that need to be retained for a long period and those that can be eliminated after some time. It will keep your backups organized and free of unnecessary files.
Assign Admins Responsible for Backup Management
Automated backups still require the person to set up and control their performance. The good news is SMBs do not need an employee that exclusively performs this task. For example, Google Workspace Admins also perform SpinOne backup administration tasks. Because SpinOne has a great UI/UX, managing the backup is easy.
What is backup management software?
Backup management software is a solution that enables companies to not only perform regular backups but also analyze the stored data and organize it in accordance with their data retention policies.
Simplify backup management with SpinOne
SpinOne is a data protection platform that has backup and restore functionality, ransomware protection, DLPs, and risky app management. For companies that do not require extensive data protection, Spin offers a separate backup solution. Let’s take a look at how SpinOne can help you manage your backup better:
- Automated backups once or thrice a day.
- Manual backup functionality.
- You can restore a single data record from a certain point in time.
- Full visibility of your backup versions.
- Unlimited backup storage.
- Easy data entry search.
- The retention of file hierarchy upon recovery.
- Download backup to comply with the 3-2-1 rule.