Data Backup: Types & Best Practices

What is data backup?

Data backup has two meanings:

  1. the process of copying the information stored in your digital ecosystem;
  2. the copy of your data stored on-prem or on a remote location.

The main goal of data backup is to preserve your information and recover it in case your original data is corrupted or lost. In addition to that, backup is an essential part of data loss prevention and data retention.

Types of data backup

By location of source files:

  • On-prem (PCs, mobile devices)
  • Cloud (Google Workspace, Microsoft Web Office)

By location of backup:

By automation level:

  • Manual
  • Semi-automated
  • Automated

By executor:

  • In-house, e.g., employees are forced to make a backup
  • Third-party, e.g., a special tool backs up data

By the scope of data backed up:

  • Full – the copy of all the data at a company’s disposal;
  • Partial backup makes the full copy of data for the first time and then only copies the changes to files that were made:
    • since the first (full) backup – Differential 
    • since the last backup – Incremental 
  • Mixed – includes both full and partial backups.

By the recovery:

    • The volume of data restored:
  • Entire
    • Granular restores only particular files or folders.
  • Point-in-time recovers data from a certain time in the past.

The purposes of data backup

1. Compliance, including accounting and audit

The law regulates that some companies must store certain types of data for a certain period of time. For example, Universities should retain information pertaining to their students for years after a person’s graduation.

2. Business continuity

In case of data loss or corruption, the backup will enable your company to carry out business operations without disruption. For example, if ransomware infects your cloud drive, rather than hire a decryptor or pay a ransom, you can continue working.

3. Cost-saving

Data loss and the related downtime will require additional expenses that most companies don’t have.

4. Client relations

It is essential to retain all data pertaining to clients, including the agreements, the project plans, the communications, the files, etc. In case of discrepancies, this data can be of great help.

5. Business analysis

Many companies use historical data to analyze business activities, look for correlations, make assumptions, and predictions.

In addition to that, the backup can be a remedy for the following problems:

  1. Data loss or corruption as a result of:
  1. Interruption of business operations due to the outage on-prem or in cloud drives.
  2. High costs of data retention on cloud drives.

Data backup best practices:

  1. Backup should be regular, at least once a day for a business
  2. 3-2-1 Rule: make three copies of your data on 2 different media. Keep one copy on a remote location (e.g., on a cloud drive);
  3. Use tools that enable you to conduct regular automated backup, save previous versions and file hierarchy;
  4. Don’t use cloud drives that enable file editing like Microsoft Drive as backups;
  5. Consider retention rules for data.

Learn more about the best backup practices.


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