Backups are one of those strategies that SMBs aren’t sure how to handle. First, there’s the confusion over what exactly constitutes a backup, and then there is the fallacy that SMBs don’t have anything of value or even any reason, to back up. As a result, the solution is often no backup at all.
The problem is, the no-backup strategy option is a bad one for SMBs. Even the loss of a few dozen files can be expensive. According to the Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations report, companies that reported data loss of less than 100 files still faced costs of $18,120 to $35,730. Is that a bill your SMB can really afford to pay?
Backups Versus Archive
One problem that plagues SMBs is a misconception about what constitutes a backup. Many SMBs assume that backup means creating a single copy of their data in a remote (or removable) location is a proper backup. It’s not. That’s an archive, which is a single copy of data that is kept for a long period. Backups and archives have different functions.
To create viable backups, SMBs should have a minimum of two copies of their data, stored in a location away from the office. After all, a backup that’s stored on a disk or portable drive that’s sitting next to the server is of no use to you if the server room catches fire. Instead, backups should be stored off-premises. For most SMBs, this means creating a copy of data that’s on a hard drive and a copy that’s stored in the cloud.
The second requirement for a viable backup is that it needs to be updated regularly. Creating a full backup copy of your data once or twice a year is of no value. If a disaster happens (that includes data corruption from a virus or even human error), what happens to all the data that your company has created in the months since the previous backup? A viable backup is updated every few days to ensure the most recent data is included in in the backup.
What Causes Data Loss?
Even understanding the difference between an archive and backup isn’t enough if you don’t understand the ways in which your data can be lost. The attitude among many SMBs is, “I don’t have any data of value, what do I have to worry about?” That’s the wrong attitude to take.
Aside from SMBs being an increasingly attractive target for hackers and other criminals that was access to your network and your company data, there are myriad reasons that data can be lost. For example:
- Hardware failures: It’s not a question of if it happens; it’s a question of when. A piece of hardware will fail. It may be a computer or a server, but it’s going to happen. And if you don’t have a viable backup, everything on that machine will be lost with it.
- Human error: People are unpredictable and they make mistakes. Criminals make it very attractive for employees to interfere with company networks and data stores. And employees are becoming increasingly susceptible to the bribes that are offered for that access. The other side of that is plain incompetence. How would your SMB be impacted if someone accidentally corrupted your server?
- Software errors: Whether it’s a glitch in the software or an intentional software corruption, the more pieces of software your SMB relies on, the more likely you are to lose some data.
- Malware: Viruses, ransomware, Trojans, and other types of malware can wipe or corrupt some or all of the data on your network. If you lost all your customer data, how would that impact your business?
- Natural disasters and catastrophes: Your SMB may not geographically reside in an area that’s prone to natural disasters, but catastrophes are just as dangerous, and often overlooked. If a fire destroyed your server tomorrow, could you recover all the data that’s lost?
Why SMBs Should Have Data Backups
The theory that SMBs don’t need data backups is one of the most damaging beliefs those businesses fall prey to. In truth, businesses that experience a data loss suffer much more than monetary loses. Estimates on the exact monetary costs vary widely from a few thousand dollars per instance to hundreds of thousands. Aside from the direct loss of revenue, SMBs can expect reduced opportunity, customer disapproval and distrust, and potential legal consequences. Aside from the losses, there are two additional reasons to have data backups:
- With a backup, you always have a clean, secure copy of your data. I it ever becomes necessary to restore the data, these are benefits you’ll be thankful for.
- Data backups are your insurance against financial loss. Ransomware is a great example. If you’re victimized by ransomware and you have a clean copy of your data backed up to an offsite location, then you can simply restore from that backup instead of paying the ransom required to release access to your data.
If you own a business, you have data. It’s valuable data that keeps your business moving forward. And if you have data, you’re at risk. How a data loss happens isn’t as important as the fact that it will happen, and when it does, how prepared you are will determine how well you recover. It can be a fast, simple process or it can be a nightmare full of headaches and frustrations. You get to choose.
If your choice is the fast, simple route contact Advanced Network Solutions. One of our IT professionals is prepared to help you design a backup solution that will ensure your business can recover quickly when the inevitable happens.