A beginner’s guide to data backup

If your system went down or was infected with malicious software, could your business recover? The answer strongly depends on whether your data has been backed up reliably.

A backup is a secondary copy of your important data and documents. If you’re relying on the cloud storage offered by Google or Microsoft, we hate to break it to you, but it isn’t as secure as you may think. 

Small businesses need to have reliable offsite backup, along with backup and recovery oversight, to ensure continuity and fast recovery in case of data loss.



What is SaaS backup?

SaaS (Software as a Service) tools, such as Google Drive and Microsoft 365, back up your data in the cloud. While this is a key step in securing your online data, it’s not enough. 


There’s a common misconception that the backups provided by tools like Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive are enough to safeguard your valuable business data. You only need to read Microsoft’s Service Agreement to discover that they’re not. It reads: “All online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result.” In fact, some people claim that Microsoft 365 doesn’t back up at all. 


This presents a serious risk for those relying solely on cloud backups. If the worst should happen and your online service goes down, your priceless data could be lost, and your SaaS provider won’t necessarily be able to recover it for you. 


This is why it’s important to have offsite backup beyond your SaaS cloud storage. Offsite data backups provide a safety net you can rely on.



How does data loss happen?

There are a number of threats to your data, and each one presents a significant risk to the safety of your business. Here are just a few to be aware of.



Human and staff error

It’s an unfortunate reality that much data loss is the result of simple human error. Technology evolves at a rapid pace—so quickly that it’s easy for your less tech-savvy employees to fall behind. Without proper training, they can forget to follow protocols and fall for phishing scams that result in opening a bad email link or attachment, or use an obvious password that leaves your data vulnerable to hackers. 




Cyberattacks have been a pervasive threat since the dawn of the internet. 2020 saw the biggest rise in cyberattacks yet, primarily because the pandemic forced so many business operations to move online before proper security was in place. No business is too small to be a target of cybercriminals, and just one cyberattack could mean the end of your business. As CNBC reports, cyberattacks can cost the average small business upwards of $200,000



Hardware failure  

There’s always the risk that your physical machinery will be lost or broken. This could result from a natural disaster, fire, theft, aging equipment, or a range of other possibilities that cause the loss of your data. 



Malware presents a clear and present danger to your business’s data security. It often infects your system through social engineering attacks like phishing, where a cybercriminal sends an email posing as a trusted contact, such as a business partner. The purpose is to trick the recipient into opening a malicious email attachment or link. Doing so unleashes malware into your system that allows cybercriminals to gain access to your valuable business data and either hold it hostage (ransomware) or sell it on the dark web. 


💻  Learn more about social engineering schemes like phishing and ransomware.



How to secure your business data

From upping your cybersecurity to implementing rigorous backup management, there are numerous ways you can protect your business from a data loss disaster. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.



Back up user data in several locations

SaaS backup solutions are key to the safety of your online data but, as we’ve covered, there can be failures with the restoration of your data when you rely on inbuilt solutions. Instead of placing all your eggs in one basket, you should replicate backups to a place that’s NOT accessible to your local network. As well as creating onsite backups on local storage devices such as hard drives, you should enforce an offsite backup solution, where your data is stored in a different physical location to your organization.  



Encrypt your data

Encryption means making your data unreadable by unauthorized users. With encrypted data, even if a cybercriminal hacks into your system and gains access to your private information, they won’t be able to use it. All of your data will appear as scrambled ciphertext, and the only way to translate it will be with the decryption key that you possess. 


Use strong, unique passwords

Using common, obvious passwords like “password,” “123456,” and “qwerty,” is like leaving a welcome mat out for cybercriminals. A password should always be 12 characters or more and utilize mixed character types. 


Even if you do use a strong password, reusing it on more than one account also threatens your online safety. If one of your accounts is hacked and the password is exposed, it can be used to break into every other account with that password. Use a strong, randomized password for each of your different logins and a reliable password manager to keep track of them all.



Use Multi-Factor Authentication

No matter how strong your password is, breached sites and phishing scams can still put them at risk of being stolen. That’s why you should enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) across your employees’ accounts. 


MFA secures your online accounts by demanding proof, beyond your password, that you are the authorized user. Examples include push notifications or one-time passcodes (OTP) sent to your mobile or email, and biometric identification like fingerprint scanning.



Continually test the backups

Data backup and recovery aren’t set-and-forget processes. They must be tested regularly to ensure they’re reliable. This requires someone to take ownership. While you could assign this task to a tech-savvy employee, it’s important to consider how this will distract from their regular duties. You must also be certain that they know how to restore the backups in case the worst happens. The alternative is to hire an external expert to manage your backup processes for you. 



Consult a cybersecurity firm

Data security cannot be achieved with off-the-shelf products. You need a customized solution that meets your specific requirements. And as mentioned above, your offsite backup solution needs management to ensure reliability. If you’re not confident that your business is capable of implementing its own backup solution, you should consult an expert. A Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) will have the skills and tools at its disposal that guarantee the safety of your data.



Secure your data backup today

If you’re seeking an expert to help with data backup and recovery, Jasco Technology can help. We have our own storage infrastructure that encrypts backups at your site and then uploads it to our secure system. 


Our average client has 3TB of data, which would take days to restore on a typical small-business network. However, with our cloud backup storage, recovery time is MUCH faster than industry standards. 


With us, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your data is secure, and, should the worst happen, we’ll get your data recovered in no time so you can get back to what you do best.


Toughen up your data backup system today; get in touch with Jasco for a 20-minute initial consultation. 

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