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Category Archives: Data Backup

Six Ways Backups and Data Recovery Can Save Your Business (Part 2)

Data recovery on keyboard

Your business deserves a life line

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on backups and data recovery as an incredibly versatile set of solutions. The beauty of building a layered and comprehensive set of backups with smooth recovery procedures is the ability to recover from almost any setback that even remotely relates to your files. Last time we talked about a few of the often unconsidered risks to your files like failed software updates, failed services, and employee mistakes. These less flashy but far more common risks can put any file system at risk if there’s no way to restore mistakes and failed processes. Backups allow you to restore files back to a previous whole and working state. Automated backups can also help you track down exactly when and why a file corrupted or was changed. Let’s pick up where we left off at how backups can be used to quickly recover from and completely shrug off ransomware attacks.

4. Ransomware Attacks
The current generation of hackers have a personal favorite form of attack that not only ruins your day but also has a chance of getting them paid. You’ve probably heard of ransomware in the recent news because it has been used to terrorize a large section of the computer-using population world-wide. While the exact programs evolve like the yearly flu, the method involves infecting your network, maliciously encrypting every file, then demanding ransom payment in crypto-currency. Rather than paying them or losing your files, you can simply wipe the network and implement your data recovery procedures from a recent complete backup. This method also works for almost any other kind of malicious virus, spyware, Trojan, or malware attack.

5. Programming Errors
When programmers and the IT department make mistakes, the consequences often have a much greater effect than the mistakes of a single employee on their personal system. In many cases, a change to the way the company network or proprietary programs work can cause an error left undetected for days or weeks at a time. Here is where having a collection of regular backups is incredibly helpful. No matter how far back the error was made, a good data recovery system can restore the system to its pristine state before the oversight, allowing your team to fix the problem without a massive loss of data.

6. Device Failure
No matter how convenient remote servers and huge hard drives are, there is one final fact about computing that many people forget. Computers are physical objects and data is stored on disks that can break, fry, melt, warp, scratch, or otherwise become unreadable and unusable. While there are extensive recovery procedures that can sometimes extract data from dead equipment, you can be back to work almost instantly by loading a recent backup onto a new machine and reinstalling it into the company network in the old computer’s place.
The data used, processed, and stored by your company is important for continued functioning and any loss of data can set you back by days, months, or even permanently depending on the value and replicability of the data. Fortunately, there’s no need to risk losing your valuable digital assets, because even software installations and settings configurations can be saved. With a complete data recovery plan, you can restore a single document from backup or reinstall an entire computer after a malware attack, and clone a computer with all its data for new team members. Cloud-hosted backups are an important part of a comprehensive business continuity plan as they can be used both for asynchronous disaster recovery and for hot-loading a second environment while the first is repaired.

For more information on backups and cybersecurity, contact us today!

Six Ways Backups and Data Recovery Can Save Your Business (Part 1)

Backups and Data Recovery concept on laptop with business man drinking coffee

Having a plan is crucial to business survival

Data loss in the business world is not something to take lightly. Whether you save things on the cloud, on local company servers, or in personal devices, data is everything to a modern business. Every company has an impressive number of files to defend ranging from your own financial records to the regulation-protected personal information of your clients. Working with computers makes this vital data easy to collect, store, manage, and analyze but it also makes it more accessible and easier to destroy than paper documents. Fortunately, you can make sure your data is safe from both mistakes and attacks the same way you would with paperwork: with backups. When considering your backup and data recovery plan, it may help to think about all the things you might have to recover from. Your business needs a comprehensive business continuity plan is ideal and cloud-hosted backups are an important part of any contingency plan because they can help your business recover and survive through different kinds of disaster.

1. Failed Software Updates

Most businesses use some combination of business management software through which they run almost all internal data. An ERP to manage your assets and inventory, a CRM to store and track all your client and sales data, and your finance department’s preference of economic software all hold vital proprietary and personal information that is necessary for the company to continue functioning. You rely on this software to store your data and make sure to update regularly. However, sometimes an update goes sideways, causing partial or complete corruption of the data stored by the program. Instead of trying desperately to piece together the garbled database entries, a backup can simply bring back the program and all its data to its pre-updated state.

2. Loss of Service

Does your business rely on B2B SaaS services? If so, consider how much are you trusting them to keep important company data safe. Even if they are entirely reliable and trustworthy business partners, it’s a risk to put the responsibility for your data security on anyone else because you never know when the other company might face some massive interruption of service or loss of the data they store. While their services may be incredibly valuable to you, make sure that any important data being stored by another company is also backed up somewhere safe that you have control over. This way, if you suddenly lose access to your B2B services, your company can access its data and serve its own needs until your business partner gets back on their feet.

3. Your Own Mistakes

No long-term computer user has gone through the years completely mistake-free. We’ve all typed something in incorrectly, mis-clicked a menu-button, and slipped up right before an auto-save. Many of us have accidentally hit ‘save’ at the wrong moment or inadvertently copy-pasted over something that does not have an ‘undo’ function. In that moment of panic as you realize that important data has been permanently altered in error, having a complete recent backup is a huge relief. With a comprehensive data recovery system, you can quickly access the file you accidentally altered and be back to work in minutes instead of scrambling for a way to revert your changes.

A good backup and recovery plan is an incredibly important aspect of modern business. Everything from minor employee mistakes to hacker-inflicted destruction can be quickly and smoothly recovered from with the right layered backups and practiced recovery plans. Of course, this is only the first half of our two-part article. Join us for part two next time and we’ll talk about how backups can also help you in the face of ransomware, bugs, and device failures! For more information about how to build the right backups infrastructure for your business, contact us today!

The Depths of Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster Recovery Plan shown on a dart board next to a laptop

Disaster Recovery Plan is key to your business success.

Data disaster recovery is something that every business should be prepared for. Even if your company is never attacked by a hacker or has to face a ransomware system-wipe, it’s important to have a plan in case of pure technical failures and mistakes.  You, at the very least, want version backed up version control for your central systems so that a new employee can’t lose a client’s information by accidentally zeroing the values. The ability to retrieve active data from a day or a week ago is undeniably useful. Of course, backing up your CRM and financial data on a weekly basis is only scratching the surface your disaster recovery depth potential. In an ideal recovery, you would be able to completely factory-reset every computer and device on the company network and reinstall your infrastructure, programs, and data all from a single comprehensive backup kept on the cloud so that local disasters can’t reach it.

Of course, the most practical way to store your backups is based on how frequently they’ll need to be updated or accessed. Things like your operating systems, system configurations, and program installations will only need to be changed when your IT team changes the infrastructure. Then there are big databases including things like client information and inventory that will be accessed and updated all the time. These should have at least recent version control recovery available along with a few periodic older backups. Finally, there are the items you want incredibly tight control over and track every single change along with who made it.

Surface Changes

Active projects, customer service conversation, and anything having to do with money needs to be tracked much more closely than normal backup procedures account for. This is where finely tuned version control comes in. Whether it’s for security or simple collaborative convenience, the most surface-level form of backup are fast-paced changes, sometimes hundreds a day, and often it’s as important to know who made a change as the change itself. These detailed ‘saves’ of your data can be finalized at, say, midnight every night and archived after a week or two.

Document Management Software

While it’s true that digital documents like forms and contracts are technically data, there is a functional difference between your business data and your online documents. For these, you want a high-quality document management system or DMS for short. While your best bet is a system made specifically for the needs of your industry, Google Docs is a good example of a basic DMS. More specialized versions will have faster and more convenient mobile and online access, sorting, permissions, and even digital signature authorization for quick and easy approvals between clients and business partners.

Database Backups

The most standard form of backup is the sort that is taken on schedule, archived on schedule, and almost never thought about. For most people, this is their favorite kind of backup because it can take care of itself with a simple automated program directed at the files you want saved. The easiest thing to back up are databases like the sort that hold customer login data, account information, sales histories, department budget reports, and so on. With an easy to set up backup system, you can allow each authorized employee to designate the files they’d like backed up regularly every night, week, or month.

The purpose of these backups is the core of your restoration plan. In theory, as long as you have your databases and active files backed up, you will be able to restore your business data infrastructure from a complete reinstall of all your enterprise management software on new or factory reset computers with a minimal amount of lost data.

The Deep Infrastructure Backup

Every time you think you have a complete recovery backup plan, remember that technology and achievement rely on innovation. Ask yourself how it could be better, how recovery could be faster, and how you can ensure that no data is lost or damaged in the recovery. One important answer to this question is an infrastructure backup. Normal backups assume that you may have to reinstall your operating system and programs but that’s okay, right? After all, these should all be readily available to you. The problems is if you had special configuration settings to make your settings or automations run correctly, these are harder to get back into place in a timely manner and there’s a possibility your IT team doesn’t have notes on all the changes that will need to be made.

A neat trick to ensure that your recovery is fast and efficient is to do a periodic deep backup of any system that has custom settings or that you want to be brought back online quickly in order to get your employees back in the saddle even before the full recovery is complete. Besides your central systems and network setup, if you have large sets of computers that all run the same setup like customer service workstations, you can take a single backup and restore all the endpoints from there. Just make sure you update your deep backups every time the infrastructure or configurations change.

Recovering After a Disaster

The best thing about having a truly comprehensive backup and recovery plan is that you can theoretically recover every important system in the company quick enough to get your employees back online and your business humming again within hours of a disaster or setup afterward. Ransomware, for instance, that infects your entire network can be effectively eradicated with a full factory reset and a reinstall from the deep backup to the databases right up to the most recent surface changes. For more advice and news on backups and recovery, contact us today!

Archives are Great, Backups are Better (Part 2)