Businesses risk data loss as backup is overlooked

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are putting data at risk according to recent research by Buffalo Technology. Worrying results indicate that data backup is being ignored and, as a result, sensitive business and customer information is going astray.

SMEs should pay close attention to their backup procedures and David Kelleher, Communications and Research Analyst at GFI Software explains: “Data is the lifeblood of every organization and a single disk failure could have a serious impact on the business, its operations and customers. The loss of data is something that all companies are concerned about but some, unfortunately, still take risks and do not backup their applications and data. In the event of a systems failure, a business needs to be up and running in the shortest time possible. A business that keeps updated backups of all its data and applications stands a much better chance of recovering information and becoming operational within a reasonable time – depending on the seriousness of the systems failure and so on.”

Buffalo Technology has discovered that 28 per cent of SMEs do not backup company data. When these businesses were asked why this was the case, time (34 per cent), security worries (16 per cent) and not being concerned (14 per cent) were listed as the main reasons. Other small businesses (13 per cent) found complexity a barrier.

However, 46 per cent said that they would backup all their data if the process was automated and 23 per cent said they would if it was quicker and easier. Security and reliability also featured as influential reasons.

Proper backup procedures

For those who don’t have proper backup procedures, David offers the following advice:

1. If you don’t have backups, then start creating them.
2. Make it a habit to backup your applications, configuration files, systems state and data on a REGULAR basis. Having a 20-day old backup is useless. Daily backups are recommended with a full backup at least once a week.
3. Identify by priority what data needs to be backed up, when, how and plan accordingly. Do not forget email. Email contains up to 75% of corporate information. You need to back this data as well.
4. Do not leave your backups on the same machine that you backed up.
5. Keep more than one copy and in separate locations. Better safe than sorry.
6. Make sure that a full copy of your data is easily retrievable in the event of a disaster. Backups should be kept in a safe repository and not in an employee’s bag at home.
7. Always ensure that your data is encrypted when being transferred. If the backup is lost, at least it is useless to those who find it.
8. Test your backups. Use a test system to check that your backups are working fine and that you can recover the data if needed.
9. Do you have a disaster recovery plan? If no, it’s time you drafted one. A basic to-do list with the main processes to recover the data and who is responsible for each step will save you time and provide guidance if something goes wrong.

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