Backing up without a strategy, or with an ineffective strategy, is likely to generate backups that don’t protect your business. After all, the point of backups isn’t to create the backup; it’s to create a copy of data that your business can restore from when the primary copy is damaged or unavailable. Creating a backup strategy to meet that goal requires identifying key backup concerns and selecting appropriate backup technologies.
Critical Factors in Developing Backup Strategies
When you start thinking about your backup strategy, keep these considerations in mind. You’ll need to balance these factors to come up with a strategy that truly protects your business.
- Cost. Like everything else, backups cost money. You may have to buy hardware and software, pay for a maintenance agreement, and train your staff.
- Backup location. Today, many default their backups to the cloud. However, you should still consider potentially keeping a copy of your data in another location as well. Cloud outages are rare but do happen.
- Backup method. You can choose from different kinds of backups. Each backup method requires a different amount of storage, impacting costs, and a different amount of time, impacting both the length of the backup procedure and the length of the recovery procedure.
- Backup (and recovery) flexibility. When creating backups, you generally want to backup everything, but that’s not true for recovery. Recovery needs to be able to scale from restoring a single file to restoring an entire server.
- Backup schedule. Your backups should be automated and run on a schedule, not rely on someone remembering to execute them manually. They should be scheduled to run frequently enough that you’ll capture data that changes often as well as data that changes rarely. They should be scheduled around production workflow needs. Your recovery point objective and recovery time objective come into play here; note those targets shouldn’t be global but should be tailored to the needs of each system. Your backup schedule may be unique to each system as well
- Scalable. You can expect your data to grow and your backup needs to grow along with it. Your backup process should be able to handle expected volumes of new data. You should have a process that ensures new servers, applications, and data stores are added to your backups.
- Backup security. Backups need to be accessible when needed, but they shouldn’t be accessible by just anyone. Making sure backups are safe from tampering is vital to protect your business.