Top tips for businesses on World Backup Day

Today (Thursday 31 March) is World Backup Day, an apt opportunity for your business to ensure its data is sufficiently safeguarded.

Backup methods are constantly changing and businesses face a constant battle against obsolescence. It seems like just yesterday the floppy disk appeared revolutionary but now finds itself in the abyss. Businesses must always be forward looking as the consequences of not doing so can be bleak.

I urge companies to see this calendar date as an invitation to take stock and assess their approach to backing up data. Here are top tips to consider:

Ensure you know what you are backing up and why

Be vigilant – if you don’t need data, then why are you keeping it at all? Take control of your data and manage it effectively, so you’re only backing up what you know is necessary. Too often people back up everything and never question why the data is there in the first place.

Effectively structure your data so you know where it is

If you need to search for an item from a backup, the chances are there is a problem and it is essential to restore what you need as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Test, test, test again

You don’t want to find out that there’s a problem with your backup procedure when you actually need it. Make sure information will restore with regular testing, especially if you introduce new software or hardware. Let relevant colleagues know passwords and locale for retrieving documents and data.

If backing up online, do you know where your data is kept?

And how you’d get it back if the supplier went out of business? Can your local connectivity cope with any extra demand in a worst case scenario (Even if you do have the servers configured to put the data on)?

What about your physical backup?

Ensure physical backups are kept in a fireproof safe or off-site in suitable, secure premises.

Is data 'hidden' on local devices or online services?

Spend time identifying where users put data - you may be surprised to discover it’s not where you think it is or should be.

Involve colleagues in setting up and reviewing procedures

And include them in testing. They may have a misconception of what data is being backed up or assume you can simply get it back in hours rather than days. Better to avoid surprises when the pressure is on.

These are just a few tips for keeping your business data backed up; however you do so, ensure you keep it secure and easily accessible and actionable when necessary.

John Culkin, Information Management Director, Crown Records Management