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Everybody needs backups in place – but a bad backup strategy can make all your efforts nearly useless when the time comes to rely on them.

That’s where a good data backup strategy comes into play – which is something every small-and-medium-sized business needs. Creating that strategy, however, may be daunting for business leaders without a solid IT background.

Lucky for businesses of all sizes, creating a backup strategy is less rocket science, and more common sense. Here are a few steps to take to ensure your strategy keeps everything running smoothly.

Take Stock of Your Backup Requirements

Step one of any problem solving situation is to first understand the issue at hand – and creating a backup strategy is no different.

Why do you need to back up your data? Is it for safekeeping, to sort through later, or are you worried about cyberattacks? Do you have a budget for this plan? Is your team well-equipped to deal with the amount of data you must handle, or are you going to need outside help? And finally, what kind of data are you going to be backing up?

Understanding your organization’s specific needs for a data backup strategy from step one is going to help make the process as easy – and effective – as possible, meaning that when you do need to access backed-up data, it’s readily accessible and there will be fewer headaches in a time of crisis.

Understand Backup vs. Archive

Now that you have a decent idea of what you’d like, it’s time to think more critically about how you want to handle the data you want set aside.

This is where the backup vs. archive debate comes into play, though it’s not really a debate – a good strategy is going to employ both methods for successful data safety.

In short, they differ by how you want to later access the data. Archiving data is like setting it aside in a library – you’re categorizing the data in a manner that later on, if you need to look up a single record from a customer or a specific piece of data from a month year’s prior, you can easily access these small, singular points of information.

If an archive is like a library, a backup is like a screen shot – it’s for emergencies or when the system goes down and is there to get all your currently used data back into action after a mishap or cyber-attack. Traditional data backups don’t have the categorizing or search functionalities of an archive, but archives aren’t built to get all your data back quickly.

A good strategy has both – the old data you won’t be needing is archived, and data backups are regularly run to ensure business continuity if a disaster happened the following day.

Cloud or Physical Backup?

This goes for archives too – but is a critical question for business leaders in how they want to handle their data backups.

Traditionally, data backup programs were commonly held onsite due to connectivity or price restrictions. It was also seen as secure, since the data is never shared over a network. However, with the improvement and commoditization of cloud computing, more organizations than ever are relying on cloud systems for their entire backups.

Cloud is no longer seen as an unsafe option, and the prices of cloud computing for data backups are steadily dropping. Plus, one of the best benefits of cloud backups is the threat of natural disaster to your organization. If a physical disaster happens at your headquarters, destroying everything inside, including your physical backups, you’re out of luck – at least with cloud, that data is stored safely somewhere offsite, hopefully hundreds or thousands of miles away from the disaster that befell your organization.

Find a Professional

Is all of this seeming like a bit much? You’re not alone – most small and medium sized businesses look for outside help when it comes to creating and managing an effective data backup strategy, and we’re here to help.

Our team at NENS have the experience and expertise needed to create, implement, and manage an effective data backup and archiving strategy for your business. Give us a call today to learn more about our services and how we can help your organization create and effective and lasting backup strategy to keep your sensitive data safe.

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