Backup is something that every business should do.
Whilst every business says that they do have a backup plan in place… the reality is that many don’t. I find that they are either backing up to multiple external hard drives or even worse:
Backing up to a single external hard drive which they claim to be taking off-site daily.
There’s a multitude of reasons why this a big mistake that carries major risk to both your data and business continuity. Here’s the top 5 reasons:
Mistake #1: No Automation. Hence, No Consistency.
“PICNIC” is an amusing IT acronym which means, “Problem In Chair, Not In Computer”.”
In other words, human error!
When the backup task is left to an employee for actioning manually, various errors tend to creep in. One of the most critical is a lack of consistency in backups.
For example, the designated backup specialist may forget to run the backup entirely, forget the hard drive at home since he took it off-site the day before, or he might be working remotely due to lockdown. And if he resigns or gets fired, so too does the backup process.
Mistake #2: There is No Data Verification.
Errors can arise when data is migrated from one source to another (such as from your server to the external hard drive). These migration errors could change data values or corrupt files entirely.
A data verification process is thus imperative to ensure that your backup data is exactly the same as the original.
The problem with backups to external hard drives is that there is no daily verification taking place.
The only time backups are verified is when your business experiences a data loss scenario, and you need to restore your data very urgently. It’s only at that critical juncture that you discover your critical information has been corrupted (and thus practically useless) since who-knows-when.
Mistake #3: Backups Are Overwritten.
In most cases, the backup process is overwriting the previous days backup.
This means that if there is any sort of corruption in the current data, you are overwriting good data with corrupt data.
If the PC / Server that you are plugged into is infected with something like ransomware, chances are that your external hard drive will be also be infected the minute it’s plugged in (and vice versa).
A corrupted and/or virus infected backup gives your business very bleak options of recovery should data loss strike.
Mistake #4: Issues Caused by Improper Ejection.
Files can become corrupt by not properly ejecting the hard drive from the operating system.
This might be caused by human error, e.g., by forgetting to choose the “Safely Remove Hardware” option before unplugging in Windows 10. Or it might be caused due to a power failure during backup. Along with your data, the hard drive itself may also be corrupted beyond repair.
Mistake #5: External Hard drives Are Naturally Unreliable.
External hard drives are known to be unreliable because of their intricate mechanical parts. You can lose all your data by simply dropping the drive, during high humidity, moisture, exposure to smoke, and in some cases, they simply stop working due to manufacturing defects.
The average lifespan of an external hard drive is just 3-5 years. Thereafter, mechanical failure becomes a serious concern.
Here’s How You Should Backup: The 3-2-1 Backup Rule
At the most basic level, your backup plan should be automated. Never leave such a critical component of business continuity and disaster recovery to the risk of human error.
At the second level, implement the 3-2-1 Backup Rule across your business ICT infrastructure. This simply means that:
- (Three) Maintain 3 copies of your information at all times. This will be the main primary copy and two backup copies.
- (Two) Backup copies should be stored in 2 different types of storage media. For example, one backup stored in magnetic tape and another backup stored in the cloud.
- (One) At least one 1 backup copy should be stored off-site. For example, in the cloud.
And finally, advanced data verification, advanced data validation, and rapid recovery is an important aspect of the solution.
Systems fail, natural disasters happen and people make mistakes.
A solid backup plan is essential to business continuity. Afterall, backup is your last line of defence against any successful breach, e.g., ransomware. Should ransomware penetrate all your defences you can simply ignore the ransom and restore from your backups instead.
iSite Computers is Here to Help
Still backing up to an external hard drive in your business?
Unsure if your backups are automated, verified, and secure?
iSite Computers is here to help. Established in 2008, we’ve been working with small to medium-sized businesses in South Africa with implementing solid data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity solutions.
Our team of experts are here to help you take the first step towards refining your business backup strategy. Contact us today to a book a free 30-minute consultation.