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How to Build an Online Storage and Backup Strategy for Small Business

Data. Such a short yet very powerful word in the business language. Modern entrepreneurs, organizations, and enterprises rely on data to grow their business. They use it to understand customer behavior, improve or develop products, create an effective marketing strategy, so on and so forth.

Data is the lifeblood of every existing company that losing it could mean losing their business. 

Unfortunately, records are never easy to keep just as they are hard to manage. Statistics reveal that 60% of companies that experience data loss will shut down in 6 months. Terrifying, isn’t it?

There are many reasons why you could lose your most precious business data. Everything from natural calamities and fires to hacking, system errors, hardware and software issues, etc. could be the culprit. Thus, creating a storage and backup strategy should be something you should prioritize.

What’s cloud and why go with it?

A cloud solution for data backup and storage may seem like too much for a small enterprise but actually, it’s the best way forward. 

What is a cloud system? Many people think that cloud systems are the same with online tools like Google Drive or Dropbox where you ‘save’ your files online and retrieve it from there anywhere and anytime.

However, these platforms don’t protect your data or system files. They are mainly used for collaborations. A cloud backup is built on IT infrastructure and supporting service completely managed by a vendor. It often includes disaster recovery solutions and sometimes, server management.

Here’s how you can build online storage and backup:

Determine What Needs to be Backed up

Ideally, you should have a backup for everything. These include customer data, spreadsheets, word processing documents, and other files like photos, emails, videos, etc. Start by organizing your files and determining which ones cannot be replaced easily, such as customer information. 

Moreover, your data backup and recovery plan will greatly depend on your budget and the volume of data you wish to protect. For example, businesses with modest data needs and a low budget can benefit from direct-attached storage (DAS) devices that are connected directly to a PC or server. On the other hand, companies with substantial storage needs are better off with network-attached storage (NAS) solution which connects directly to the network. 

Guard Your Financial Data

Perhaps the most important type of data you need to secure is your financial files. These include documents pertaining to your company assets, liabilities, equity, expenses, cash flow, tax returns, etc. Your data storage system should include business loans like cash advances, investment portfolios, annual financial reports, and many others. 

For financial data, it’s best to use encryption for optimal security. Encrypting files allow you to securely send or receive confidential information on the internet.

Choose a Storage and Backup Platform

So many data backup and storage tools are available in the market. They vary in coverage, features, and capabilities. SAP users have an extensive array of options. But rather than going into every storage and backup technology there is in the world, it’s better to evaluate the type of service and coverage your small business needs. For example, cloud storage can be classified into the following categories:

  • Cloud storage for files – if you have employees working remotely, you need a system that enables file syncing and sharing. A platform that acts as a “single source of truth” for your business files.
  • Cloud storage for objects – if you’re analyzing big sets of data on a regular basis, you need a solution that provides storage for objects, not just files.
  • Cloud storage for backup – if you have files from different sources, you need a backup system that could restore all your files and documents quickly and easily. 

Determine Your Recovery Objectives and Process

It’s also a must for every company to create a clear process of how data recovery should take place. For instance, certain parameters should be set. Among the most important ones are the recovery time objective (RTO) or the amount of time to be spent on the process and recovery point objective (RPO) which suggests the amount of data loss. This will ensure that your data recovery process, tools, and resources to address your business needs. You may have additional objectives, such as geographical restore objectives where you can determine a specific recovery data center location.

Create an Effective Data Backup Plan

You’ll never know when disasters or mishaps take place. Creating a data backup process is the best way to protect your company files. Make sure you’re using strong passwords for all your applications, email accounts, and software programs. Backup and archive your files on a regular basis. Remember, you can never have too much data to backup!

Protect Critical Data

Create two full copies in separate physical devices for your most important data. A third copy should also be created, and preferably kept offline at another location. This will allow you to continue doing business even with the complete loss of one data set. 

Stay in Compliance

Lastly, make sure that your cloud service provider understands their role in keeping your company data secure. incorporate regulatory compliance into your SLAs. Carefully review user access, how secure their process is, and how quickly your provider can activate user accounts in the failover environment. Also, look for a provider that has a simple and efficient data recovery process and keeps it affordable.

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  • I have always believed that cloud storage is a less reliable way to protect your information (hackers constantly find weaknesses in databases). Or am I not right? Overall a very interesting article, thank you, Ben!