Tried-and-tested data backup strategies for SMBs

Tried-and-tested data backup strategies for SMBs

Modern small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like yours rely on data more than ever, and a single ransomware or phishing attack can cripple your operations by compromising, stealing, or withholding your information. This is why reliable data backups aren't optional anymore — they're essential for any organization.

Fortunately, there are some proven strategies you can use to back up your SMB’s data securely, efficiently, and cost-effectively:

1. Understand and classify your data

Before implementing detailed backup strategies, it’s vital to know which data you need to protect. Understand the data your business generates and uses day to day, which typically includes customer information, financial records, employee details, intellectual property, and operational data.

Once you get a good grasp of the data your business handles, you can start classifying it based on importance and sensitivity. Not everything requires the strictest safeguards, so determining which data is critical to your operations and which data is less vital will help you prioritize your backup efforts and allocate resources more effectively.

2. Use a mix of on-site and cloud backups

The cloud has been a game-changer for SMBs, offering the same level of scalability and protection used by big companies without the hefty price tag upfront. But while cloud backups are excellent for restoring data after cyberattacks and other emergencies, local backups (such as an external storage device or network-attached storage) let you get things back up and running faster for everyday mishaps.

Combining on-site and cloud backups offers both fast recovery for small incidents and off-site protection from major disasters.

3. Implement the 3-2-1 backup rule

The 3-2-1 rule is a common data backup best practice among businesses of all sizes, ensuring a good ratio of risk mitigation and expenses. This rule states that every organization should:

  • Have at least three copies of data consisting of the original data and two backups.
  • Store those copies on two different media types to protect against various forms of failure. For example, a backup could be stored on an external hard drive and another on a solid-state drive.
  • Maintain at least one backup copy off site, preferably in the cloud. This approach protects against the risk of physical damage (e.g., fire, flooding) affecting both your original data and local backups.

4. Automate backup processes

Backing up data manually is tedious and, more importantly, prone to human error. By contrast, automating your backup processes ensures that critical data is backed up consistently and minimizes the risk of data loss due to oversight. Your data backup solution should therefore include scheduling features that enable you to set up automatic backups at intervals that suit your needs. These intervals could be daily, weekly, or in real time (continuous data protection).

Read also: 6 Reasons you should schedule your backups

5. Test backup systems regularly

Like all complex systems, your backup strategy must be audited regularly to ensure that it's functioning properly and can successfully and quickly restore data when the time comes. Schedule periodic tests at least once a year and every time your IT infrastructure or the data environment undergoes significant changes.

6. Partner with data backup experts

Managing data backups in house can be a burden for SMBs, especially those without dedicated IT staff. They may lack the specialized knowledge or resources to implement robust backup solutions with features such as redundancy, encryption, and automated scheduling.

A managed IT services provider (MSP), on the other hand, has the expertise to navigate the complexities of data backup. They can assess your specific needs, recommend the best solutions, and configure them for optimal security and recovery times. Additionally, MSPs can handle ongoing maintenance and updates, ensuring your backups remain reliable and efficient. This not only lets you focus on your core business initiatives but also gives you peace of mind that your critical data is always protected.

Contact XBASE Technologies for all your SMB data backup needs. We are one of Toronto’s most trusted MSPs, and our data backup specialists are ready to help you craft a reliable and ironclad strategy to keep your SMB’s data secure and recoverable from any threat.