Building a successful business has never been an easy undertaking. Every step taken to ensure your business’s survival can also put it in jeopardy. Branching off into the realm of internet transactions and computer-based business management can be an absolutely terrifying prospect for business owners unversed in the intricacies of modern technology and unprepared for the velocity at which this field continuously evolves.

Tentative first steps into this emerging space can yield phenomenal results to the brave and cautious. Unfortunately, you can also crash and burn. The great divide between manageable risk and self-detonation is in the proper employment of data backup principles. If any aspect of your business is to be conducted online or by computer in any notable way, then you’ll need to back it up – a lot.

This necessity can spawn obvious frustrations for non-techie managers and business owners to handle if it is dealt with incorrectly. Don’t take that chance - backup and restore your system as needed. Address this problem head-on by securing a reputable software solution, first. Once you have the programs for the job, follow these simple tips to ensure excellent backups and flawless restorations of your business’s data when and how you need them:

Test Your Data Backup

One of the simplest concepts of good backup practice is often, also, the most overlooked. In a hurry to get their data securely backed up by whatever means are most efficient, some business owners forget to verify the relative effectiveness of their data cloning efforts. If your data can not be used in the event of a catastrophic failure (read: precisely when you need it), then it is completely useless. Wasting money on backup services that yield utterly worthless results is lunacy.

What do you need to do? Your backups should be proven to work properly in the event of a restoration. To test your software, you’ll need to backup and restore a few files. Add a few unimportant files to your business’s main data directory and then delete them once a backup has been made. Now access your back up solution and attempt to restore modified or deleted files. If they successfully restore, then you’re golden.

Use a Single Software Provider

Hasty decisions in the purchasing of software for businesses often make for tedious discrepancies between poorly synched programs – often bought from multiple providers. Essentially, if you can find everything you need being offered by a single provider, you’d do best to go with them as opposed to piecing together a barely-functional hodge-podge of programs from multiple sources. The importance of this lies in the very nature of proprietary software – it is unique. If you try to squeeze two unique programs together to manage something as critical as your business’s vital information and something goes awry, you’ll end up kicking yourself (nobody wants that).

What do you need to do? Avoid creating the computational equivalent of a jigsaw puzzle. You don’t need puzzles and complexity; you need a complete data backup solution built for the task. Anything could go wrong if you were to choose one program for backups and a separate program for recovery. If the two services do not properly merge, then you’ll be left with nothing when an emergency finally presents itself and you desperately need to backup and restore your files (this is exactly what you’re trying to avoid).

No Duplicates

The cost of a good data backup service is notable, but it needn’t be astronomical. This is especially true for those who choose to back their data up primarily to a local hard drive or a collection of hard drives kept on site. Contrary to popular belief, this option is very cost effective if managed correctly. The trick is to avoid storing unnecessary amounts of data whenever possible. Limiting the total number of daily updates your system makes to your backup files to what is strictly necessary is very helpful with resource management. However, simply not amassing the same files repeatedly can lower transference rates and total storage load by a substantial amount.

What do you need to do? For starters, establish a basic file naming structure that can be used company-wide to avoid unneeded confusion. If .PDF files are all named by author initials and date of creation, then the odds of your backup program storing them multiple times drop dramatically. You should also make sure that the settings of your chosen program do not allow for files of the same size, type and name to be saved more than once. This way, when you backup and restore your system, you won’t find yourself wading through needless repetitions of identical files.

No Data is Born Equal

Your files may all be important to you and your business, but chances are good that they are not all of equal importance. The most critical information your business possesses at any given time should be backed up more often than the less-vital material. Your company’s snack menu and employee newsletters, for instance, are not as crucial as the payment information of your entire clientele. 

What do you need to do? Always keep information to be backed up for emergencies in perspective. Ask yourself whether or not the files you specify for regular back up are of the utmost importance. Could your business survive without them?

For a more illustrative approach, try rating files by type on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being critical and 10 being completely unimportant). Exclude anything below 7 or 8 from your regular backups. Limit the frequency of backups made for file types in between 7 and 4. Give maximum priority to files you’ve determined to be worthy of the 1st position on your scale. Aim to backup and restore only the data you feel is absolutely vital to your business.

There are plenty of options to choose from to get your company data backup handled properly. However, some are far more reliable and consistent in their approach while others specialize in the breadth of options they offer. It is a good idea to consider opting for providers who offer more than one method of system backup as well.

Preferably, you should choose a company that can provide both local and cloud backup assistance. This will increase your odds of successfully managing any sudden data crisis your company suffers. Axcient and ProofPoint both offer this vital service to their clients and provide excellent customer support as well. Through the use of Axcient, you can quickly backup your data in fully functional formats – meeting all RTO and RPO requirements. Your data is secured by Axcient and guaranteed to restore in record time whenever you need it. Don’t let your system suffer an irreparable loss of data – choose a strong provider so you can keep pushing forward to a modernized and competitive business model.