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How to Build an Effective Data Backup Strategy

Until now organizations have seen data protection as a huge cost and want to avoid it when budgets are tight. The key is to balance the risk of data being unavailable with the cost of protecting this data.

Here’s How to Create a Backup Strategy

When you are looking at data protection the first question to ask is…Is your data really protected? According to Gartner’s research predictions, the data volume will grow 800 percent over the next five years, and up to 80 percent of data will be completely unstructured.

As a fact, most of the data resides in laptops, smartphones, desktops, tablets, etc. which is unsecured and probably not protected. We need to protect this data from several risks like an operational recovery is needed whenever a file, application, volume, or system is lost perhaps duet to a human error or a software bug. Disaster recovery is most serious it means restoring operations from or after remote location following a significant event such as a fire, flood, earthquake, power failure, or worse.

Long term retention is needed for the data that has to be kept for an extended period probably for compliance or legal reasons. So how are organizations approaching the challenge of organizing or protecting their data? Traditional backups with snapshots and replication, according to the latest report by Gartner by 2022, more than 80 percent of enterprise data will be stored in scale-out storage systems in enterprise and cloud data centers, up from 40 percent in 2018.

Let’s see what all makes a business’s data backup strategy robust:

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Scrutinizing Data Growth Strategy

Scrutinizing Data Growth Strategy | ZmandaUsually, a lack of knowledge about the data and applications used and budget constraints leads most companies to do inadequate data growth planning.

It’s a bit complicated when it comes to planning for data growth, but again failed to do so can leave a business’s data at risk and may burn a hole in one’s pocket as more and more storage is required.

Every business should ensure that growth projections are accurately planned for, and that data growth is aligned with these projections – as it happens. This step will allow businesses to identify and correct incongruities as and when they occur and avoid outgrowing their storage capability.

The next step for businesses is to make sure that the data storage and backup they are using is scalable. Cloud solutions are perfect for businesses as it offers them the flexibility and scalability to quickly and reasonably scale up or down as needed, without a lump sum investment in storage hardware and solutions.

Aligning Business Requirements to Business Needs

Aligning Business Requirements to Business Needs | ZmandaYou terribly need water, but instead, you get food. Will this suffice your requirement? Definitely no! The same goes for businesses. Within various industries, different businesses have different data requirements based on data importance and regulations. Hence, it’s mandatory that companies ensure that their data backup policies perfectly align with their business requirements.

Businesses can back up their critical data with the help of backup teams or backup solutions. Businesses’ backup teams should ensure that they correctly understand, prioritize, and protect data accordingly by engaging with application owners and users, operational teams, risk and compliance officers, etc. This engagement ensures that priorities and policies are well communicated and aligned.

Backup plans should be reviewed and updated at least every quarter, keeping the shifting prioritization needs of the business in mind. Even the minor changes need to be properly communicated across the business, whether from a backup or business perspective. These reviews ensure that changes are quickly adapted to and adhered to.

Backups need to be tested regularly. A backup that fails or a team that is unable to restore the backup quickly challenges the company’s investment in a backup solution.

Backup Testing

Backup Testing | ZmandaA backup strategy can be considered to be working: if (a) it is tested regularly & (b) it can recover the protected data successfully. Backing up a data successfully is perfect, but, it’s of no use if you cannot restore or recover the same data. As a practice, many organizations seem to assess their backup plan annually, but it is suggested to assess quarterly as this move will lead to a robust and effective backup strategy preferably in line with service pack and software updates.

Engaging with the right service provider for proper analysis of the backup will also play a key role in forming an effective backup strategy. Indeed, conducting test internally is efficient but cannot always be accurate and can be twisted. Appropriate testing of a backup plan usually forms part of a business’s audit process.

Enlisting the aid of an external provider not only eliminates bias but also ensures that all the right procedures, processes, and policies are tested within the parameters of an audit.

Above listed are just a few, many additional best practices can help businesses get the best out of their backup, which includes applying the right security parameters, creating redundancy, and providing proper training to IT staff.

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