Popular Backup Strategies and Mistakes to Avoid

Backing up data is a vital part of running a business. However, so many neglect to do it. Whatever the reason is, we can help you get started. Or, if you’re already backing up data, take a look at our advice for maintaining your backup strategies.

Innes McLean
April 21, 2021
Top Tips

Backing up data is a vital part of running a business. However, so many neglect to do it. Whatever the reason is, we can help you get started. Or, if you’re already backing up data, take a look at our advice for maintaining your backup strategies.

What is Data Backup?

Data backup is simply storing another copy or record of your digital information on another media. Backups have been around since records began, so to speak.

Nowadays, digital backups are stored on hard drives, network servers and online with cloud storage. For times when data is lost and needs to be recovered, backups can be a lifesaver.

Do I Really Need to Back up?

The importance of backups cannot be overstated. Imagine situations where an original could be lost.

Priceless family photos and memories can be lost forever if not backed up. Records of sales and deeds to property are important in financial and legal disputes. Losing address books can mean losing old connections or potentially new ones too.

When businesses lose data, time and money are also lost as a result. Even the biggest companies are no exception to lost data.

In 1998, Pixar almost lost all of their work on Toy Story 2 due to an accidental deletion. Their backup had failed, and the company was set to lose almost two years of work on the film.

Thankfully, one of the project supervisors had created her own backup to work from home. She saved the day (and millions of dollars) with her files and the project continued successfully. Read more about this story from the Technical Director of the film here.

In this case, Pixar was fortunate to have a secondary backup in place. However, without a disaster recovery plan and proper backup strategies in place, data loss can have a catastrophic effect on large businesses.

How Do You Back up Your Data Correctly?

With so many backup strategies and options, it can be difficult to decide the best course of action. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our recommendations for you.

Read on to see how you can form your own backup strategies.

3-2-1 Backup Method

Data backup can be as simple as 1-2-3. In this case, it’s 3-2-1.

The 3-2-1 method is one of the best backup strategies as it covers different requirements for storage.

This method is easy to remember:

3 Copies of your data

With more copies of your data, there’s less risk of losing it completely.

Three is typically enough and more can be excessive. It’s much easier and less time-consuming to maintain a few copies rather than a dozen different ones.

2 Different storage types

Using more than one storage format also reduces the risk of data loss. Try backing up data on two separate formats.

This could be either an external hard drive or a network server. If one device fails for any reason, there will always be another backup.

1 Copy offsite

Keep one of your copies in a safe place away from the main location of your data. Many real-world factors can also cause data loss.

However unlikely you think it may be, accidents and natural disasters can affect the location of your storage. An offsite storage site accounts for these types of accidents.

Keep a backup in another room, department or building from the main storage site. A copy stored at home will work too.

Another way to store data offsite is with a cloud backup.

With many affordable options for cloud storage, this is a solid investment for any business. For a monthly cost, you can safely store a backup online and recover it when needed. This has become one of the most consistent backup strategies for many businesses now.

A Backup Plan

Now that you have an idea of how you can store backups securely, where do you begin? It’s always best to have a plan.

To cover the specifics of your strategy, ask yourself these questions:

1. What will be backed up?

Decide which files are essential to be kept. These are the ones that you are dependent on the most and can’t live without.

These could be files that help keep your business afloat and running smoothly. Items such as contact lists and address books are indispensable for business connections.

Now is also a good time to sort through the clutter that doesn’t need to be saved. Assess which files are important and which are not needed. No-one likes tidying but there’s a couple of reasons to do this before you begin.

With more files to backup, it will use more storage space and take more time to transfer data. Removing useless files will make the most of your storage capacity and save time from transferring. Not to mention, your files will be organized as well.

2. When will data be backed up?

Depending on the nature of your files, you should decide how often backups will be created. If you were to use it for recovery, consider if your backup will be recent enough.

Monthly may not be ideal if your data is subject to change often. A daily backup is over the top. Weekly backups are a good balance and optimal for most businesses.

Stick to your regime and ensure that backups are performed regularly. Keep a log of when data is transferred and how recent your files are.

3. How will data be backed up?

Find a backup solution that works for you.

If you need a centralized location for your team or business’ data, a network server can be a good investment. For your personal files, a server may be overkill.

A hard drive is ideal for storing data into a more transportable option. They also have the benefit of being accessible offline.

Cloud storage is a good choice so long as you’re connected to the internet. Many providers offer secure, cheap and spacious storage options. For peace of mind, choose a provider that offers an automatic backup of your files.

4.  Does the backup work?

There’s no point in doing a backup if you can’t recover your data from it.

If a crash were to happen, ask yourself how effective your backup strategies are. Try a full disaster recovery of data from your backup and see if you were successful.

If not, re-assess your plan and make changes to each step. Ensure that your backup method is secure, and you always have disaster recovery options.

5 Data Backup Mistakes

These backup strategies will help you implement your own plan. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most common backup mistakes made when performing backups.

#1 – Not Backing up

It seems obvious, but not having any back up at all is the biggest mistake. Having backup strategies should be the first rule when storing large amounts of data.

Choose a back up method that will work for you. Use an HDD to store your files offline and back up large volumes of content. Consider investing into cloud storage to safely back up online.

In fact, many providers offer storage completely free of charge. If you’re using a Google account, you can already use Google Drive for your back ups. With a generous 15 GB of online storage to start with, there’s no reason not to start backing up now.

#2 – Irregular Back ups

Do you remember the last time that your data was backed up?

Many of us simply forget to back up data. If you’re like me, you say you’ll, “do it later”. Later never comes around though, then it’s too late to recover your data.

Don’t let procrastination get the better of you when it comes to backups. Set a schedule for how often backups are performed and make sure it’s done often.

#3 – Backups in the same location

It’s never a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket. For data, it’s the same.

Ensure that you have a spare backup if anything should happen to the location of your stored backup. Floods and fires can take out the buildings and devices housing your data in a matter of minutes.

Another location for your backup will mitigate the risk of unpredictable damage.

#4 – Disorganized Backups

When making a backup, ensure you know what is being stored.

Sort your files for relevancy and importance. Ensure that they’re organized and have readable names.

If you ever need to recover your files, this will make life much easier.

#5 – Irrelevant Backups

When making a backup, ensure you know what is being stored.

Sort your files for relevancy and importance. Ensure that they’re organized and have readable names.

If you ever need to recover your files, this will make life much easier.

Backup using Software

Now you know the “Do’s and Don’ts” of backing up, you should be confident in improving your own backup strategies.

It doesn’t have to be difficult and there are plenty of tools to help you get started. You can even use scheduling software to help backup data for you.

SyncGene is web app to automatically sync and backup Contacts, Calendars and Tasks across platforms and users. It ensures that your data is accurately connected and free from duplicates.

Sync data across your devices or for multiple users. Share unified contact lists and address books across teams or your entire organization. For even greater flexibility in managing your team, use SyncGene Enterprise.

All changes to your data will be reflected on all accounts automatically. When you connect your Google account with SyncGene, your data is automatically backed up to your Google Drive every 30 days.

Start using SyncGene as part of your backup strategy and everyday use today.

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Innes McLean

Innes is a Copywriter with the SyncGene team.

His work combines his love of writing, technology, and helping others on their mission to learn.