Among the various cybersecurity actions required in a small business, backups are sometimes overlooked. Although the basic idea of backing up information seems intuitive, it is not always straightforward. Particularly if you oversee multiple jobs in your small business, which is common. Read on to learn why you need a backup policy and the steps for creating one for your small business.
Why Your Small Business Needs a Backup Policy
Why Backups Are Necessary
Before going into what elements to include in your backup policy, you must understand why your small business needs backups. Remember that without a backup, a critical portion of your environment can go down. Which prevents you from making money as you resolve the issue. Additionally, customers today expect that companies, including small businesses, are always available, something a backup ensures.
Of course, there is also the issue that if you do not have a backup in place, you will need much longer to get back to your starting point following a disaster. Not only will you need to rebuild the impacted application, system, or data set, you also will then have to bring the operations back to normal.
Syncing Is a Good Start – But Just a Start
Although sync tools are definitely a smart move for small businesses, they simply are not enough. Setting up a sync system will help you out following a disaster as your crucial folders and files will be available on your chosen cloud storage method. The problem is that these synced files will only be a handful of files, not the full server. A sync tool excels at backing up the most important files or even those you use daily. Yet it is not a practical method for backing up everything you need for a full recovery. For that, you need a traditional backup. So, go ahead and include a sync tool on your backup policy, but add more thorough backups, as well.
Know What the Backups Protect Against and Your Recovery Objective
Before you get too far in developing your backup policy, make sure you know what type of situation you are protecting your small business against. Once you know what risks you are concerned about, you will have a better idea of what course of action to take in your policy. If you just care about potentially deleted files, you really only need the files in question backed up, with no need for an image-based backup. On the other hand, if you are concerned about a disaster taking out your whole location, storing everything on file-level backups would be too time-consuming.
This is also when you should determine your objective for each recovery. You want to know your recovery time objective, or how long the recovery takes. If that is missed, you should know the maximum tolerable disruption period. You also need to know the recovery point objective, or target quantity of data lost. This information can determine guidelines and goals for your policy.
Choosing the Type of Backups
There are multiple types of backups available for your small business, and every company will have a different ideal type. Some backups are designed for those who need to make sure their services remain available, while others will allow for a restore or for recovery. This depends on your business type and functionality, so you will need to look at how it runs on a daily basis and choose what type of backup is ideal.
When it comes to actually storing the backups, you can do so in the cloud, on-site, or with a hybrid system. Ideally, you will have a hybrid combination of backups in place. So you can recover whether the internet connection goes out or there is significant damage to your location. If a natural disaster takes out of your entire building and you only have an on-site backup, you will find yourself wishing you also had a cloud backup. But if you have hybrid-cloud backups, you should be able to access the files regardless of the situation.
File-Level or Image-Level Backups
There are two main backup methods, the image level and the file level.
File-level backups will save folders and files on the file server and are ideal for backing up the database for a specific application. Consider application-aware backups, which already know what information each application requires backed up since these will simplify the process. Instead of requiring manual input, they intelligently capture the relevant data.
If you want to protect the full system, the simplest method of doing so is an image-level backup. Since you should always backup your entire system when possible, this is the way most small businesses go. Image-level backups also use a continuous recovery model that performs a restore for every backup during the backup creation process.
Back Up Everything
When it comes to what you should include in your policy, make sure to backup everything. Any cyber insurance company will strongly advise you to ensure you can recover from any situation or loss following a disaster. Ideally, you will back up everything. Which you can easily do with image-level backups that back up the entire system in a single set of data. If your resources are limited, then at the very least, you should back up critical services and servers that you know your business needs the most and cannot last without for an extended period. As soon as you can do so, go ahead and do the full backup.
Work with Your Cyber Insurance
Since the goal of your cyber insurance company is to ensure that your small business always remains functional and bounces back from problems quickly, the representatives will gladly share their expertise and advice with you when it comes to backups. They can likely offer insights into the types of disasters those in your area and industry should be prepared for and provide suggestions as to what to include in your backup policy. Check out our blog post on Why All Small Businesses Need Cyber Insurance Coverage for more information.
Without a backup policy in place, your small business can be at risk of unwanted downtime that costs you money or lost files that you cannot function without. Take the time to create and implement a backup policy, and you will be able to minimize the risks associated with these issues, maximizing uptime and potential profits.