Data loss can occur from a variety of causes, including computer viruses, hardware failure, file corruption, fire, flood, or theft, etc. Data loss may involve critical financial, customer, and company data, so a solid data backup plan is critical for every organization.
As part of a data backup plan, consider the following:
- What data (files and folders) to backup
- How often to run your backups
- Where to store the backup data
- What compression method to use
- What type of backups to run
- What kind of media on which to store the backups
In general, you should back up any data that can’t be replaced easily. Some examples are structured data like databases, and unstructured data such as word processing documents, spreadsheets, photos, videos, emails, etc. Typically, programs or system folders are not part of a data backup program. Installation discs, operating system discs, and registration information should be stored in a safe place.
Data backup frequency depends on how often your organizational data changes.
- Frequently changing data may need daily or hourly backups
- Data that changes every few days might require a weekly or even monthly backup
- For some data, a backup may need to be created each time it changes
The challenge with unstructured data is that backing up unstructured data is not only time consuming but also very complex, with millions to billions of files of various sizes and types and growing at an astronomical rate, leaving businesses to struggle with long backup windows, overlapping backup cycles, backup footprint sprawl, spiraling costs, and above all, vulnerable in the case of a disaster.