What is Backup Policy? Definition and Best Practices
In today’s digital age, data is the backbone of any business. A side effect of the progressing digitalization of business worldwide is that alongside technological developments within the data protection sector, there are currently more threats to data than ever. Data loss or corruption can have devastating consequences on a company’s reputation and bottom line. With an incremental increase in data stored on the internet, there is a greater demand for more robust and effective data backup policies. In this article, you will learn what backup policy is and how to properly utilize it to ensure data protection within your organization so that you can back up and restore data when needed.
What’s a ‘backup policy’?
A backup policy is a set of rules and methods that defines the organization’s rules for scheduling, performing, and verifying backups. Furthermore, a backup policy is a documented plan that outlines the backup and recovery procedures for an organization’s critical data. The policy should include details such as the type of data to be backed up, the frequency of backups, the retention period for backups, and the recovery procedures. It should also outline the responsibilities of the IT team and end-users.
The company’s policy generally delineates specific actions which must be taken to ensure that data is backed up safely in a secure location so that the company can take minimal data losses when a disaster happens. With a functional and safe backup policy, information from the most critical applications is backed up to the cloud and external drives to ensure recoverability in the case of potentially severe data loss.
A solid backup plan and policy are key elements of IT security, mainly because many threats can only be mitigated with a proper backup policy. Every organization that dedicates a significant number of its resources to data storage should strive to devise a backup policy that will prevent severe data loss if a disaster strikes. Much of the data used by some of the biggest companies are located in various geographical locations, which are prone to natural disasters, in which case having a cloud backup can greatly diminish the data loss incurred from such an event. Likewise, most ransomware can only be dealt with by loading up the latest backup. Data encrypted in a ransomware attack is often difficult, if not impossible, to decrypt. Being able to back up and restore data is, therefore, one of the most basic data protection elements.
Backup policy – best practices
A backup policy is a central element of any organization that collects more data. Managing information according to a backup plan can greatly improve your organization’s overall performance and ensure that users can remain calm about the safety of their data. A backup policy generally consists of many actions to ensure data continuity in the case of any possible threat. Consider employing these practices in your data backup and restore strategy to improve your organization’s data protection capabilities:
- Identify Critical Data: The first step in creating a backup policy is to identify the critical data that needs to be backed up. This includes data that is essential for business continuity, such as customer information, financial records, and intellectual property.
- Ensure regular backups: A regular backup schedule is one of the essential elements of any functional data backup policy. Depending on your organization’s function and the type of data your IT structures store, it is important to create a backup schedule that will allow you to recover information with minimal data loss. Most organizations utilize several different backups at different times to ensure data continuity in case of a disaster. The most commonly utilized backup plan is monthly, weekly, and daily backups retained simultaneously (also known as the Grandfather-Father-Son backup policy). While this backup policy allows organizations to retrieve data at different times, there are also other backup schemes, depending on how critical to the functioning of the organization the data is.
- Back up data on external drives: With current technological developments storing information in the cloud seems to be the most effective way of data protection. Cloud backup is a very convenient method, allowing your organization to easily perform, store and retrieve the backups when needed. However, storing your backups only in the cloud creates a security hazard for the data. If all information is kept within the cloud, a ransomware attack could easily encrypt everything, including access to all the data backups. Because of this, most backup policies involve using external physical drives to store additional copies for increased data protection. If your IT structures are used to store sensitive data, such as medical records or bank account details, you might be required to store these for a prolonged amount of time. Your backup policy can benefit from extra external storage in such cases. Also, using physical storage can help your organization adhere to data retention compliance laws.
- Establish Retention Period: The retention period is the length of time that backups are kept. This should be based on the organization’s recovery objectives and compliance requirements. Some industries may have regulatory requirements that dictate how long backups must be retained. Not all data is equally important. Therefore devising a retention schedule can greatly improve the overall performance of your IT structures. A well-functioning backup plan should cover how long each information should be retained. This will ensure that the more critical data will be accessible via backup while the less vital parts will be removed to free up space and resources for more important backups. Once again, if your organization stores data, it might have to adhere to specific data retention policies within your region. If so, you might be legally obliged to include a retention schedule within your data backup policy.
- Define Recovery Procedures: The backup policy should also outline the procedures for restoring data in the event of a data loss. This should include who is responsible for initiating the recovery process, how backups will be accessed and restored, and how long it will take to restore data.
- Test Backups: Regular testing of backups is essential to ensure that they can be restored quickly and accurately in the event of a data loss. Testing should be performed on a regular basis to identify any issues or inconsistencies.
- Encrypt your backups: This is particularly important if you are using cloud storage. Encrypting the backups can greatly improve overall data protection, which is particularly important if your organization holds sensitive data. Backups can be stolen or otherwise accessed by malicious agents who might later use this data for illegal purposes. Including encryption in your backup plan can help your organization ensure that the data will remain secure, even when it’s exposed to attackers.
- Educate End-Users: End-users should be educated on the importance of data backup and how they can play a role in ensuring that data is backed up properly. This includes training on how to save data to the correct locations and how to report any issues or concerns.
- Ensure Compliance: Compliance requirements should be taken into consideration when creating a backup policy. This includes regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and SOX.
A backup policy is a critical component of any organization’s IT strategy. It ensures that data is protected in the event of a data loss or corruption. By following best practices for backup policy creation, organizations can ensure that their critical data is backed up, retained, and recoverable in a timely manner.
It’s worth to mention that Storware Backup and Recovery is a comprehensive solution that is designed to meet all backup policy assumptions. It provides a wide range of backup and recovery options, allowing organizations to tailor their backup strategy to their specific needs. With Storware Backup and Recovery, users can easily set backup retention periods, define backup schedules, and specify backup destinations. Additionally, the solution offers advanced data recovery capabilities, enabling quick and easy data restoration in the event of a disaster or data loss. Get the free Trial or contact us if you are interested in a one-on-one demo.