Why 60% of Data Backups Fail When Businesses Need Them Most

From natural disasters and cyber-attacks to accidental deletion, there are numerous reasons a business must back up its data. However, Avast’s latest findings on disaster recovery highlight an alarming issue for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs): 60% of data backups are not fully successful, and half of the attempts to recover data from these backups don’t work. This leads to businesses being offline for an average of 79 minutes, costing them roughly $85,000 for every hour of downtime.

⚖️ Not all backups are created equal. It’s crucial to be aware of backup best practices to ensure your backup solution will work when you need it most.

Why Backups Are Failing

📝 There are several common reasons backups are incomplete or a restoration fails:

  • Unreliable Backup Products: When it comes to backups, you get what you pay for. Free or cheap solutions may not offer the robust features of more expensive products, resulting in backups that are neither secure nor reliable.
  • Suboptimal Backup Times: If backups are scheduled during high-traffic periods or when data is being heavily modified, there’s a risk that not all data will be captured.
  • Compatibility Issues: As your business evolves, so do your systems and software. New systems may not always be fully compatible with existing backup solutions, leading to data not being properly saved or restored.
  • Human Error: Mistakes such as incorrectly configuring backup parameters, accidentally deleting crucial files, or ignoring backup schedules and alerts can lead to backup failures.

Cyber-attacks and other disasters are a constant threat. If your backup fails and you get hacked, you might lose data permanently. Additionally, healthcare and finance organizations have strict compliance regulations around data handling, and failed backups can result in fines, legal challenges, and a damaged reputation.

Best Practices For Successful Data Backup And Restoration

👌 Reliable data backups and successful restoration are your lifeline in times of crisis. From choosing the right backup solution to regular testing and daily monitoring, these best practices protect your data from surprise disruptions, ensuring your business doesn’t miss a beat.

1. Pick a Solid Backup Solution: 

Don’t just go for the big names in backup software; some might not deliver what they promise. Find a solution that suits your needs. For example, immutable backups are essential for compliance, as they can’t be changed or deleted, even by a ransomware attack. Talk with your IT provider about the backup technologies they’re using for you, how quickly you can expect to recover data, what kind of downtime you might face, and whether your backups are on the cloud, local, or a mix of both. Ensure your backup ticks all the boxes for compliance, especially if you’re in a field that requires compliance like healthcare.

2. Use the 3-2-1 Rule: 

Once you have a reliable backup solution, consider using the 3-2-1 backup rule, a standard set of best practices for data recovery. The rule recommends storing three copies of your data in two different formats, with one copy stored off-site. This significantly reduces your risk of total data loss.

3. Generate a Daily Backup Status Report: 

Ensure someone—either you or a member of your IT team—is checking the backup status every day. Incomplete backups should be followed up on immediately. Even if your IT team receives a daily report, request a weekly or monthly summary to verify that your backups are consistently successful. Advanced backup systems can also notify you if no alert or status check-in occurs, indicating a possible system hang. In this state, the backup is neither failed nor successful, but it certainly isn’t functioning correctly!

4. Conduct Regular Restore Tests: 

Like a fire drill for your data, do a trial run and restore some files or even the whole server every few months to ensure everything works as it should. It’s one thing to have backups, but another to ensure they are in good condition and the data can be retrieved as expected. Ask your IT team to perform a restore test and they are likely to appreciate you taking the time to allow them to test.

🤦‍♂️ Don’t ignore your data backups! Backups might seem like one of those “set and forget” tasks, but when disaster strikes—be it a flood, fire, or cyber-attack—your backup could be what saves your business. If you haven’t already, start a conversation with your IT provider and make sure your backup strategy is solid and reliable.

⚠️ While a robust backup solution is vital, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. What truly drives business success is having a comprehensive business technology strategy in place. At Entech, we specialize in proactive business technology management. Our team conducts regular technology assessments to ensure alignment with your business objectives. This strategic approach not only safeguards your data but also enhances overall productivity. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you position technology as leverage for all areas of your business.