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Four Backup and Disaster Recovery Evaluation Tips for Remote Working

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The face of backups has changed! Recent transitions in working practices now present organisations with new challenges in keeping their data safe while allowing remote workers to access it easily. All companies that have remote workers should have secure and regular backup provisions in place for the central storage of their data. It is imperative that businesses evaluate their existing backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategy as remote working can present complications for data security and recovery. If you were to be hit by a malicious threat or an IT outage it’s important to be able to recover critical data quickly to ensure business continuity.

To help, we have put together four best practice considerations to enable you to evaluate your BDR plan for the work from home era. 

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It is important to identify what critical data should be backed up. The best way to identify this is to perform an audit on what data your business couldn’t function without and this should be the core of backup process. This will protect you from experiencing the frustration and subsequent cost of data loss and enable quick recovery in the event of a natural disaster, cyberattack, human error and hardware failure. It will also enable your business to meet certain GDPR requirements. 

When auditing your data, it’s important to take into account if you are using Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. SaaS includes applications such as Microsoft 365, Google G Suite and VoIP phone systems. If you use SaaS, you might think that your data is automatically backed up. The reality is that your data is only backed up for 30 days, even then there are no guarantees that any data will be retrievable after the 30 days. For this reason, any critical business data related to SaaS applications should be included in your backups.

The best way to protect your business against data loss is through regular backups and robust IT security. Business critical data should be backed up at least every 24 hours, if not hourly or continuously. Depending on your chosen BDR solution this can be done automatically or manually.

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As we have previously mentioned all critical business data should be backed up to a centralised secure location. Data should never be stored locally on devices or using unsecured storage. If you are using a USB drive this should be encrypted to protect your files. It’s also important to remember that Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and other similar platforms are not considered backup solutions. When evaluating where to store your data for remote access there are a number of questions you should ask.

Storage Requirements

It’s important to consider what type of data is required to be backed up. Along with how many versions of the data you will need to store and if you will need to retain this data for a certain period of time to meet GDPR requirements.

Flexibility

Your BDR solution should offer scalability in case you find you require extra storage or need to scale back your data requirements. It should be easily accessed and offer a simple and reliable backup process for remote workers.

Data Recovery

Data loss can be stressful so make sure recovery is fast and easy no matter if you are on or offsite. Also, ensure backups are performed regularly so you have the most up-to-date data to hand should the worst happen.

Budget

Everyone has a budget they need to work to but as with most things cheap isn’t always cheerful. Investing in a reliable and reputable backup solution suitable for remote working from the outset can often help reduce costs in the long term.

Opting to store data with a managed cloud provider offers cost effective, reliable, secure, anytime, anywhere access to company information. It also offers scalability and flexibility depending on your current storage needs. Ideal in uncertain times or for when you return to the office and may choose to opt for a hybrid or on-premise storage backup solution instead. An expert IT solutions provider can help guide you further through the process of selecting what solution is right for your current and future business needs.

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Staff should be educated on good data backup habits including best practices for workstations, how sensitive data is processed, handled and stored when working remotely. Remote workers should be reminded that they should practice good cyber hygiene. This includes making sure software updates are performed and security features such as firewalls and antivirus are enabled. A single gap in your IT security could make it all too easy for malicious threats to sneak through. Offering cyber security awareness training to staff can help them to become the last line in defence against any cyberattacks that might put your data and networks at risk.

Ideally your organisation should have a backup policy in place that covers the importance of regular data and system backups, which all staff should be aware of. It should define the rules for planning, executing and validating backups, including specific activities to ensure that critical data is backed up to secure storage1. Your IT support provider will be able to guide and advise you through this process to ensure your plan covers the key areas.

Lastly, staff should only have access to the data that is essential for them to perform their job role. This is referred to as ‘least privilege’ and can help protect against human error such as accidentally deleting a file.

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Once you have your BDR strategy in place it’s essential you test the process. Ideally you should test this process every quarter and before any changes are made to your network, such as updating software. This will ensure that you have a tried and tested procedure in place for data recovery should a disaster happen.

Along with an effective backup process robust IT security should be in place to protect your data and networks from cyberattacks, IT outage or human error. With this in place you limit the chance of ever needing to rely on your BDR solution. Your IT security should be reviewed to take into account remote working, ensuring complete data and network security for your organisation.

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If you are considering continuing to offer remote working in the future and would like support and guidance on reviewing your BDR strategy, NCI Technologies is here to help. Our helpful team of IT support experts will be happy to guide you through the process and offer recommendations on ways you can improve the secure storage of your data. BDR review appointments are available to book online here.

Alternatively, simply contact us here or call us on 01326 379 497 to speak to our friendly sales team.

 

Sources

https://searchdatabackup.techtarget.com/tip/The-importance-of-backup-policies#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20backup%20policy,located%20in%20a%20secure%20location.

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