How often should you back up your data?

When it comes to protecting your data, one of the biggest questions you’ll have is how often should you back up your data? Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear cut answer as the truth is it varies from company to company. The answer to this question for your specific organization has a follow up of sub-questions such as what your legal, financial and regulatory requirements, and how much your company can afford to lose. Stuart Burns, virtualization expert in VMware, system integration, disaster recovery and systems management, shares an article on TechTarget on how to determine when your organization should do data backups. “Most organizations use a recovery point objective (RPO) to decide backup frequency, says Burns. “RPO dictates how close to the current point in time the company’s restored data should be after data restoration.” While there might not be a single answer to the question of how often should a company perform data backups, Burns points out, there is no doubt that it must be done on a regular basis. Options such as automation, differential and incremental backups, other data back up solutions, or hiring consultants to regularly back up and maintain your data are great options for your data back up strategy.

According to Burns, “Automation is a common go-to when increasing the number of backups, because it means that the process is no longer reliant on someone being available to start a backup. Automation removes these variables from the equation, but it’s critical to actually check the backup logs manually every day to ensure the correct items are being backed up and no failure or errors have occurred.”

If you can’t back up your data every day, this is where differential and incremental backups come in. “Differential backups start by copying all changes since the previous full backup. After the first differential backup operation, these types of backups continue to copy all data changed since the last full backup,” says Burns. “Incremental backups copy the files that have changed since the last backup of any type, not just full. For example, to restore on Thursday from a full backup from the previous weekend, the administrator would have to restore from the weekend and the Wednesday evening using a differential backup. Doing the same with an incremental backup scheme would mean restoring the weekend backup and then the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday backups to get the same result.”

If you don’t have the resources or have too much on your plate for these data backup projects, the other alternatives could be to have an automated software solution that backs up and archives your data regularly. Alternatively, you could also hire a consulting firm to conduct data archival back ups every few months or however often your company decides to run backups.No matter how often or what direction you take to run data backups, the key is regular date maintenance to ensure better data management and security.


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