With the reliance that most businesses have when it comes to IT data backup is becoming one of the most important but also most undervalued strategies required to operate a business successfully.

Whilst most businesses small and large rely on their IT to perform almost all day to day business operations the reliance that those businesses have on their IT systems working not always acknowledged.

As a consequence backup strategies are often put together with little thought or planning and regular backup testing is rarely undertaken.

How to implement a successful backup strategy

The first steps towards implementing a successful backup strategy are to audit and take note of each critical application or dataset that needs to be backed up, how it should be backed up and how frequently it needs to be backed up.

The most obvious types of data that will need backing up are user data such as shared network drives and documents folders, email applications and data stores as well as accounting software.

There could well be many other applications in addition to these and they will vary within each company so this initial audit needs to be performed on an individual basis.

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The second stage is to look at the best solution for backing up each dataset or application, how often it needs to be backed up, how many revisions need to be kept on file and where they will be stored. This stage is critical because it also encompasses the archiving plan and determines how far back you will be able to go when making restores in disaster recovery scenarios.

This stage also covers the methodology used in keeping these archives in order and making regular backups that are also held securely off site. Some examples of backup methods used are tape backups with rotating sets taken off site and also automated off site backups using software and a secure remote storage location.

Companies such as jdm computing in Manchester can offer these backup services from planning to implementation and will advise on the correct backup plan depending on your requirements as a business.

Once you have the backup system in place everything should be fully automated – this is very important because whenever there is user intervention and manual action required there will be space for error so its best to avoid this type of scenario wherever possible.

Many companies will leave the backup solution when they reach this stage, thinking that everything is working and nothing else needs to be done.

Unfortunately this is not the case and probably the most critical stage in the backup process comes after everything is set up.

The final stage is backup strategy testing. Not only should the backup plan itself be regularly audited, assessed and modified as necessary but the backups themselves should be tested.

These tests can be carried out periodically and typically involve the selection of a random file or folder to be restored. The data can be restored to an alternative location so as not to overwrite the original data and then the integrity of the restored data can be confirmed.

This stage is extremely important as without it there is no guarantee that the restore would be successful in the event of a real disaster recovery scenario.