Why you need to back up your data

Why Backup?

Delaware Water Gap
Delaware Water Gap

You may think I’m biased, but I think protecting data is the single most crucial task for any business. Let me explain. All business activities create data. It may seem incidental to the business’s purpose, but each action a business takes creates it nonetheless.

For example, people are creating proposals, snapping photos, taking notes, writing schedules, making invoices, collecting customer credit cards, completing inventories, and so on. These pieces of data define that business. It’s the collection of these individual bits that brings together an organization’s thoughts, actions, and plans and makes a business unique from all others.

Ask yourself, how do you get new customers? If you think about it, your business is a recipe for success. It does a series of things in a particular order. Some of those actions create information, and others rely on the information you’ve made. What are the resources you use to accomplish this; the phone numbers, the account numbers, the names of crucial sales reps you need to reach, the notes you’ve jotted that represent that one key idea that took you years to discover that ultimately drives your success.

Now ask yourself – what would you do if you lost all that data and had to create it all over again? Sure, you already did it once, so maybe you figured you could do it again. Or maybe you assume (i.e., hope) that someone is looking after this information.

Let me tell you a secret. A full 60% of all backups are incomplete (source: Ponemon Institute). Think about that for a moment. More than half of what you think is being protected probably isn’t. Some of it is just plain human error. You added some new computing systems, and someone should have remembered to add them to the backups. But some are caused by faulty technology that went unnoticed. Of course, the going unnoticed part is really just another kind of human error.

Let me give you another thought to ponder. 50% of all restore requests fail to recover the data (source Storage Magazine). The culprit is putting blind faith in technology, as people often do. The failure to test these critical things often goes undone – leading to business-stopping surprises.

Branch Brook Lake and fountain
Branch Brook Lake and fountain

Maybe you think this is just one in a long list of risks you must accept as a business owner. Or you may think it’s just the risk to new revenue and something you’re willing to close your eyes and quickly walk past. But hold on – some of that data could have stiffer repercussions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 4 million employees in New Jersey. Each of these people is creating a new mountain of data every day they come to work. Some of it the state and federal government insist you protect. Things like payroll records, sales & use tax records, licenses, permits, bank records, and receipts. Of course, you’re probably like me, tired of all the rules & regulations that come out of Trenton & Washington. But you still need to protect this information.

Ok, so maybe you’re wondering what might cause you to lose any of this valuable data. Data loss comes from four primary events; human error, malicious destruction, technology failure, and natural disasters. Of these, natural disasters account for the least number of data-loss events. However, businesses hit with natural disasters often close their doors if they are down and can’t recover their information within ten days.

Technology failure is the most common of the remaining three, accounting for more than half of data loss events. That covers things like hard drive crashes, computer breakdowns, and software bugs. Even though computers have become more reliable, technology failure still accounts for roughly half of all data-loss events.

Human errors clock in behind technology failure and account for roughly 25% of data loss events. Things like accidental deletion or unintentional overwriting of data. While it may not have been intentional, it still can have a devastating impact if it hits critical information files.

The last category, malicious destruction, is experiencing a dramatic rise. The release of computer viruses has given rise to the latest scourge. Called ransomware, criminals encrypt your data, making it unavailable to you. The criminals then demand a ransom before they’ll share the decryption key. And you’ll never be sure if you will really get the data back, even if you pay the ransom.