No matter how careful you are with your data storage and data protection measures, the risk of data loss is always there. You need to be sure that your company is prepared in the event of cyber attacks or system failures. Hence the need for data backup is so important; a company must have a copy of lost data for swift disaster recovery after a crisis.

Too many organizations, however, overlook the possibility that their data backups might also fail.

Operating without data backups is incredibly risky. It can result in business interruption, which almost always causes a loss of profit. It also risks the loss of your customers’ data, which can in turn result in reputational damage, civil litigation, or regulatory enforcement. That is why frequent data backups are necessary — and so are the steps you should take to ensure that your backups are functional and secure.

Common Obstacles in the Data Backup Process

Ensuring that your data is properly backed up can be challenging. Many small businesses simply cannot afford the amount of storage (either cloud backup with companies like Microsoft Azure or on physical servers) that they need for a successful backup system.

Alternatively, some companies grow and expand beyond their original storage capacities without upgrading. Other organizations have outdated technology that is no longer stable and secure. Even companies that do have the appropriate resources can become lax in the frequency of their backups, rendering their previous safeguards less useful as time goes on.

The leading cause of backup failure is — as so often happens — simple human error. A distracted staff member might perform the backup incompletely or incorrectly, and that leads to issues when the backup is needed down the line.

Backup software updates can create unforeseen vulnerabilities, and hardware failure can result from degradation over time or weather disasters. It’s important to be aware of these potential issues so you can make sure your backup data remains safe.

How Do I Troubleshoot Backup Failure?

The best way to prevent backup failure is to test your storage and operating system regularly. “Test restore” is a process by which you regularly test the data in your backups to make sure that if you use them to restore your system, the data will be effective. It’s critical that you keep to a regular schedule for testing your backups, to make sure that the data you’ve saved will function as a successful system restoration if need be.

It’s also important to make sure that the data you store remains safe as your company grows and changes. If your storage system or security measures change, you’ll need to make sure your backup strategy changes too. If you upgrade your software, you’ll need to make sure your storage is still compatible with new systems.

Use changes in your company’s technical landscape as an opportunity to check your backups and take measures to replace or restore them if necessary.

Avoiding Backup Failures in the Future

To avoid backup failure, you’ll first want to make sure the data you’re saving is (a) exactly what you need, and (b) not corrupted in any way. If your data contains errors, then your data recovery will as well. To have functional backups, you’ll need to assure that your data is correct before saving.

You should also back up your data frequently, to assure that what you save is up to date with your current needs. Out-of-date backups won’t be useful in the event of a system failure or breach, so scheduling regular backups will make sure you are saving the data you need.

Finally, find a storage solution that meets your needs. Lots of information is online about data storage, much of which can seem contradictory. At the end of the day, the storage solution you select needs to be one that fits your company’s culture and goals.

You should consider a mix of cloud storage and physical storage (such as hard drives) in different locations both on and off-site, to have a safe backup solution if your other backups fail.

Secure Your Data with ZenGRC

Data backups are critical, but they’re still only one piece of your cybersecurity program. To assure that your data and that of your customers is safe, you need an integrated risk management system that allows you to see your entire risk landscape.

ZenGRC is a software program that can provide your company with a total, real-time view of your whole organization’s risk prevention and compliance efforts. By providing this increased visibility, ZenGRC can help you mitigate the effects of risk events and prevent them altogether.

Schedule a demo to learn about how ZenGRC can create a risk management system tailored to your company’s needs.