The Best Backup Strategy - Part 1 0f 3

For most of us, backup is a familiar thought or in a better case, a task that we plan on doing "one day". The simple fact is that most of us don't have a proper backup, this is also true for many businesses. For personal use, we have photos that we collect for years, music, videos and other memories. For business, losing business-related data can result in long-term damages and loss of revenue.  

When it comes to backup, I recommend applying the same practices to both personal and business where the later one requires more planning, but the concepts are similar.

So, what is my approach to backup in a few words?

Assess, plan, execute, maintain and test

Assess

This stage is basically a risk management stage. The leading questions here are:

"What if I lose this folder or this file?"

"What happens if someone sees, opens or modifies my files?"

"If a disaster strikes, how fast can I recover to be back in business?"

So, you should look at your data and decide what are the implications of losing it and what would be its value. Not always value is counted in dollars. 

During the assessment, you should consider:

Location

Where is your data stored? For the average user, the data can be on multiple devices like laptop, mobile, tablet, PC, work PC, cloud and more... it's important to mention right here, having your data in the cloud does not guarantee much, you should always aim to keep an offline copy. To have a better control over your important data, try to centralise it, this means, try to have a central point of storage on which you will later apply your backup solution. Always have a copy of your data in at least 2 physically separate places.

CAPACITY

You need to assess the capacity of your data, including future expected capacity. This means, if you're generating heaps of data every day, then you should take it into account as this is going to have a big impact on your backup plan. Capacity is impacted by the quality of the videos, images and sound. For example, a 4K format video will be much bigger than HD. So you should consider if you want to store a backup of the full version or a reduced version to save some space. You can also apply compression with some of the backup solutions that will be described further.

RETENTION

Data retention policy basically means how far back can you go with your data recovery. Retention is simply restore point of your data, so not only you can recover your data, but you can also decide from which date and time to you want it to be recovered. This can be very useful when you deleted some file by accident and only found out about it a month later. Of course, you cannot retain data forever so the factor here is how much data do you have vs how much storage is available for you.

Security and privacy 

This is a big consideration. When backing up your data, always assess how secure it will be at the backup target. Don't assume "it's secure", this will be the most common mistake. The best approach to keep your data secure and private is to apply an encryption. If an encryption is applied to your backup, it cannot be recovered without the encryption key so make sure you have it somewhere safe (KeePass for example).

To be continued in part 2