The Care, Keeping, and Disposal of Data Backups
Information is the cornerstone of how the world turns. We use information on a daily basis to figure out who we have to email, what we have to do, where we have to go (and how to get there), and how our businesses are doing.
Now, imagine what it would be like to arrive at your workplace – and have nothing to work with. No records, no emails, no direction. 60% of small business owners who find themselves in this situation close their doors within that same year.
A data backup isn’t just something you’re supposed to do. It’s an essential safety net. Understanding how to handle this information, both throughout the course of its use and its secure disposal when you’re done, is a necessary part of protecting your business.
Why Data Backups Are Important
It’s hard to understate just how important a data backup is for a business, especially in the digital age. An online backup, stored in the cloud, is a good way to ensure immediate access to information in the event of data loss or an accident, but a physical backup is just as necessary.
Over half of small businesses don’t have a plan in place for recovery after a disaster like data loss or theft. A physical data backup (or better yet, two backups in separate, off-site locations) provides a safety net that you can fall back on in the event of a disaster.
Let’s assume that you’re the owner of a relatively new small business that’s been in operation for a year or two. You have a customer list, which includes passwords, payment methods and records, inventory lists, and accounting records, and you use all of these regularly, stored on your in-house computer server. One day, the sprinkler system malfunctions. The server is destroyed beyond repair. How does your business continue when you don’t even have a list of customers to contact?
If you have a data backup, getting back on track is as easy as going and retrieving it.
How Many Backups Should You Have?
It’s generally recommended that you create a new data backup at least once every week, though for the well-prepared, once every 24 hours is a better strategy. When in doubt, follow the 3-2-1 Rule: three different backup copies, in at least two different storage devices, with at least one of the copies being stored safely off-site. The goal is to always have one in reserve, updating both your data and your storage device as required.
If you’re storing your backup on a hard drive or another form of e-media device, make sure that the environment you’re storing them in is safe for their long-term keeping. Electronic devices should be kept in controlled climates with no extreme temperatures and no excess humidity. They should also be regularly tested to make sure they’re performing well and that the data they contain remains intact.
Safe Disposal With Hard Drive Shredding
When your backups are ready to be retired, or when the devices they’re stored on are no longer functioning as they should be, they need to be safely discarded. An easy mistake to make is the assumption that if you simply delete the contents, they are gone. Digital data can be retrieved even from a disc that has been erased, which is why hard drive shredding is essential.
Hard drive shredding works by physically destroying the drive platter, making it impossible to read or for information to be recovered. After the destruction process, the remaining components are responsibly recycled, keeping the e-waste out of landfills.
For more information on our document destruction and hard drive shredding services in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, New Orleans, and Lafayette, give us a call at (225) 751-8535. You can also contact us directly online.