The Backup Plan: How to Never Suffer a Customer Data Loss Again

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In 2014 businesses saw more data breaches than Game of Thrones saw tragic deaths. Last year alone Target, Home Depot, and Sony were hit hard by some form of targeted attack, and by the looks of this year’s big data breaches, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Recovering from a data breach takes countless hours of internal effort to restore data, and can risk both a company’s money and reputation with customers.

Customer Data Loss

Protecting customer data doesn’t stop at cybersecurity, though. Imagine the financial strain your company could face if your whole network crashed, or if your server room flooded. How would your customers react if you accidentally misplaced sensitive information?

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Could you explain to a client that your one and only file for their project became corrupted? Real customer service means protecting your customers’ important information.  The truth of the matter is that when it comes to data, security threats are really only the tip of the iceberg. If disaster strikes your company, you’ll want to have a solid backup plan in place to get you back on your feet quickly. We’ve compiled a couple of tips to get you started:

1. Blueprint a Backup Plan

As data becomes an increasingly important digital commodity, building a custom backup plan fit for your company’s needs can be crucial for retaining customer trust and business continuity post-disaster.

Identifying and ranking primary, secondary, and tertiary data before you begin the process of backing it up can help determine the number of times it will need to be backed up, where it will need to be backed up, and who should be given access to it.

Ask yourself the following questions when analyzing your company’s data:

  • How critical is this information? Can my business live without it?
    • Identify what information is essential for your business to survive. Databases, sensitive information, and files that get day-to-day use should be prioritized and protected the most, since your business depends on them.
  • How often should I backup, and what times should I schedule them?
    • How often files are updated should determine how often they’re backed up. Items that get daily updates should naturally be backed up daily, whereas items that are only updated annually need to be backed up less frequently.
  • How quickly will I need to recover data in the event of an emergency?
    • Get the bare minimum of your company moving again? Adjusting your backup plan to meet these needs can save your company from losing time, money, and reputation.

Implement your Backup Plan

Once you’ve identified what data needs to be backed up and how often, the next step is to develop and implement a backup and recovery process – but where to start?

One really simple technique many IT professionals adhere to is the 3-2-1 plan when backing up critical files:

3 copies of your files

in 2 different formats

with at least 1 copy backed up off-site

Customer Data Loss

Three different copies of your files ensures that you can restore to another file in the event that one of your backups is corrupted, overwritten, or destroyed. Your backup files are just as vulnerable to corruption as all of your other files, so redundancy is key when it comes to expediting your restoration process.

Putting all of your backup files in one place is putting all of your eggs in one basket – in the event that a particular backup method breaks or becomes obsolete (lookin’ at you, floppy disks), you don’t want to be stuck transferring everything over to another location – or worse, losing everything altogether.

Finally – ensure that at least one of your backup copies is saved off-site and updated regularly. Sending your files to a secured cloud server ensures that your company data is safe from any physical damage or natural disasters. In the unfortunate event that your physical space is totalled, restoring company data will be one less thing you’ll need to worry about.

Keep your backups current

It would be a bit of a waste if you went through all of that effort creating a backup plan to not maintain it, right? After you’ve put together and implemented your plan, set up an automatic backup schedule to back your data up regularly. This not only takes off the daily pressure of manual backup protocol, but can also be set to backup your files at off-hours so the process doesn’t interfere with anyone’s day-to-day work.

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Assign a trusted colleague or IT manager to oversee backup processes and protocol, and keep key personnel in the loop on data backup timetables, so they know how frequently their files are backed up, and how quickly they can be restored, if need be.

Finally – regularly test all of your backups manually to ensure that all of your backup drives are functioning properly.

The best way to defend your company against data loss is to take steps to prevent losses in advance, so invest in a good data plan now. You may thank yourself for it later.

Images by Abby Kahler

Looking for Customer Service software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Service software solutions.

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About the Author

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Rick Talavera

Rick Talavera is the VP of Engineering at SingleHop and the former CEO of eServer Space, Inc. At his time at eServer Space, Rick successfully led a team of software developers that supplied infrastructure and software optimizations for high traffic websites.

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