Data is exploding (not literally, although we’ll cover that, too). The amount of data that organizations are storing has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. According to Gartner research director April Adams, data capacity on average in enterprises is growing at 40 percent to 60 percent year over year. Some of this information is stored locally but, increasingly, data is stored in the cloud.
More data and more ways of storing that information may mean more confusion for small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to protect themselves. The purpose of this post is to explain what you can do to safeguard your data, to advise against bad practices, and to debunk myths about data backup and the cloud.
So what’s the first thing you should do to protect your data? I’ll give you one guess. Wrong. It’s not back up your data. The first thing you need to do is determine what data should be backed up and in what order it should be recovered. Let me guess: You think that all of your data should be backed up, because it’s all important, right? But, guess what, in the event of systemic data failure, treating all your data equally will hamstring your efforts to restore your systems and get your business up and running in a timely manner.
Here is a disclaimer: This all depends on how much data you’re storing. If you’re an on-the-go entrepreneur working from a single laptop, you can quite easily back up all your data. Most businesses, however, should prioritize data in their data backup and recovery planning.
Now, let’s say you’ve culled the critical data from the noncritical data (I’ll explain what this means and how to do this this in greater detail in my next post, “The 10 Percent Rule.”) Now what do you do? You back up your data, which, of course, is at the crux of what this entire series is all about. Over the course of the series, I’ll provide you with practical tips on how to back up, I’ll troubleshoot specific problems and I’ll offer case studies, but the underlying credo will always be the same: Take an active role in safeguarding your data. It’s the lifeblood of any business.
Backing up is not a one-time deal. It’s a consistent, interactive effort, whereby you test elements and adjust according to results. It may sound like a lot of work, but you’ll thank me in the end. After all, 100 percent of businesses experience some form of data failure at one point or another. Will you be prepared when it happens to you?