When it comes to backing up and protecting your company’s critical data, you need to know for certain – without any lingering doubts – that you could recover your files and be back up and running again fast after a natural disaster, server crash, hacker attack or other data-erasing event.

Yet, most business owners don’t know for sure if all of their data is being backed up. Even fewer conduct regular test restores to ensure that their backups are actually working, and many don’t have a clue what they would do if they suddenly lost their data or ability to access it due to a fire, flood or other disaster.

There are 3 important elements to seamlessly backing up your system. These are:

#1:  A Secure, Encrypted Offsite Backup

It’s absolutely critical to keep an encrypted copy of your data offsite as well. Copying your data to a tape drive or other device and carrying it home every night isn’t the safest or smartest system either. Data needs to be encrypted to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands – and if you are storing “sensitive” data (like credit card numbers, financial documents) on an unencrypted portable device you may find yourself having a VERY uncomfortable conversation with your clients about how you exposed their data to an identity thief or hacker.

#2: A Data Recovery And Disaster Recovery Plan

A huge mistake many business owners make is thinking that data backup is the same as disaster recovery – it’s not. Just having a copy of your data isn’t enough; you need to have a plan in place to get everything restored quickly, which is something that tape drives and other physical backup devices don’t offer.

#3: Test Restores

Test and check your backup system on a regular basis to insure it is working. Also test if your data can be easily transferred quickly and accurately. Run through test scenarios to ensure everything is working properly. If it is not, then take the time to fix it before a real emergency happens. Now that you have the details of backup vs. disaster recovery you can make an informed decision for your company.

Here are 3 tips you must remember to properly implement your computer disaster management program:

  1. Keep your backup documentation easily accessible. Make sure that more than one person (trusted) knows your backup and recovery procedures. In the event of a disaster, other members of your “business continuity team” should have the proper authorizations (if needed), overall information, and technical competence (or a local technology consultant to work with) to recover your business data.
  2. Be clear about your point of recovery time, and make sure your back-up and recovery system will provide this. Backup systems are quite flexible regarding how much historical data they can recover. Do you always need to recover the last six months of data? Is having the most recent week’s worth of data all you really need? Are you in a regulated industry where a backup solution must handle a full seven years of data? The point of recovery date and time are an important consideration.
  3. Engage trusted advisors. With limited time, budget, and employees, you should look to a solution provider to help create plans, implement automated protection solutions, and monitor for trends and threats. Your trusted advisor can also educate your employees on retrieving information from backups, when needed, and suggest off-site storage facilities for protecting your critical data.Consider switching to cloud hosting .If you’re not already on the cloud, you may want to consider making the switch, depending on your industry. Managed cloud hosting is safe and secure, offers reliable backup and disaster recovery options, and has a much more predictable cost structure than company-owned hardware and infrastructure.