What data should your business back up?

What data should your business back up?

Imagine losing a great deal of sales order data to a ransomware attack. You may lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in revenue in a split second, so having a recent backup of transactional information could be a lifesaver for your business.

Next, imagine losing your archive of press releases and guesstimate how much that'll affect your bottom line. As you can see, not all data has the same business value, so knowing what to protect will help you maximize every dollar you spend on backups.

This begs the question: How would your company determine which data to back up? Let's take a look at the primary way of prioritizing backups, then use it to identify some specific data types your company needs redundant copies of.

Data recovery prioritization

We recommend ranking your data by how soon its loss will impact the business. The sample scenario at the beginning of this post should give you an idea of how to go about such. The challenge now is systematizing this process so that you can consistently rank data types and create suitable backup protocols for each.

Try our ranking system below to get started:

Loss will be felt within 24 hours

Also known as mission-critical data, data types in this category either need to be available at all times or support critical business operations. Some data types are so important that they're regulated by the government. For example, access to health records may mean life or death for patients, so the government mandates strict backup protocols for such data.

When lost, mission-critical data must be recovered as soon as possible. And since such data is typically updated hourly, if not more quickly, it must be backed up at the same frequency.

Loss will be felt within a week

Data types in this category are also used in operations, which is why they’re described as business-critical. However, the loss of business-critical data won't impact the business as quickly or as devastatingly as losing mission-critical data. This is because data from other sources can temporarily take the place of the former.

A perfect example of this is sales records with written or print records. Another would be databases with components that also exist in other databases. For instance, if a payroll database is lost, a serviceable replica may be created by collating information from employee records.

Business-critical data can and must always wait behind mission-critical data when it comes to recovery prioritization. Moreover, business-critical data isn’t updated as rapidly as mission-critical data, so the former can be backed up at a much slower pace than the latter.

Loss will be felt in a couple of months, if at all

While generally useful, the bulk of data your company produces won't be missed if you lose it. Old blog posts and other marketing materials are prime examples of such data. Data in this category aren't backed up at all — they are instead archived for record keeping purposes.

Ranking your data by how soon its loss will impact the business.

Data types your company must back up

Using the criteria we set, let's determine the types of mission- and business-critical data you'll want to back up.

Transactional and order fulfillment data

Customer records, order information, and delivery tracking information are just some of the mission-critical data that need to be continuously available. For instance, order information is necessary for order fulfillment, shipping, and returns processing.

Financial records

For tax and accounting purposes, you must maintain current records of your finances, such as receipts, revenue reports, and inventory logs. Therefore, having backups of these data will help you comply with financial regulations.

Personnel records

Your human resources (HR) department maintains a record of employee information, such as payrolls, insurance co-payments, tax payments, and pension contributions. HR must keep these files up to date and readily accessible in the event that an employee retires or joins another firm so you should always have these files backed up.

Administrative files

It's prudent to back up digital versions of documents such as licenses to operate, contracts, and lease agreements in case something happens to the physical copies.

Proprietary data

Backing up your chemical formulas, engineering diagrams, architecture plans, lab findings, commercial kitchen recipes, and other unique information isn't just necessary — it's critical. Losing such data might result in wasted research and development investment or halted production processes, so having backup copies of proprietary data protects your company.

If you need assistance with identifying data to back up or you have other backup concerns, schedule a consultation with our IT specialists at Healthy IT today.