Data Backup And Data Recovery: A primer
What is Data Backup?
A data backup is a copy of the data stored on a computer or network. This can be used to restore the original data in the event of data loss.
This can include anything from the accidental deletion of files to a full-scale cyber-attack.
Why is it important?
In today’s digital age, data is the lifeblood of any business.
Without it, companies can face severe financial losses and reputational damage. One of the most critical components of data management is having a robust data backup and recovery plan in place.
What is a Data Recovery Plan?
A data recovery plan is a set of procedures and processes used to restore data from a backup in the event of data loss.
What is included in a Standard Operating Procedure for Data Backup and Recovery?
A standard operating procedure (SOP) for data backup and recovery should include the following key elements:
- Regularly scheduled backups of critical data
- Multiple copies of data stored in different locations
- Testing of backups to ensure they can be successfully restored
- A disaster recovery plan that outlines procedures for restoring data in the event of a disaster
- Employee education and training on data backup and recovery procedures
What are the Pros and Cons of implementing a Data Recovery plan?
Implementing a data backup and recovery plan benefits small and medium-sized businesses.
- It can help protect against data loss caused by hardware failure, human error, or cyber-attacks.
- It also allows for quick and easy restoration of data in the event of a disaster. This minimizes downtime and financial losses.
However, there are also downsides to consider. For example,
- backing up and storing large amounts of data can be expensive. Some businesses may not have the resources to implement a comprehensive plan.
- Additionally, if data backups are not regularly tested, it is possible that they may not be able to be restored in the event of a disaster.
An interesting fact about backups is that according to a study: 43% of companies that experience data loss go out of business within five years.
This highlights the importance of having a robust data backup and recovery plan in place.
94% of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss do not survive.
43% never reopen
51% close within two years.University of Texas
Why is having a policy important to an Information Security Management System (ISMS)?
Backup is an important component of an Information Security Management System (ISMS). It provides a way to restore data in the event of data loss.
As previously mentioned, data loss can occur due to a variety of reasons such as hardware failure, human error, or cyber-attacks.
Backups provide a safety net for businesses by allowing them to quickly and easily restore data in the event of such incidents, minimizing downtime and financial losses.
Having a robust backup and recovery plan in place is also essential for compliance with industry regulations and standards.
Many regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and ISO 27001, expect organizations to implement data backup and recovery plans. It is mandatory to protect sensitive information and ensure that it can be quickly and easily restored in the event of a disaster.
Steps to follow with examples for a Small Business:
- Identify critical data: Determine which data is most important to the business and needs to be backed up. This could include customer data, financial records, and important documents.
For example, a small e-commerce business might consider customer data such as names, addresses, and purchase history as critical data.
- Choose a backup method: Decide on the method of backup that best suits the business’s needs. Options include local backups to an external hard drive, cloud-based backups, or a combination of both.
For example, a small retail business might choose to backup their data to a local server and an external hard drive for added protection.
- Schedule regular backups: Set up a regular schedule for backing up critical data, such as daily or weekly backups. This can be done manually or automated using backup software.
For example, scheduling a daily backup at midnight using software such as Acronis or Veeam.
- Test backups: Test the backups to ensure that they can be successfully restored and that all files are intact and accessible. This can be done by restoring a backup to a separate computer or virtual machine and verifying the data.
For example, a small accounting firm might test their backups by restoring them to a virtual machine and verifying that all financial records are complete and accurate.
- Store multiple copies of backups: Store multiple copies of backups in different locations, such as a local server, an external hard drive, and a cloud-based storage service. This provides additional protection against data loss in case of a hardware failure or natural disaster.
For example, a small construction business might store backups on an external hard drive, a local server, and a cloud-based storage service such as Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure.
- Review and update the backup plan regularly: Review and update the backup plan to ensure it remains relevant and effective. This should be done at least once a year or when there is a significant change in the business.
- Train employees on backup procedures: Train employees on the backup procedures and make sure they know how to backup and restore their own files.
For example, a small law firm might provide training on how to backup and restore files on their case management software.
- Implement a disaster recovery plan: Develop a disaster recovery plan that outlines procedures for restoring data in the event of a disaster.
- Keep backup documentation: Keep detailed documentation of the backup procedures and the location of the backups. This will make it easier to restore the data in case of an incident.
Backup Data Management: 5 tasks to do now!
If you’re a small or medium-sized business looking to fortify your data management, here are five tasks you can do now to get started:
- Schedule regular backups of critical data-in-transit and data-at-rest and store multiple copies in different locations. For example:
- Schedule daily backups of your accounting software
- Store copies on different locations. A local server, an external hard drive, and a cloud-based storage service such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
- Perform security audits of backups regularly to ensure they can be successfully restored.
- Test the restoration of a backup by restoring it to a separate computer. Then, you can verify that all files are intact and accessible.
- Develop a disaster recovery plan that outlines procedures for restoring data in the event of a disaster.
Include procedures for restoring data from a backup. Include as well procedures for dealing with the aftermath of a disaster such as reporting the incident and notifying customers.
- Educate employees on data backup and recovery procedures.
For example, you can provide regular training sessions on data backup and recovery procedures, as well as make sure that all employees know how to backup and restore their own files.
- Consider implementing cloud-based backup solutions for additional security and accessibility. You can use a cloud-based backup service such as Carbonite or Backblaze to store multiple copies of your data in a secure, off-site location. This can provide additional protection against data loss caused by hardware failure or natural disasters.
See all articles for ISO/IEC 27001 Annex A here