When we talk with technology professionals, almost universally they point to backups being possibly the most important thing that any business will prioritize when considering their computers and business systems. But in the real world, backups and data protection often receives almost not attention. Why is this?
Backups are boring, they are invisible, they are easily forgotten. You don’t see them, you don’t deal with them, and you hope that you never need them. If you ignore your backups you might go years, possibly many years, without ever seeing a reason to have needed it. Like airbags in your car, you can drive possibly for decades without seeing any value to them; in fact you might forget that they are there. But when you need them, you have no time to decide to add them: you need them right that moment; and they can save your life.
Backups are the core protection for your business. How much would it cost you if you lost a record of your customers, lost track of billing, couldn’t produce financial records, and possibly stopped being able to make your own products! Every business is unique in how data loss will impact them, and often it is far more dramatic than we imagine. In a majority of cases, data loss without working backups isn’t just financially damaging – it actually causes businesses to close their doors for good.
The rule we live by is this: “If something is important enough to store, then it is important enough to back up.” This means if you don’t see the value in protecting a piece of data, you shouldn’t be paying for someone to create, collect, or store it in the first place.
If you have never tried it, do some role playing in your office. Sit down and run through what data loss would look like. Try to imagine how bad it will be. Then add in the feeling of panic; the pending sense of disaster not just for yourself but for staff. Some people feeling like maybe they are to blame, some worried that there won’t be money to pay them, many worried about the future of the company.
Backups protect against far more than just traditional disasters like hardware failure, fires, and floods. Backups protect against accidents, which everyone makes sometimes; select the wrong file, or the wrong button, and critical data might simply vanish. Backups protect against upset employees looking to lash out. Backups protect against malicious competitors who may hope to shut you down, or at least slow you down. And, more relevant than every today, backups are the last line of defense against the new and massive threat of ransomware.
While backups have always been possibly the most important thing any business can be concerned about when it comes to technology, the modern landscape where nearly all businesses end up facing regular ransom attacks on their data has taken the already incredibly high need for backups to a level never previously imagined. Without solid, tested backups today, a business has effectively guaranteed itself a disaster from which it will struggle to recover.