Nowadays, digital data is everything. Like profits and property, it needs to be secure, but it’s unfortunately not as simple as installing locks and cameras. Instead, small businesses need a comprehensive data backup plan with full IT support.
But what exactly is data backup and why is it important? Let’s examine the consequences of not having an adequate data backup plan and how a managed service provider helps businesses avoid those problems through a range of services.
The Consequences of Data Loss for a Small Business
To illustrate the importance of data backup, let’s begin with an example. After working on a paper all night, the power goes out. Because you didn’t save, you lost hours of work. In another heartbreaking scenario, you saved everything to a USB drive, but lost it.
In the business world, data loss happens for even more reasons, including:
- Human error (deleting, editing or misplacing files accidentally)
- Hardware theft or destruction
- Computer viruses
- Natural disasters
- Power loss
For a small business, those events can be devastating. In an annual survey featured in data security publication Help Net Security, 42% of businesses reported data losses that resulted in downtime in 2019. When employees don’t have data backups, they can’t work or provide customers with the services they need. In extreme cases, this could last for days or weeks, a timeframe that might spell doom for a small business.
Losing your own data can cause hiccups or dire consequences for operations, but losing customer data means losing trust. With a gap in customer data, you may miss appointments and lose contact information, leaving your customers distraught and dissatisfied.
Redundancy: The First Line of Defense
The primary defense against catastrophic data loss is redundancy. In the tech world, redundancy means storing data in multiple places. This is the crux of every data backup plan.
However, data backup isn’t just about saving a file on two different computers or on a USB drive. If done that way, your data is still exposed to the same threats. That’s where a managed service provider, or MSP, comes in.
With an MSP, your data is stored off-site on multiple servers. As an added bonus, software from an MSP often automatically backs up data meaning there’s no need to do it yourself. Because human error is one of the leading causes of data loss, automation is key to a robust data backup plan.
Encryption and Security
For a data backup plan to be effective, it needs to be built on multiple pillars. If redundancy is the first pillar, security is its second, equally as important counterpart.
A managed service provider doesn’t just copy all of your important files and save them on one of their own servers. They encrypt files so they’re locked in a data backup vault so prying eyes can’t read them.
Hackers stealing data isn’t just a plot device from a political thriller full of blackmail and intrigue. In 2020, 155.8 million records were exposed in data breaches. In the wrong hands, seemingly unimportant files containing invoices and phone numbers have enough information in them for criminals to get away with identity theft or worse.
A data backup plan isn’t just protective — it’s proactive. After a short power outage, a business might experience hiccups long after the power comes back on. Devices need to be restarted over and over again. For whatever reason, your files aren’t loading. There’s a disconnect somewhere, but you can’t find it.
If your files are stored with an MSP, they can have you back to normal operations in a relatively short amount of time. While you field calls from customers and restores order in a hectic office, they’re already working diligently to make sure file access is restored. A holistic data backup service includes full, around-the-clock IT services that help you reduce downtime.
Flexibility with Remote Work
With many businesses allowing employees to work from home either all or some of the time, cohesion can be an issue. In industries that rely on sales teams working in different areas, organized, updated data is crucial.
In this case, your data backup plan should include a cloud storage service. Basically, this means that all of your companies files are stored in a secure location on the internet. This allows remote workers to access files from anywhere on almost any device.
Cloud storage should also come with security measures that protect your files from human error and other data loss threats. This might include:
- Limiting file access to certain users
- Providing secure login and file access via custom security protocols such as passwords and authentication
- Syncing file updates across the whole network
Employees don’t need to be on the business’s network to get work done and share data. They can connect securely through a web browser and turn anywhere into a mobile office.
In many industries such as law, medicine, and finance, maintaining email archives for a set number of years is a legal requirement. For commercial businesses, it’s not a requirement, but it’s still a good idea. You may need to reference conversations with clients about contracts or settle disputes between coworkers.
Saving every message to your email account gets messy and can even get in the way of productivity. Instead, an MSP can keep every work email saved for you in an easily-accessible, encrypted archive with unlimited storage. There’s no need to lose important emails in a sea of seemingly unimportant conversations.
Ready To Safeguard Your Small Business With a Data Backup Service?
If the consequences of data loss seem insurmountable, rely on Coban Computer Services of New Jersey for comprehensive data backup services. From secure data vaults to cloud solutions and full IT support, our clients across 50 cities and seven states depend on us. To learn more about how we can scale our services to fit your small business, contact us today.