While you might be able to take out an insurance policy to cover the costs of losing your website or data, no policy is going to bring your data back. So, if hacking, malware, human error or hardware failure strike and you don’t want to have to start from scratch, the only genuine insurance you can have is a backup. Here, we explain why backups are so important and provide a practical guide to putting a good backup solution in place.
Why backups are essential
Storing any data electronically comes with a risk. It is at risk of deletion, ransomware encryption and corruption from hackers and malware, accidental deletion from human error and of being destroyed by hardware failure, whether on a pen drive, PC or high-performance server. If this happens, the consequences for businesses can be devastating. If you lose your company’s website and it takes several months to rebuild and get back online, your losses, together with the cost of restoration, might result in your firm going under – this, unfortunately, is what happens to 60% of affected businesses.
Having a backup plan in place makes all of these devastating consequences preventable, as you will always have another copy of your website and data available to get back up and running quickly. To make sure you do this effectively, here’s our point by point guide to putting an effective backup solution in place.
Store your backups remotely
If you store a backup on the same machine as the things you have backed up, you risk losing both the original data and the backup if something goes wrong. Your backup should be stored remotely, not just on another server or machine, but at a different geographical location. If you backup your business system and keep the backup files in the same building, you still risk losing them from a major incident like a fire or a flood. If they are backed up online, however, they can be stored securely hundreds of miles away.
Take backups regularly
If you are going to restore your website and data, you don’t want your backup to be out of date. Indeed, you might be surprised by how often your website and data change. Website software, like WordPress, for example, updates automatically, while your customers might make new orders or update their payment information without you knowing. If your backup is out of date, you may end up replacing your website with one that has out of date vulnerable software and cause problems by not having customers’ correct orders or personal details.
Backups should be taken regularly at the frequency your business needs. At WHUK, we provide free daily backups with many of our hosting plans, however, if you are not on one of these plans or need to back up much more often, our Website and Server Backup Solutions offer continuous data protection with automatic, scheduled backups at the frequency you need.
While backups offer security should the worst happen, you need to make sure that they, too, are secure. A backup might contain corrupted data. If it does, it might be impossible to use it for recovery. For this reason, you should choose a backup solution, like WHUK’s, that checks your backups for integrity to make sure they will work. If one doesn’t, you’ll be informed so that you can take another.
At the same time, you also need to make sure your backup is protected against hacking. At WHUK, we do this by encrypting your backups with powerful, military-grade, AES encryption.
Back up everything you need
When it comes to ensuring you are backing up everything you need, there’s one simple rule: if you can lose it, then back it up. Don’t just think about website content and user data, think also about backing up your website software, themes and plugins, your email accounts, messages and attachments and any other applications you use. If necessary, back up your entire server.
Of course, if you are backing up entire servers and have a lot of data and software stored on them, you will need more space to store everything, especially if you are making lots of backups and keeping them for longer.
It is vital that you have enough space, otherwise you might be prevented from making those all-important new, up-to-date copies. There is a wide range of places you can store your backups, including on portable drives, PCs and services like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive. However, if you have bigger demands, then the best solution is to store backups in the cloud as you can scale up storage on demand if you are running low.
Make sure you can recover quickly
If you suffer a data loss, the shorter your recovery time the less your business will suffer. While any backup will be quicker than starting from scratch, the ease at which you can access and restore those backups can be crucial in reducing downtime. Rather than store backups on portable drives or third-party cloud services where you’ll need to download and upload data before restoring, it is much quicker if your files are stored with your service provider. Here, you can have instant access via your client area and can recover your data at the click of a button. Additionally, at WHUK, there’s the reassurance that if you need assistance with your recovery, our experienced technical support team are available 24/7 to help.
Data loss can happen in many ways and cause tremendous problems. A backup solution is, therefore, essential. At WHUK, many of our hosting plans come with free daily backups included, which is ideal for most businesses. For those opting for more advanced hosting solutions or companies requiring more than one backup a day, our Website and Server Backup Solutions provide the continuous business protection they require. Of course, you can also make your own backups through cPanel, if you’d prefer.
For more information about our automated, remote backup plans, visit our Website and Server Backup Solutions page.