How Often Should You Be Backing Up Your Data?

Short Answer: Probably More Often Than You Think.

It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re about to head out the door. As you’re reaching over to switch off your monitor, the thought goes through your head: “I wonder if I should back this up?” 

Let’s be real: not all businesses are as responsible with their data as they could be. Over the past decade bad backup habits have become a major issue. Ransomware attacks and data breaches are more and more common—and more and more destructive. These days, it’s not about what will happen if your data is stolen, but when. 

Losing company data, client information, transaction histories, and network functionality can all happen in the blink of an eye, but recovery and business continuity aren’t impossible—if you do one very important thing:

Frequent. Backups.

You can protect your company with a proactive plan to ward off cyberattacks and make sure you have your crucial company documents stored in multiple locations.

So how often should you back up? 

Every week? Every hour? Every year?  Well… it depends! 

It’s not one size fits all, but…

Our minimum general recommendation is to back up every day.  

However, if you’re wondering why, or thinking every day might not be the best option for your company, you’re likely ahead of the game. When planning backup frequencies, the main factors are 

(1) how risk-averse your company is (or how cautious you would like to be), 

(2) how dynamic your data is, and 

(3) how much it might cost your business to lose your data at a given point during the day. 

Let’s look into these factors a little further: 

1. Staying Wary & Risk Averse 

Many factors could be affecting how risk averse your business is at the moment. If your company hangs on to sensitive data (like social security or bank account numbers), you’re likely more of a target than you realize. Additionally, going through an expansion or any type of big change could make you less secure. We like to think of the classic adage, “better safe than sorry,” when considering how risk impacts backup frequency. 

2. Transactional and Dynamic Data 

Not all data is created equally, and depending on your business operations, you might need to be backing up multiple times a day. Keeping stored information safe and current is crucial, and if your data is transactional or dynamic in a different way, consider increasing the frequency of backups. Often there’s very little additional cost to do multiple backups each day! 

3. Cost of Productivity 

How much would it cost your company to lose operations for a day? Consider the impact of IT downtime: it could mean no purchases, no calls, and no bookings. Longer term it might mean repairs, issues with payroll, and reputational damage. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600/per minute. If you don’t back up frequently, this number could explode to daily and weekly costs. We don’t know about you, but we’d say that’s a lot of revenue to risk. 

Other Factors to Consider: 

Apart from the big three above, you may have other considerations more specific to your company. These include timing, bandwidth, and what kind of backups are best for your operations. Ideally, you’ll want to back network material up every day, but at a time which minimally impacts user experience. Often, the solution is identifying the least busy periods for your data (at night when fewer people are working, for example) and scheduling backups for then. 

You should also investigate what internal workstations are worth backing up, in addition to your servers. Accounting or engineering workstations with particularly dynamic or sensitive data are often good candidates. 

Ready to get rid of backup anxiety? Give us a call at  (530) 342-8999.