4 Tips for Creating a Successful Backup Strategy

Businesses of all sizes lose an average of $4,500 for every minute of downtime they experience, and often that downtime is a result of data loss. Data loss can occur for a multitude of reasons, such as theft, natural disasters, software corruption, or human error. In addition, you can combat the adverse effects of data loss by creating a backup strategy.

What is a backup strategy?

A backup strategy is a plan made to ensure that essential business data is backed up and ready to restore if there is any kind of data loss. Organizations suffer from any downtime due to data loss, so it is crucial to minimize downtime as much as possible. Backup and disaster recovery (BDR) is essential to guaranteeing ongoing business operations.

How to create a backup strategy

Building a backup strategy can initially seem daunting, but it becomes much more manageable when broken down. A good starting point is to use designated backup software because the tools included in the software will be built to make backups easier. With the right tools in your hands, a backup strategy can be created with ease.

One commonly used plan is the 3-2-1 strategy. This entails having at least three copies of your data in different places, two copies on different mediums, and one copy somewhere off-site. This strategy aims to diversify where your backups are stored to ensure that your data is protected against any type of data loss situation.

This is an excellent standard strategy based on your organization’s backup strategy. But this strategy only covers where your backups are stored. You’ll need to decide on other elements that will significantly impact how successful your backup strategy is. Here are four steps to building an effective backup strategy:

1) Determine Data Importance and Availability

Each industry has various kinds of data they collect. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of which data is crucial for ongoing business operations because then you can prioritize the backup of that particular data.

Critical business data should also be available soon after a data loss event. First, decide how soon you’d like any lost data to be available and weigh it against the cost and resources of deploying and maintaining backups of various sizes. This often means deciding between onsite, offsite, or cloud-based backups.

2) Decide on Frequency and Regulation

When it comes to backing up your data, regulating the frequency of backups matters quite a bit. There are multiple backup types to choose from, and each can have varying frequencies. So, for example, in the case of a data loss event, the data you’re able to retrieve depends on the frequency of your backups. So, you’ll only be able to retain the most recently backed up data. Anything since then will be lost, and you’ll have to find a way to regain it.

This is also where regulation is key. Think about the amount of data your business currently has and how much it produces. Then, consider how often all of this data needs to be backed up. Finally, the regulation of your backups allows you to take control of and maintain your backup frequency and quality.

3) Deployment

The next step is to deploy your backups after you’ve thought about and planned how you’ll back up your data. For example, will you manually back up the information or assign it to a device or system to carry out the task?

It would be best if you also created a schedule based on the frequency of backups and data availability you decided on previously. Ensure that the number of times you deploy your backups matches your goals as part of your backup strategy.

4) Test your Restore Process

The final step for creating an efficient backup strategy is to ensure your backup procedure works through testing. It is never wise to assume that your backup strategy works without trying it out. A backup strategy ultimately fails if it doesn’t manage to back up your data and restore it seamlessly correctly.

Testing can be performed through the use of simulations. The simulations replicate what would happen in the event of an actual loss of data. When testing is carried out, it can provide you with important information, such as how quickly you can get your company back online. It also helps to show any issues with the backup and restoration process you might have overlooked or not known about previously.

Who needs a backup strategy?

Any organization with any sort of data stored on a device will need to create a backup strategy. Doing so will significantly decrease downtime and support ongoing business operations. Though some strategies may require less planning, work, or detail, every backup strategy is essential to continued business success. Having some type of backup strategy outlined in advance will equate to far less stress if data loss occurs.

Best Practices for Backup Strategies

Diversify your backups

There is always a risk with storing and preserving any digital information. Accidents and disasters come unexpectedly, so it’s impossible to know the perfect backup process for any data loss event. A smart move to prepare for the unexpected events that will surely come would be to diversify your backups by either sending them to multiple locations or storing them on different mediums.

Document your backup strategy

Once you’ve formulated your backup strategy, document and include it as part of your business processes; recording your backup strategy will increase the efficiency in which it is carried out and improve overall business outcomes. Check out IT Documentation best practices for tips on effectively documenting your strategic backup process.

Create a schedule

If you’ve figured out that performing one backup daily will help you reach your backup goals, then make sure you create a daily task to accomplish that. Set up a schedule in your organization to have backups consistently carried out by someone or a system. Performing them regularly will help to guarantee the safety of your data.


It can be challenging to remember to back up the data every time you schedule it, which often means that some backups get missed. Unfortunately, most businesses can’t afford to simply “forget” to back up their data, which is where automation comes into play. You can altogether avoid human error by using designated backup software with automation to schedule backups you don’t have to oversee.

Test restore

The whole reason organizations back their data up is so they can restore it in the future if needed. Thus, a backup strategy is only as good as its ability to restore the saved data effectively. Test your backups restore ability by using simulations that mimic actual disasters and data loss.

Continuously monitor

Make sure you don’t simply forget about your backup strategy. It is helpful to set it up, so you rarely have to interfere or fix anything, but that doesn’t mean you should let it slip from your mind. Consult backup reports regularly so you know what data was backed up, how it was backed up, and how it can be restored if needed.

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