The 10 Percent Rule for Backing Up Your Data – Small Business Trends

The 10 Percent Rule for Backing Up Your Data – Small Business Trends

Everyone wants their data to be protected, but not everyone puts in the legwork required to ensure their data is safe. Most people take the “set it and forget it” approach when really they should be following the 10 percent rule.

Set It and Forget It

There are three common mistakes that businesses make when backing up their data:

1. No testing: When businesses back up their data, many assume their data is there, faithfully waiting for them in the same condition in which it was left. The truth is backup is not a flawless process. Glitches occur and hardware fails. The only way to make sure that data is intact and that all systems are go is to routinely test the data you’re backing up. When you test your data, not only do you have peace of mind, but you also have the opportunity to catch a problem before it becomes a disaster.

2. No planning: No one thinks that a disaster is going to happen to them, but the reality is that unforeseen events do take place. A lot of businesses back their data up, but they spend little time thinking about the recovery process. The first step is to think about the recovery and work backwards from there.

3. Backing everything up: Not all data is created equal. If your house were on fire, would you run in to save a ballpoint pen? No, you would run in to make sure no one was in the house. It’s the same thing with data. If disaster strikes, you want to make sure you can access the most critical data immediately.

OK, so now you know what to avoid when protecting your data. What can and should you be doing? First, you must understand the 10 percent rule.

What is the 10 percent rule?

Only 10 percent of your data is critical.

That’s right. That means that 90 percent of your company data is mostly static. Does that mean that you don’t need to protect that 90 percent? Not at all. It means that you should prioritize. As noted above, not all data is created equal. If your systems encounter a widespread failure, you want to have a plan in place that recovers the most essential information right away. That way, business downtime is reduced. If you don’t prioritize your data, you’ll waste your time recovering non-critical data and your downtime could be much, much longer.

So what exactly does critical mean?

Critical varies from organization to organization, but if a file does not change within a certain amount of time, it should be moved into a retention vault. Only changing data should be considered critical.

While all data is arguably important, organizations need a structured or tiered approach to ensure critical applications and systems are operational first. Once these systems are running and accessible, the static, non-critical files can be restored.

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