Choosing the right data protection package for your situation is an important and essential decision, but, in a way, it is but only one of many concerns in securing the data. Here are five important issues to consider when planning a backup deployment:

1. Backup Everything

Gone are the days when all important data was stored on a central file server and all work confined to the office walls. Today, there may still be a central file storage location, but the data is spread across multiple devices — servers, workstations, and smartphones. Are you still backing up just the file server? It may not be enough for your business to survive. Experience shows that 25 percent of businesses don’t return to operation after a major disaster.

Your most important data may be on a device that is not protected, and losing just one device may have a very detrimental effect on the entire business. There is no excuse for not including all workloads — physical, virtual, on-premises, cloud — into your data protection plan. It’s not difficult. There are vendors that offer universal data protection solutions that are compatible with every server, workstation, mobile device and cloud account you may have in your business. Protect all data, because data matters.

2. Budget For Sufficient Storage

Many system administrators would be familiar with the dilemma of having to delete old data in order to free up space for new backups. Do you have enough capacity for store sufficient number of backups? In a recent research titled Discover the Truth About the Use of Disk, Tape and Cloud Backup in 2017, Gartner recommends to allocate enough backup disk capacity to retain four or more weeks of backup data. This is likely to satisfy 95 – 99 percent of all restoration requirements.

Gartner also advises against storing all data in the same location. Plan your data storage wisely. Use cloud for immediate disaster recovery and archiving. Use local storage, in multiple locations, for multi-year cold data retention. Apply different backup strategies for different types of data. Here, again, it should be mentioned that leading backup vendors will allow to setup multiple backup plans with multiple storage locations for the same data. This process is very easy, it just requires some clever planning on your part.

3. Prepare For Ransomware Attacks

Business data holds great value and remains a constant target for ransomware cyber-attacks. Criminals will find a way inside your infrastructure to encrypt the data and make it unusable until a ransom is paid. The only sure way to protect your business from ransomware is by having a reliable backup. The No More Ransom Project, set up by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre and a group of data security and data protection companies, recommends to create at least two backup copies of all data and store one of them in the cloud. However, if your backup software does not include active protection against ransomware, your backup files may still be vulnerable. Choose your vendor wisely.

4. Automate Your Backup

Backup automation and comprehensive reporting is the key to a successful backup strategy. When selecting your backup vendor — choose the one that is capable of backing up all devices and all workload with the package. Choose the one that has a central management interface. It will remove the complexity out of managing backup data and help you avoid black spots. Automate the backup process to avoid data loss to user error. Automate the error reporting to make issue resolution more timely and efficient.

5. Protect Data With Encryption

There may be no sure way to protect your infrastructure from hacking, but the least you can do is to make your data useless to hackers when the help of encryption. Modern-day backup vendors take encryption very seriously, but if often needs to be activated manually. It most cases it requires setting the encryption setting to “on” when creating a backup plan. A small tick in the box will keep your data secure, even if it’s hacked. One important point here is to clarify with your backup vendor as to at what stage the data is encrypted. The most secure solution does encryption on-device, before the data is copied to an external storage location or the cloud. This way your data will be protected, and compliant with data protection regulations, before it even leaves your premises.