The best and worst data backup solutions for small businesses

12 August 2022

Why backup data? Backing up business data is crucial for business continuity. Without a data backup, it could prove damaging for your business.

This also applies if you are guilty of the following scenario: having only one backup stored on a single device, that’s located inside your business. What if that device goes missing or is stolen, or the backup is accidentally deleted? All your business data will be gone in an instant.


What is a data backup?

A backup is normally carried out by a business or IT professional periodically. It is made up of a series of short term images of data, and used for disaster recovery purposes.
When thinking about what your business needs to back up, its important to identify any critical data. Then, you can then begin implementing backups of that data on a regular basis. Each business varies on what data it decides to back up; many include everything from accounting files right through to their emails.

To help determine what data is business critical, think about whether losing the data will interfere with the running and success of your business operations - if so, back it up.


image of an old floppy disc to store business data and files on

What are the different types of backup?

There are three main types of backup: full, differential and incremental.

Full Backup
The most complete type of backup; it includes files, folders, SaaS applications, hard drives and more. With this backup, it requires minimal time to restore as everything is backed up in one go, however it does take longer to carry out a backup.

Differential Backup
This type of backup involves one full back up being carried out at the beginning, and then only backing up data that was created or changed since that last full backup. When restoring, it only requires two backup components: the initial full backup and the last differential backup that was made. The differential backup will contain all the data that has changed since the last full backup.

Incremental Backup
This backup involves taking a full backup and then subsequently only backing up what has changed since the last backup. During a restore, the full backup would need to be installed first, and then all the incremental backups layered on top in the correct order.
When you have decided on the type of backup that is needed for your business, you can then begin to think about the different types of data storage solutions.

The different types of data storage solutions for small businesses

You may have a good idea of the different types of data storage solutions already available, as no-doubt you will have encountered them in your personal and professional life.

From offline backup solutions to online backup services, or even more traditional solutions such as on-premise backup solutions and off-site backup.

Here’s a list of all the different types of backup services and storage available to businesses:

• Cloud storage
• Local data backups
• Online backup services
• USB drives
• External hard drives
• Local Area Network (LAN) storage
• Tape storage

What are the best (and worst) solutions for backing up your business data?

We’ve briefly touched on this before, but having one backup solution on one device is one of the worst methods to rely on when backing up your business data. And, unsurprisingly, there are countless more, which we’ll cover below.

But, we don’t like to just focus on the negative, so we’ll also explore the best solutions for backing up your data.

Equipped with knowledge of the best solutions, you can make sure your business is resilient and as prepared as possible for any disaster or event. Preparation is key. So here are the best and worst solutions for backing up your data.

Best solutions for business data backup:

Backing up your data to multiple data centres

It is good practice to back up your business data to multiple data centres. This ensures that, if things go wrong, you have a failsafe disaster recovery plan with multiple backup options.
Initially, this can seem overwhelming and overly cautious, so it’s wise to have a backup strategy in place to help you coordinate this process.

The majority of your business data will be held on a server. This is an important place to start as you can select which files need to be saved on a regular basis, and which systems only require monthly backups before and after any upgrades or changes.
When considering different data centres to back your business data up to, you’ll want to make sure access to the data backups is restricted and the device/ system holding the original copy is not permanently connected to your local network.

It is wise to consider storing backups in different locations, so that fire or theft can’t affect the copies.

Several recovery options to provide a fail-safe data-loss

You can never be too prepared when it comes to your data and ensure its backed up properly. That’s why it’s a great plan to have several different disaster recovery options to ensure fail-safe business data loss.

By having an original backup on reliable media in a different location to your office, as well as several other copies, and business data backed up on cloud technology, you can put in place a disaster recovery plan that won’t let you down.

Built-in ransomware protection

When deciding on the right media or cloud solution for your business backups, make sure that it has built-in ransomware or cyber security protection. Without it, your data backup is vulnerable to attack or could become infected with malicious software that could infiltrate your IT systems if you were to use the backup.

Plan your online backups

After you’ve taken a look through what needs to be backed up, you can then decide how frequently backups need to take place. This will largely depend on how critical the information is.

Make use of cloud technology

With a cloud service provider such as AWS, Google, or Microsoft Azure, you’ll always have an off-site backup copy. A cloud copy will mean that, in the event of a fire, theft or something else unforeseen, you won’t lose your backup and can ensure business continuity.

With cloud storage, the main consideration you’ll need to look at in-depth is what security measures different cloud providers have in place.

Worst solutions for backing up business data:

The worst solution of all is not backing up your data and/or having a disaster recovery plan at all. Without backup data, your business is in a position where you cannot ensure business continuity nor have a method of recovering lost data if things go wrong. It leaves you vulnerable during a cyber-attack, and would mean recreating lost data and proving costly in terms of time and resources.

Only having one backup -
 this copy could prove unreliable, or susceptible to a media/ device failure. While the intention is there, only having one backup for your entire business is risky. It could fall victim to a hardware failure, be accidentally overwritten or go missing. It’s always better for your business to be prepared, have multiple backups in both on-site and off-site locations to prepare for all eventualities.

Using old or traditional backup systems - these types of backup systems are notoriously inefficient and unreliable when it matters most. There is nothing worse than being involved in a cyber-attack, needing to recover your systems, and realising the hardware you’ve used has been corrupted or not able to restore your business data. If you’ve been using the same backup system for 10+ years, then you’re putting your business and data at great risk. It’s time to migrate!

The most common issues that can occur with these types of traditional backups include: recovery failure, data corruption, broken backup chain, infrequent backups, slow recovery, limited recovery options, system inefficiency, vulnerability to ransomware and vulnerability to on-site disasters.

Relying on paper copies of your data - Paper copies of business documents are not considered a good enough backup, and certainly don’t allow for adequate data protection. What if the paper copies go missing, are stolen, or the building that houses them is involved in a fire? Data backups in various forms are the way forward and if this is your business, its time for digital transformation.

Why data backup solutions are important for your business?

Most of us intrinsically know that having a business data backup is a sensible and important thing to do to ensure business continuity, minimise business disruption and damage if things go wrong.

But, if those reasons don’t quite convince you, then we’ve prepared a few others as to why it’s important to back up your business’s data.

• Data is essential for enabling the day to day running
• Allows you to keep a secure archive of important business information, from classified documents to accounting files and more
• In the event of data loss, you can quickly and seamlessly restore devices and/ or networks
• Forward-planning and disaster preparedness means, if you suffer data loss, you guarantee business continuity and won’t jeopardise your client relationships or harm your reputation and public trust remains strong
• Meet compliance regulations as backups, especially using cloud services, are a secure place to store your data
• You avoid downtime and save time

How to establish a solid backup strategy and data backup system?

With the following simple, three steps, you can ensure you establish a seamless and secure data backup system:

• Remember to back up your business data regularly
• Create backups on reliable applications or in the cloud
• If relying on physical applications, keep these devices in a secure, off-site location

Looking to secure your business data and ensure its backed up? Consult Bluecube

If you’re having trouble with your old data backup systems, or you’re looking to upgrade to a modern, secure and reliable cloud solution, contact Bluecube today. Give our cloud storage and data experts a call on 0845 257 8010, alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form, and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.