How to get started on your backup plan

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In our last blogpost we discussed the need for and different types of backups. In this post, we’re going to look at what to consider in and how to create a backup plan. 

Start with what needs to be backed up to ensure your business operations can recover quickly. Then, consider how often your information needs to be saved and how it’s stored. Finally, come up with a plan to test and monitor your backup system regularly. In our next blogpost we’ll talk about recovery plans. 

The first step of your backup plan is to organize your data and determine which data needs to be backed up frequently and which data occasionally. You may have sales data that needs a daily backup. Perhaps you have archives that changes rarely that only require a monthly backup. Sort the data into categories from most to least critical for your business operations to run smoothly. 

Once you have your data organized, you need to look at how often each category needs to be backed up. To plan for all of this you need to come up with Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). 

The Recovery Point Objective defines how long your organization can go before backing up. Can your organization lose 6 hours of data and recover quickly? A day? A week? 

The Recovery Time Objective defines how long it will take to restore your data from your backups and return to normal operations. Include in the RTO the time it takes to restore your applications (like Office 365 or Adobe Creative Suite). Obviously, you don’t want your organization inoperable for days or weeks. Again, we’ll discuss the RTO more in our next post on recovery plans. 

Your RPO and RTO are your best indicators of how often you need to backup each category of data. 

The next step of your backup plan is to address how your organization stores its backups.  The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a division of Homeland Security recommends following the 3-2-1 backup rule:

3 – Keep 3 copies of any important file: 1 primary and 2 backups.
2 – Keep the files on 2 different media types to protect against different types of hazards. 
1 – Store 1 copy offsite (e.g., outside your home or business facility). 

Finally, you need to test your backup system to make sure everything runs smoothly. Verify everything – and make sure everything is backed up – be sure you can restore your email, your website data, your files, and your applications. Look for holes or bugs and adjust accordingly. 

Quick checklist:

  1. Organize data into categories
  2. Determine your Recovery Plan Objective and Recovery Time Objective
  3. Determine the frequency of your backups for each category
  4. Backup your data using the 3, 2, 1 rule
  5. Test, test, test. 

Need help creating and implementing a backup plan? Don’t be intimidated – let us help. Contact us at for a free consultation.

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