A data backup stores a copy of the information on a computer to removable backup media that can be kept in a safe place. Backing up data is one of the most effective ways of protecting against data loss. Data can be lost or damaged in circumstances such as theft, equipment failure, or a disaster. If the computer hardware fails, the data can be restored from the backup to functional hardware.
Data backups should be performed on a regular basis and included in a security plan. The most current data backup is usually stored offsite to protect the backup media if anything happens to the main facility. Backup media is often reused to save on media costs. Always follow the organization’s media rotation guidelines.
These are some considerations for data backups:
- Frequency - Backups can take a long time. Sometimes it is easier to make a full backup monthly or weekly, and then do frequent partial backups of any data that has changed since the last full backup. However, having many partial backups increases the amount of time needed to restore the data.
- Storage - For extra security, backups should be transported to an approved offsite storage location on a daily, weekly, or monthly rotation, as required by the security policy.
- Security - Backups can be protected with passwords. The password is entered before the data on the backup media can be restored.
- Validation - Always validate backups to ensure the integrity of the data.