Backups for your business data

If you run a business, you know how important it is to keep your data safe. If it’s compromised in any way, you'll need to make sure you have a backup available to restore it quickly and easily.

Consider doing backups for both your data and your website

You need to backup data for the pieces that make up your website — like the servers and the pages themselves — and the data inside, like the user or customer databases.

Your website could be a marketing website that just explains what your business does, with a simple contact us form. In this case, it’s more important that you back up the website itself, including all your pages and images. You can use these backups to revert your website to the way it was before it was taken down or before an attacker added their own pages and files.

Alternatively, your website could be collecting information from your customers, such as payment or personal information. This data is important to back up because if an attacker accesses your web server and infects it with ransomware, or modifies the information, it’s not easy to get it back.

Check to see who backs up what

Your hosting provider may provide a service to you where they perform backups of your website and your data. You need to ask them to see who’s responsible for backing up:

  • the servers that support your website
  • the data collected through the website.

If your hosting provider is responsible, it’s important to ask if they would charge you for restoring your website and data from backups. Some hosting providers may charge for this service, and it’s better to know upfront when you’re picking a hosting provider. It’s also good to ask how often they do backups, and how long they keep the backups for. This will help you understand how much data may be lost if you had a problem.

If you outsource managing your backups to someone else, make sure these points are still being addressed by the person who looks after it for you.

Set your backups to happen automatically

If you’re responsible for doing your own backups, set them to happen automatically. That way you don’t have to think much about them. Consider how important the data that you’re backing up is. If your website doesn’t change much, you could set it to back up less often. If you collect data from your customers on a daily basis and you can’t afford to lose it, you could run backups more often.

If possible, set the backups to email you if they fail. This will give you a sign that something’s wrong and needs to be looked into.

Test them every now and again

When you backup your data, it creates a new file which holds a copy of your data. Sometimes the copy fails, and it’s important to fix this before the backup needs to be used. Set a time in your diary to check on your backups. You can try:

  • restoring your website from a backup to test the entire backup, or
  • restoring data from a single database to test part of your backups.

Store them somewhere safe

Backups should be stored in a safe location that’s easy to get to — and not on your own server.

Storing them in the cloud is one option, but it’s good to remember that restoring your website from a cloud backup may be a slow process. It could take a while to get your website back up and running again.