What’s the Best Way to Back Up Computers for Small Business?

Ethnic woman in a small business office holding a laptop. She's standing in front of a glass wall with servers behind it that are storing back ups.

Everyone loses data at some point, whether it’s a personal data loss or work-related. Your computer’s hard drive could fail, a software bug could delete files, or you could be the victim of ransomware that holds your files hostage.

For a business, a loss of data could mean loss of income and productivity, so keeping copies of your files and data is very important. If you experience a data loss but have been properly backing up your business data, you’ll be up and running after a simple restore.

So, what is the best way for a small business to back up its files and data?

Well, it depends on your IT setup.

A common question we ask: what is your business’ crown jewels and where are they stored?

It definitely starts the conversation and helps us identify what is most important to them.

Do you use endpoints and servers?

Data centre with servers that back up data for small business

Many organizations have endpoints (computers, laptops, mobile devices) that connect to a shared server. Typically, the server holds the majority of the data, and employees work on their devices then access the folders that they’ve been given access to.

A business that operates in this way would be foolish to not be backing up their server at the very least. That part is a no-brainer. However, these businesses should also consider backing up the employees’ endpoints. Here’s why.

People tend to work on files on their computers and laptops, and only upload them to the shared server once they’re done or they need to collaborate. This means that if their device is not being backed up and they suffer some sort of data loss, they could lose all those “work-in-progress” files, and any other data stored locally such as Keychain, browser bookmarks, or emails. Yikes!

  • We love Background Backup so much that it is part of our backup strategy. We highly recommend it for any client that uses endpoints or servers.

Do you use cloud applications?

Image of a blue cloud with the word Backup in it, with two-way arrows pointing from it to 5 technologies: a server, a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, and a mobile phone

IT spending has been steadily shifting from traditional on-premises offerings to cloud services over the past five years, and it’s continuing to grow. If your small business relies on any cloud-based technology, like Microsoft Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, you would likely consider using a SaaS backup solution to keep your data protected.

Software as a service (SaaS) allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. There’s a common misconception among SaaS users that they don’t need backups for their data because it exists in the cloud. However, this is patently untrue. SaaS applications are just as vulnerable to data loss as on-premise apps. Why? Because the #1 cause of data loss is human error. People delete stuff, open phishing emails, accidentally download malware, and more.

  • We’re a small business that uses Office 365 to collaborate, so in addition to Background Backup we also use Datto SaaS Protection Solutions. (We truly believe that you can never have too many backups!)

What to ask your IT provider about their backup solutions

If you’re a small business looking to set up a backup solution, first off, good for you! This is an important step to protecting your business’ data and files.

Here are some questions to ask your IT provider about their backup offering:

  • Are the backups stored in Canada?
  • Can you restore to a particular point in time?
  • Are you, as an IT provider, insured?
  • How often does the solution back up? (Every 15 minutes? At least once every hour?)
  • Is my information encrypted so that not even the provider can access the information without the password?
  • Does the backup solution do data deduplication? (this is more efficient because it backs up changes in the files, and not the entire file)
  • How does the solution notify us if there’s a problem with the backup that could prevent a future restore?

In addition, here are some questions to ask yourself about your backup strategy:

  • Is all my business data protected? Is there a blind spot I’m not aware of?
  • How easy is it for me to restore a file?
  • Would my future self thank me for my level of preparation?

Why should I back up my business’ computers and devices?

This is a question that we get quite often. Many small business owners believe that backing up their servers and shared folders is enough, but more often than not, it’s not enough. Here’s why you should consider backing up your endpoints as well.

Servers are slow and often underused

From our experience, employees tend to not like working off the shared server because it’s a slower experience. This is why they do most of their work locally, saving to their device, and only upload to the shared server once they’re ready for feedback or they’re finished. It would be a shame to lose these “work-in-progress” files in case of data loss.

Endpoints contain gold nuggets

Employee computers, laptops and mobile devices often contain what we like to call, “small files that have big value.” In addition to those important work-in-progress files mentioned earlier, they store many things stored locally that make it easier to work, and it would be a shame to lose. This includes:

  • all of your saved passwords, VPN shared secret, those supplier websites you only log into once a year (haha)
  • browser bookmarks
  • locally saved emails
  • snippets (a shorthand you type and the computer writes it fully)
  • playlists (like your productivity playlist!)
  • customized toolbars for frequently used programs like Word, Adobe CC
  • all your preferences for programs and applications

Talk to us today to see if your backup solution is protecting your small business like it should.

To find out how SupportMyMac can help your business with proactive and professional managed services, call us at 613-693-1964