Protecting and accessing company data is an issue every modern business, large or small, needs to prioritize. According to 24/7 Wall Street, there have been 16% more data breaches in 2016 than during the same period in 2015, and this upward trend is not new. With data breaches on the rise each year, preserving irreplaceable data should be a priority for your company from day one. Almost everyone knows that it’s essential to have security measures in place for protecting sensitive data. However, many organizations fail to back up their information and protect those backups with the same level of security as the original data. Without backups, companies can find themselves scrambling to recover important data and protect customers and clients should breach or data loss occur. Your company can—and should—do better. Here are 4 best practices you can implement right away for creating and protecting backup data that can be accessed in case of an emergency.

1. Encrypt Your Data—and Your Backups

Encryption of your original data is an essential security step. Making sure your data is protected and requires authentication is the most basic of security measures, and every business should be using encryption to protect sensitive information. However, encryption of backup files is regularly overlooked, with i365 reporting that 60% of organizations that use tapes for backups don’t encrypt their backup data. Encryption for backup data should be used during both transmission and storage of data files to prevent breaches, whether backups are stored on tapes, hard drives, or cloud platforms.  

2. Use a Mobile Device Management System or Enterprise Mobile Management System

There are many advantages to Bring Your Own Device policies, and many employers permit or encourage employees to use their own computers, tablets, and smartphones for work purposes. However, there are greater risks to company data when these policies are implemented, and certain precautions must be taken to help control company data on employees’ personal electronics.

Companies can save money and increase productivity by implementing BYOD programs. However, 73% of organizations recognize that these programs involve higher security risks, and 25% of workers who used their own device for work during the last quarter of 2013 admitted to security issues with their device during that year.

Though security can be a challenge with BYOD programs, that doesn’t always mean companies should abandon the idea altogether. BYOD is not appropriate for every organization, but those companies that do implement the policy should be using Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) system. These systems are security software specifically designed for protecting employee devices and the sensitive data they contain. ACU estimates that by 2019, 65% of organizations will be using MDM or EMM software. Cloud-based solutions are an ideal solution for backing up data from mobile devices—as long as the cloud platform is secure.

3. Choose Reliable Partners

Some businesses use tapes to back up their data, but these can be unreliable and difficult to test, which is why many companies use other solutions, such as disk drives or cloud backups. Some storage systems require that companies work with a third party to store and secure backup data, since it’s ideal to have backup data stored offsite.

When choosing a data security partner, ensure that they are up to date with the best practices for compliance and take security seriously. i365 recommends using a vendor who completes a SAS-70 Type II audit each year to help your company comply with relevant laws. Your vendor should also have procedures in place should a breach occur, as it’s not always possible to prevent security compromises.

4. Back Up Your Data Frequently

It does your company very little good to maintain backups if those backups are not updated regularly. Best practices dictate that backups should be done at least daily, which can become an issue with more employees telecommuting than ever before. Around 30 million people work from home at least once a week in the US. However, software solutions can provide ongoing backup for data as it is created, storing it locally or on the cloud.

The Benefits of Responsible Data Backup

It’s easy to brush aside data security, backup, and recovery, until it becomes an issue. Unfortunately, once a breach has occurred or precious data is otherwise lost, it becomes much more difficult to control the damage and rebuild your company’s reputation. Data breaches regularly cost organizations millions—but that cost can be reduced by following these best practices and having preventative measures and contingency plans in place to keep your data safe and accessible in the event of a breach or data loss.