Data Backup: Three Ways Your Staff Can Ruin Your Backup Strategy

Data Backup: Three Ways Your Staff Can Ruin Your Backup Strategy

Let’s say you have intelligently focused on ensuring your business has a strong data backup and disaster recovery plan. All your files, applications and servers are being backed up and you feel good about things.

If you are really on the ball, you have your data backup tested regularly so that you know your important files and applications will be available when you need them.

But there is one potential hitch in your otherwise strong data backup plan – your staff and colleagues. Here’s why.

How Best Practices Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Systems Work

The highest quality and most reliable backup systems use image-based software that will backup an entire server, making file or full server restoration quite straightforward.

The challenge with this approach is it relies on users saving their data on your organization’s file server. If they don’t do this, you are at risk of losing important data if a laptop gets lost or stolen. If an employee quits or gets fired, the likelihood of you having this data for the future isn't great.

You could extend backup to all the computers in your company but there is usually a significant licensing cost to do this and extra overhead on your network. Most organizations do not opt for this route and train staff instead.

In order to properly train your team, you need to understand what they could do to damage your backup strategy.

How Your Staff Can Ruin Your Backup Strategy

  • Saving files on their desktop or in My Documents – if your team is doing this, they are saving important company information to their computer hard drive which is not being backed up. There are ways to change desktop settings to prevent this but user training is still important.
  • Storing files only on tablets – like computers, tablets aren’t usually being backed up beyond personal backup accounts like iCloud or through apps that sync like EverNote. With more bring your own device (BYOD) practices in place, you likely don’t have access to these backups should a staff member leave. Educating them on the importance of saving on the network is critical here.
  • Deleting files (ooops!) and not telling anyone – no one likes to get in trouble from the boss when they make a mistake and people can be reluctant to admit their goofs. Best practices backup software has retention which make it possible to restore files deleted with human error but the likelihood of this decreases the longer it takes before the deletion is identified.

You can see the common thread here. Just like with security, your biggest vulnerability is your users. Part of any staff member’s onboarding and ongoing training needs to be about data storage and backup practices. Think about adding information on this to training manuals and hosting periodic lunch and learns.

Have you had challenges with how staff save files on your network? Please comment or share this article with your experience.