Backups: How to back up your data correctly

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Illustration representing backups

Author: Michael Dudli

Category: Cyber-Security / Backup

August 18, 2021

Data leaks and data thefts cost billions every year. They also lead to sometimes irreparable damage to your reputation. With the right backup solution, you can avoid data loss even in the event of natural disasters or hacker attacks.

In this blog post about backups and data protection, we explain why data is so valuable - and therefore worth protecting - for businesses, give an overview of backups and help you choose the right backup solution for your business.

How backups work

Backups, often called data backups in German, are copies of externally stored computer data so that they can be used to restore the original data after a data loss. Backups therefore help to restore computer equipment in the event of a disaster or data after files have been damaged or deleted. A backup is about making a copy for safekeeping. A backup system contains at least one copy of all data to be backed up. It is essential that this copy is kept in a different location from the original files. If the backup copies are stored on the same hardware and this hardware is damaged, the backed-up data can be lost along with the originals.

Why you should protect your data as best you can

Data is ubiquitous, exists in different forms, and creates combined patterns. When these patterns are networked with other data sources, clusters are formed. It is assumed that the amount of data will increase exponentially in the future. Without appropriate evaluation and analysis, data is of little value; it must be put into context in order to create value for companies. This involves processing large amounts of data regardless of source and format. The right data and patterns help to make business-critical decisions. Data is sometimes referred to as the most important currency of the digital world and data scientists are convinced that companies in all industries could benefit from the targeted use of data.

Data breaches and leaks can mean the end for companies

Data loss can cost millions, cause irreparable reputational damage and lead to criminal investigations. Many companies take years to recover from the consequences of hacker attacks or data theft, and for quite a few businesses data loss means the end. "Information technology, as we all know, is making tremendous strides, making it possible to collect and correlate enormous amounts of personal data. Unfortunately, the security awareness of data processors often does not keep pace with the technical innovations," writes the Swiss Data Protection and Information Commissioner in this regard.

Data leaks can have devastating consequences, ranging from financial losses to reputational damage to criminal prosecution. Find more resources on cyber security, data protection and backups here:

Data is becoming more and more valuable and backups more and more important

In a 2019 survey conducted by the consulting firm Deloitte, 96 percent of respondents said that data analytics will play a more important role in their organisations in the future. Just under half of all survey participants (49 percent) believe that the greatest benefit of data analytics is the ability to make informed decisions. Nearly two-thirds of survey participants said that data analytics plays a central role in advancing business strategy. As the importance of data increases, so does the importance of having the right backup solution. The purpose of backups is to create a copy of the data that can be restored if the primary data fails.

Xelon's cyber security and data protection experts advise companies of all sizes to regularly review their security concept. This way, any weaknesses can be discovered and remedied. Would you like to know whether your security strategy is up to date and whether your backup solution protects important data and systems in the best possible way? Contact us for a no-obligation consultation..

What backups are needed for

As described above, backups help restore data after files have been damaged or deleted. Primary data failures can be the result of hardware or software failure, data corruption, or a man-made event such as a cyber-attack or accidental deletion of data.

These are the questions you should ask yourself before choosing a backup solution

Which software your company should use to back up data depends on three factors:

  • Retention period: How long do you want to be able to retrieve the backups and restore the lost data?
  • Administration: Do you have sufficient technical know-how? How much time can you spend on backups? Have you budgeted for any licensing costs?
  • Devices: What should be backed up? Depending on whether you are dealing with physical servers, virtual machines or a cloud infrastructure, different backup solutions are available. In the next sections we provide a brief overview of backup options.

How to find the right backup solution

Backups for on-premise infrastructures and dedicated servers are often created with the software Acronis. For virtual environments and on-premise virtualised environments, Xelon's security experts recommend Veeam Cloud Connect Backup. This is a powerful, easy-to-deploy cloud technology that IT service providers can use as a basis for online backups.

Xelon is a certified Veeam partner and, with a price of six centimes per gigabyte and six francs per virtual machine, has the most attractive Veeam cloud backup offer in Switzerland for for IT service providers. Are you interested in a Veeam backup solution? Contact us now.

Companies that manage their IT infrastructure on our Swiss cloud platform - Xelon HQ - can use Xelon HQ Backup. This backup solution integrated in Xelon HQ enables the daily backup of complete servers as well as agent-based backups of files and applications. You can configure backup jobs directly on your device. Your backups are sent to an external data centre in Switzerland and stored there. "With this option, you don't have to take care of the backups yourself. Neither technical know-how nor prior knowledge is necessary. In addition, there are no licensing costs for customers," explains Matias Meier, Head of Technology at Xelon.

Backup versus snapshot: Can you only back up data with snapshots?

Files and data that are continuously updated remain a challenge for many backup solutions. One way to back up live data is to shut it down temporarily, take a snapshot and then resume live operation. Snapshots are useful for quickly saving a specific state of your system. This can be done before an update, for example, so that you can quickly access it if needed. However, snapshots are not intended to back up entire servers. You should use backup functions to save your data and store it in another location so that the data is not lost when the server is deleted.

In this article in Xelon Docs you can learn more about backups and snapshots on the Swiss cloud platform Xelon HQ.

Cloud backup in the ISO-certified Swiss data centre

Regardless of the backup solution chosen, Xelon guarantees the highest security and data protection standards. The backup infrastructure is located in our ISO-certified data centres in Switzerland and all data is subject to Swiss data protection. Since summer 2020, Xelon has been ISO 27001 certified, the leading international standard for information security management systems and the most important cyber security certification.

Do you have questions about backups? Are you looking for a reliable backup solution that stores your data in Switzerland? Would you like feedback on your disaster recovery strategy? Contact us for a consultation.


Michael Dudli

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