The information on your server is critical to you or your business. If you have a website with user data, then it’s critical to them as well. Because of this, your website needs to not only be secure, but constantly backed up as well. After all, what are you going to do if you’re hacked today and everything is deleted? You need to backup your data.
Incorporating a backup plan into your daily operations ensures the website can be easily restored if something goes wrong. Having a backup means your website can be migrated to another domain if you need to continue operations while the issue is sorted out.
Here are a few crucial elements to include in your data backup plan:
1. Regularky backup
The first step in the ‘best backup practices’ is to make sure you keep regular backups of your data. For important websites, such as ecommece or news sites, data should be backed up at least once a day. In order to save space, only customer profiles and orders may be needed here. Other websites should have backups created at least once a week.
A backup of your website should always be made prior to implementing any new features. And at least once a month be sure to backup the entire site and not just the crucial files. Be sure to make a full backup of the website before you integrate any new changes, and at least once a month as well.
Even though constant backups take up hard drive space, they are worth more than losing all of your data due to a malicious attack or hardware failure.
2. Keep backups for at least three months
All backups should be kept for at least three months and not deleted as a new one is created. This ensures that you can revert to any previous files or folders. If someone manages to inject malicious code into your website, you’ll be able to review the site’s code over a number of weeks to pinpoint the problem.
These older backups will allow your developers to isolate where a problem may have occurred and where it can be fixed.
3. Keep on-site and off-site backups
In order to make sure you backups are protected, be sure to keep them in a secure place on the server (not in the root directory or its subfolders). Off-site copies should be kept as well, in order to maximise redundancy.
Whether you’re transferring the data to another server or downloading it to a hard drive, if there’s a problem with your webhost or server, you will at least have a physical version somewhere you can restore.
4. Encrypt backups
In order to add an extra layer of security, all backups should not only be encrypted, but password protected as well. This can be done when the files are compressed in order to save space.
The double-layer of security presents a difficult challenge for anyone trying to access the sensitive information. Though you can use a universal password in order to keep things secure, a hashing system may be a better option as it’s more secure and far harder to ‘crack’.
5. RAID arrays
When storing backups, it is recommended to have them kept on a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) configurations, such as RAID 0, which mirrors your data across several drives. This offers additional redundancy and if one drive gives in, the data still exists on a separate one.
The RAID system shouldn’t just be implemented in order server. Any device used to transfer your data, such as keeping an offline backup of the files.