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Backing up data and other information assets is one of the most important activities an IT department performs, and it should also be a priority among senior management. One of the top considerations is how often your organization backs up data and other information resources.
You should try to back up as often as possible. Naturally, given the typical IT department's daily list of activities, data backups might be a secondary activity. Compared to launching a new system, reconfiguring network elements or evaluating new products and services, backups might not occur unless the organization has established a data backup process and team.
Automated backup, in which the backup engine is programmed to perform specific activities at designated times, can address that challenge. When performing backups, especially those with a significant frequency -- such as hourly backups -- the organization should consider such elements as network bandwidth and processing overhead.
If the backups move to an on-site repository, such as solid-state disk, RAID or NAS, bandwidth might not present much of an issue, especially if your organization designates dedicated network resources exclusively for backups. By contrast, off-site backups to alternate data centers, other offices or external third-party managed data backup resources might have bandwidth limitations based on backup frequency.
Streamline your backup with automation
Automated backup should factor in these considerations so that the organization can initiate a "set it and forget it" arrangement. This is the first benefit of automated backups: simplifying the backup process through automated scheduling.
A second benefit of automated backup is addressing a file loss situation. Assuming your organization regularly performs backups, the chances of lost data having been backed up improves with automated backups. While there's no substitution to backing up work files as often as possible -- and many applications can also perform automated backup -- the likelihood of losing in-use files and data still exists. Automated backups can help reduce the likelihood of an "oops" moment.
Regularly scheduled backups of active files, databases, virtual machines and other applications can improve disaster recovery and, by extension, business continuity -- a third benefit to automated backups. Whether on-site or remotely stored, availability of regularly backed up files and systems increases the likelihood of an organization's successful recovery from a system outage or a malware attack.
For many organizations, the recovery point objective (RPO) presents an additional important metric. A lower RPO value means your organization must back up data more frequently. Automated backup can help ensure that you maintain RPOs agreed to by management.
Automation benefits many data management applications. Although you can still manually initiate backups, availability of automation to streamline the backup function delivers important benefits to organizations.