How often should you back-up your data?

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It’s a common question that we get asked and we ask this one straight back: How much data are you willing to lose?

Losing data and claiming it back

You need to consider how much data you are willing to lose – 15minutes? 1 day? 1 week? What impact would that have to your business?

Now consider this, how quickly do you need/want it all back?

Those are the main questions you need to answer before you start looking at backup solutions.


Let’s say that you want a backup every 15 minutes. Your computer goes caput just before the next backup, you have lost 15minutes or less of work but then it takes 1 hour of man-hours to get that back, so your downtime would be 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Storage of said data is as important as collecting it. You need to ensure you have the right amount of storage available otherwise you could be thinking that you are well-covered, disaster strikes and you only have data from 6 months ago because the storage solution was inadequate.

Different types of backups

There are different types of backups but these are the two main types:

  • Full backups – This would mean that you would have a complete copy of all data available. This would mean a minimal RTO (downtimes) however, a full backup would take longer and require more storage space.
  • Incremental backups – This would mean that it would only backup the changes since the last backup. This would mean that is can be run as often as it is needed and less storage required.

Disaster Recovery Plan

Backups may be required for a lot of reasons, one as simple as the computer has experienced water damage but generally, they are closely linked to your Disaster Recovery Plan.

With reference to backups, the two main elements you need to include in your Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan and that is your Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO.)

  • RPO: Your RPO is the point at which your business could function without recent data. E.g. could your business survive without data from the last week or a few hours? At what point is it an acceptable loss of data?
  • RTO: Your RTO is how much downtime you will allow for the recovery of the data after the disruption.

From those two elements, you will be able to consider the systems and processes you need to have in place during the disaster scenario to ensure minimal interruption.

General advice

Most businesses tend to do one full backup a week and incremental backups on a daily basis but ultimately the decision needs to come down to our initial question to you: How much data are you willing to lose?

We have put together a “How to Product a Disaster Recovery Plan” blog to ensure you are covered.

Discover more about DR Plans

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