Your website is ground zero for everything your business does. Since it’s often the first thing your customers see, you’ll want to ensure it’s always up, available, and functioning exactly as intended.
But things happen. Some mishaps are beyond your control, like malicious attacks, while others are honest mistakes, like deleting critical files or adding incompatible third-party apps.
Backing up your website helps you get back up and running fast after any incidents so you can get on with your day.
Why Website Backups are Essential
All businesses need protection. Your website is a critical component of your business, so any interruption could impact your brand’s reputation, cash flow, and bottom line.
But the implications of not backing up go well beyond downtime. Your reputation could take a severe hit, causing a ripple effect through your audience that will continue to devalue your brand over time. In the short term, if certain features are unavailable or don’t work correctly, it could force customers to choose your competitors, and you might never win them back.
In a worst-case scenario, if customer information is lost or exposed, you could be facing steep regulatory fines for breaching data privacy laws. It’s important to note that backups are not a cybersecurity tool themselves and cannot protect you from a data breach where PII is lost. However, backups are an essential factor for recovering from such a data breach. For instance, if you were the target of ransomware, you could avoid paying any ‘ransom’ to get your data back, as you can restore your information from a recent backup. IBM recently found that “Availability of backup files is a significant differentiator for organizations [to] recover from a ransomware attack.” In Sophos’ State of Ransomware 2021 whitepaper, backups are listed as a key recovery method in case of an attack.
Your Website Provider Doesn’t Protect Everything
Bear in mind that your web platform probably doesn’t provide the level of backup service you need to ensure all aspects of your site are protected. In many cases, your chosen platform backs itself up, and possibly your theme, but you risk losing transactions, settings, app dependencies, and customer information—all major setbacks no matter how you look at it.
Some of the website mishaps that could happen could include:
- Human Error. It’s easy to make a mistake, to delete files, images, or settings only to find it’s affected how your site looks or performs. A website backup enables you to restore immediately—from a single file or collection to the entire site—before the problem progresses.
- Data Loss During System Updates. Just about every platform advises you to make a backup before you perform any updates. New software might react with existing files or apps unpredictably, and a backup ensures you can return to a clean state to reverse what went wrong.
- Malware can infect your site from various sources, from hacking, unauthorized access, malicious intent by authorized users, cyberattacks, and more. The results can range from merely annoying to completely devastating, and the best way to return to a pre-infected state is to restore your entire site from a backup.
- Incompatible Apps. Third-party SaaS apps help businesses do so much more, but not all are designed to play well with your web platform or the apps you’re already running. Plus, if the provider does not update their app, you might be unwittingly creating a vulnerability. Be sure the apps you choose come from a reputable source. Run a backup before you install and test the app’s function before you commit.
What to Look For in a Backup Solution
If your website goes down, the most important thing is to be able to get it back up and running as soon as possible, and your backup solution should support this.
Depending on how much data you process, you need to think about how often you need to back up. If you don’t process a lot of data, once a day might be enough. However, if you have a busy ecommerce site, you’ll need continuous backups as they will give you the option of restoring to a precise point in time.
Another key consideration is your own technical capabilities. Do you have an in-house IT team that can monitor and restore your backups if needed? Or are you more of a one-man band, with a few people wearing a lot of different hats? The ease of data recovery is a key factor when choosing a backup solution. After all, a data backup doesn’t do you any good if you can’t figure out how to restore it.