Data loss is more than just frustrating; it can ruin your business’s reputation as well as its ability to conduct its money-making operations. Research shows, however, that one in five small businesses will experience a major loss event at least once every five years. While some of these data loss events are avoidable, others are not. Fortunately, you can mitigate their otherwise harmful effects by backing up your business’s data.

#1) Follow the 3-2-1 Rule

When backing up your business’s data, follow the 3-2-1 rule. This rule implies that businesses should store three full copies of their data. Two of these copies should be stored locally, while the third copy should be stored remotely. If your locally stored data backups are compromised, you can rest assured knowing that there’s a third copy stored remotely.

#2) Encrypt

Another best practice to follow when backing up your business’s data is to use encryption. When left unencrypted, data can be interpreted by anyone who happens to download it. If a hacker or some other unauthorized individual accesses your business’s data, he or she may use it for nefarious purposes. Encryption prevents this from happening by scrambling your business’s data with a set of algorithmic encryption keys.

#3) Scan Backups for Malware

Don’t forget to scan your business’s data backups for malware. Backups are typically malware-free when initially created. If a hacker wants to discretely infect your business’s information technology (IT) infrastructure with malware, though, he or she may target a backup file. By injecting malware into the backup file, the cyber threat may go unnoticed. Therefore, you should scan data backups for malware and other cyber threats.

#4) Create New Backups Regularly

Of course, you’ll need to create new data backups regularly. How often should you create a new backup exactly? It really depends on the type of business you operate as well as its specific needs. With that said, most cybersecurity experts recommend creating new backups at least once every 24 hours. You can either create them manually, or you can create them automatically using software. Regardless, once-a-day backups are the way to go for most businesses.

#5) Delete Old Backups

Finally, it’s a good idea to delete your old backups — assuming you have new backups with which to replace them. Allowing old backups to clutter your local computers or cloud storage services will only consume valuable storage space while also creating more vectors for malware and cyber threats. As long as you have two backup copies stored locally and one backup copy stored remotely, you can delete the rest.