Backup Retention Policy

Backup retention policy refers to how long the backup files or data is kept.  Common questions about backup retention are below and we will cover these in more depth.
Backup Retention Policy

Backup retention policy refers to how long the backup files or data is kept. Common questions about backup retention are below and we will cover these in more depth.

How long should you keep backups?

Backups are only as valuable as the most recent version. This can help determine how long you should keep your backup and older file versions. The examples here are unlimited. Basically if you are modifying files daily or even hourly then more frequent backups is ideal. Based on these details, try to determine how long you should keep backups. Preparing a disaster recovery plan try to determine if a data restore should be required, how many days, weeks or months or even years of data should be kept.

What are retention policies?

Retention policies are standards set by the business that determine the parameters on how much old data is retained. For example, if there is a compliance requirement such as taxaion documents, perhaps the policy is set by an outside entity and that might be to retain 7 years worth of data. This is not to say that all documents would be purged once they are 7 years old, but perhaps certain documents could then be discarded.

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How do you create a data retention policy?

On the technical side the data retention policy would then be translated into the backup settings to abide by the policy. The main features in the backup software client are to set if a file should be deleted after it reaches a certain age, but always keep the latest version. Other options include keeping a certain number of versions of each file. For example, in the case of a spreadsheet that is modified daily, perhaps keeping 10 versions, where 10 represents 10 days of history. Maybe some businesses need many more. During a backup if that file is modified, it would save another version until it reaches the minimum number of versions required and any additional versions would be purged. There could also be a delay in place to purge the extra versions a certain number of days after that requirement is met. Finally, to delete files from the backups completely if they are deleted locally. This would keep the backups more in sync with the data that is local on the drives. In some instances this keeps the data storage for the backups from growing out of control.

Which backup uses retention period?

Backup retention period is really what separates backups with cloud storage. If you modify data regularly and requires regular frequent backups then using cloud storage might not be the best solution. Cloud storage services only keep the most recent version of a file and if it is deleted holds those files in a trash bin for a certain amount of time, then they are purged permanently. If you asked Google to restore a deleted file from 5 weeks ago there is a strong chance it is gone forever. Backup takes a copy of the current version and then using the retention policy to determine how long to keep that file. Cloud storage only has one copy. If you modify and save in error, there is no versions to restore back to. It is always a good idea even if using Cloud Storage, to also run a backup of the locally stored (cached) version of those files for your own security.

What is the grandfather father son backup?

Grandfather, father, son backup is a term coined when using multiple media storage units for local backups. Also referred to as the 3 generation backup. For example, there will be a daily, weekly and monthly backup and those media units (hard drives or tapes) would be rotated with 3 sets. This is an old method of running a backup and using this rotation provides a retention of say 3 months. However, it isn't exactly 3 months depending on how those media units are recycled. It migh be 3 monthly snap shots of the data when that monthly backup is run. The daily or weekly backups would be more of a saviour for retrieving recent versions. This can now be simulated with unlimited backup plans as found in the TAPNET Online Backup software client by creating backup plans that simulate the 3 generation backup retention policy.

As always, the most valuable backup is the most recent one. If you haven't started, we highly recommend the TAPNET 15 Day Free Trial to get started. Any backup is better than none, even if its a free trial. It just might be the one that saves you.

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