What Is The Right Backup Plan for Your Digital Agency?

SimpleBackups founder

Laurent Lemaire

Co-founder, SimpleBackups

October 17, 2022

As a digital agency, you’ll work on a lot of projects and, by implication, a lot of data. Let’s look at a simple example

Let’s assume you run a digital agency, and you have 30 customers and work on 60 projects at any given time. Some of these projects are simple websites, some are eCommerce platforms, and you work with tools like WordPress, WooCommerce, Slack, SQL, and more.

So what would happen if your systems crashed? 

Yes, you’ll need back up your projects. But here’s the problem: making and managing backups take a lot of time and effort, especially when working on a lot of projects. Maybe you’ve written a small script that makes the process easier, but are you confident it works consistently and reliably?

Ultimately, you need to have a backup plan in place. 

When you do, you’ll ensure that when you run into issues that could affect your ability to run your business and serve your customers, you can get up and running in no time. Simply put, your agency’s backup plan ensures continuity and that, no matter what happens, your clients will be protected, you’ll sleep better, trust that your backups are running, and save time.

Now, you might have a few questions: how do you create a backup plan for your digital agency? What are some things you should consider in the process? 

Luckily, backups are what we at SimpleBackups do, and in this post, we'll show you everything you need to know!

Why Does Your Digital Agency Need a Backup Plan?

Before looking at these questions, let's first look at why your digital agency needs a backup plan. We've already mentioned that your backup plan protects you and your clients when disaster strikes. But what are these disasters? 

Your backup plan protects you against the following:

  • Human errors. Let's face it; people make mistakes. Your team will make them too. These mistakes could include something as simple as entering incorrect data or deleting a file. It could also include more severe cases where employees, for instance, leave their laptops in a restaurant or on public transport. No matter what mistake they make, you’ll want a plan in place so that you can correct these mistakes and recover from them. And here, a backup plan is invaluable.
  • System crashes. People typically say that there are only two things certain in life; death and taxes. In business, you could also say that two things are certain; mistakes and system crashes. Now, we've already dealt with errors and, as is the case with them, system crashes happen, often at the most inconvenient times. There's also the risk of ransomware, malware, and viruses. Your backup plan can protect against these things when they happen.
  • Theft. Did you know that employees could take essential documents and data with them when they leave a company? In fact, a study found that 85% of employees admitted that they took company documents and information they created when employed at the company. Also, 30% of employees admitted they took company documents and information they didn't create. Even worse, when employees are fired, they're 20% more likely to take documents and information to hurt the company. So, it would help if you were prepared when this happens.
  • Natural or unnatural disasters. Finally, disasters, both natural and man-made, happen. Watching the news for only a day or two will show you that floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, and other disasters happen all the time. For instance, it’s difficult to forget the fire at OVHcloud in 2021 that wiped out the data stored in four data centers. When you have a good backup plan in place, you don't have to worry that these disasters will lead to a loss of data, documents, or information. 

Creating Your Agency’s Backup Plan

We’ve now seen why you need a backup plan for your digital agency, so let's look at the steps you’ll follow to create a backup plan for every project. In outlining these steps, we’ll also focus on how you can use SimpleBackups to execute your plan. 

However, remember that these steps are merely guidelines. They’re not cast in stone and might differ because every project has unique needs and requirements. 

The first step in creating a backup plan for every project is determining the project’s needs. This involves several considerations:

  • What type of data do you want to back up?
  • How often do you need to back up your data?? 
  • Should you use your own storage, your customer’s storage account, or other?
  • How often, at what time, and how many backups should you keep?

And more!

What do you want to back up?

Regarding what data you would like to back up, you'll likely need to back up website code and databases, creative assets, images, project storage, and servers. Depending on the project, you might also need to back up other data. In some cases, it might also be necessary for your customers to have access to the backups. 

No matter the project’s requirements, SimpleBackups gives you granular control of what you would like to back up, and what access the customer will have to the backup. SimpleBackups also gives you the ability to encrypt your backups.  

The next step is to decide how you’ll back up the project. This, in turn, hinges on three aspects.

Where do you want to back up your data?

The first aspect you should consider is where you want to back up the project’s data. In other words, you’ll need to consider the different storage options. 

Your first option is on-premises storage. It offers convenient and quick access to your data, but it could be prone to data loss when you, for example, use external hard drives that can be lost to back up your data. When you use a physical server, you’ll also have maintenance costs. 

Another option is cloud storage. When it comes to scalability, security, and data availability, this is likely your best option. Remember, though, that cloud storage could become expensive depending on the amount of data you store. However, you can also use SimpleBackup’s Simple Storage feature, which gives you up to 200 GB of storage in your subscription. 

How much storage will you need?

Compare your needs to the storage option you chose to find the right pricing plan for you. 

To illustrate this, let’s look at a simple example. Let's assume you only want to back up a simple website. Then, a free Dropbox account that offers 2 GB of storage might be suitable for you. However, if you need to back up contracts, client information, creative assets, and more, 2 GB will likely not be enough, and you’ll have to consider a Dropbox pricing plan that offers more storage. 

Keep in mind, though, as mentioned earlier, you have the option of using Simple Storage and, when you use an external cloud provider, SimpleBackups doesn’t limit you on the amount of storage you can use. 

How often do you want to back up your data, and how many backups do you want to keep?

Finally, consider how often you want to back up the project’s data. This will depend on the project, the data you want to back up, and how frequently it's updated. For example, if your customer runs a static website, it could be appropriate to back up the website when you change some information on it. 

Conversely, when your customer runs a more dynamic website where more changes are made more frequently, you might need to back it up more often as the information changes. In this instance, you might back up the folder daily.

Fortunately, with SimpleBackups, you have several options available for you to schedule backups:

  • Daily, which you could use to do backups for a project that has a lot of content but less traffic at certain times of the day. 
  • Weekly, which you could use for sites with less dynamic content that doesn’t change that much during a week. 
  • Monthly, which you could use for static sites that are almost never updated. 
  • Custom, which allows you to schedule your backup based on the project’s requirements.

To choose the right option for you, you’ll select it from the Schedule dropdown list when creating a backup in SimpleBackups

Apart from these options, you can run your backup on demand. 

schedule your digital agency backups

Another consideration when it comes to how often you want to back up your data is bandwidth costs. Think about data retention; how many backups of the same project do you want to keep? 

For example, let's assume you back up 1 GB of data daily to your cloud storage. This means you’ll transfer 30 GB of data per month, which could become expensive over time. Luckily, SimpleBackups has a solution for this, too – incremental backups

Create a Recovery Plan

The next step when creating your backup plan is to create a recovery plan:

  • How will you perform recovery?
  • What data will you recover?
  • Where is the data located?
  • Other steps you might need to take depending on your circumstances and the project.

Fortunately, no matter what the storage options you've selected or data you’ve backed up, SimpleBackups simplifies restoring backups. 

Suppose you created an incremental database backup. Now you need to restore it. You'll simply go to your backup and click on the 'i' next to it.

Easily restore backups with SimpleBackups

On the dialog box that opens, you’ll scroll down to the command you’ll need to restore your backup. Then, you'll copy & paste it to run the command on your server.

How to restore incremental backups with SimpleBackups

Another consideration is making sure you always have easy access to your data. SimpleBackups also offers a few tools to help: 

  • Server and volume snapshots. Server and volume snapshots take a snapshot in time of your server or storage volumes, which, in turn, makes it easy to restore them should they crash. 
  • Storage replication. With storage replication, you can sync a project’s storage across different storage providers and keep it up to date. If you cannot access the project’s data through one provider, you can always do so easily through another. 

Test Your Plan

The final step in creating your backup plan is to test it regularly. 

Depending on your circumstances, these tests can happen monthly or quarterly and include all the steps you’ll take when disaster strikes.

No matter how often you test, these tests are vital to make sure that your backups work and that you can recover your data seamlessly. You can also test if your storage syncs wholly and accurately. It's the only way to identify and resolve issues before they affect your data safety. 

SimpleBackups also simplifies this process by offering unlimited backup notifications to your email, Slack, Discord, and more. This ensures that you always know your backups are running seamlessly. 

Have Confidence in Your Backups

Don't just focus on marketing - keep your data safe, too! You don't need to be a tech wiz to do it, either. SimpleBackups makes creating a robust backup plan for your digital agency easy.

With our platform, you don’t have to worry about backup scripts or maintenance, as we take care of everything for you. It’s as straightforward as creating and scheduling your backups, choosing your storage, and you’re good to go.

Simply put: with SimpleBackups, you’ll always trust and have confidence in your backups. 

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