Backup Retention Policy Best Practices

Learn about the Backup Retention Policy and its Best Practices

Backup Retention Policy best practices are pivotal for any business and its operations. Moreover, it is a function

Backup Retention Policy best practices are pivotal for any business and its operations. Moreover, it is a function that requires attention and utmost care. Further, while building strategies around data backup, retention, accessibility, and continuity must follow the best practices in backup retention.

Although, businesses often fixate on recovery objectives, SLAs, tiers of data, etc. Therefore, their agendas consider backup for data procured in a short time. However, there are multiple sets of older data that require addressing. Hence, with the help of backup retention best practices, retaining and accessing data becomes easier. 

A recent IDC report states that the amount of data is doubling worldwide and is expected to reach 8.9ZB by 2024. 

Moreover, businesses regardless of their industry, size, or target audience agree that Data is a pivotal asset and a beneficial resource. Businesses also gather and monitor high volumes of data in their daily operations. As a result, it is crucial for businesses to safeguard their data from mal activities and hacking. Hence, by developing and implementing the best practices in Backup Retention Policy businesses can secure and manage their data.

Therefore, in this article, we will learn more about Backup Retention Policy and its best practices that all businesses must follow.

Understanding Backup Retention Policy and its Best Practices

What is a Backup Retention Policy?

Backup Retention Policy refers to the method of implementing protocols. Businesses can then use the data for operative or regulatory compliance requirements. Further, it defines the retention time for data, archival policies, data sets, etc. It also helps determine the authorization to enable the storing, accessibility, and encryption of data. Moreover, it focuses on the legal and privacy requirements.

A Backup Retention Policy is also known as record retention, is a process to store and monitor data. It also helps retain records of data for a certain time period from the archives.  

Hence, the best practices in the Backup Retention Policy help manage the data until its ultimate usage. Therefore, here are a few components that businesses must consider before determining Backup Retention Policies:

  • Data: Businesses must certainly understand that not all data needs retaining. Some data requirements are ephemeral, while other data sets may require long-term storage policies. Hence, businesses must define the difference between various data sets. 
  • Compliance Policies: Businesses must also consider the various regulations and compliance policies for data retention. For instance, businesses must follow and adhere to policies like HIPAA, GDPR, FLSA, etc. Therefore, this provides assurance to their clients and other business associates about their security practices.
  • Legal and Ethical: It is also important for businesses to follow the legal and ethical requirements while retaining data. They may often retain the data for a shorter duration and manage the recovery. Although, most businesses do not store data for a longer duration as it may increase liability.
  • Storage: Storage is an important component for Backup Data Retention although is an inexpensive resource. Businesses often want to retain their data for as long as required. Hence, they need to focus on various storage systems that reserve the data.

Implementation of Backup Retention Policy for businesses

Backup Retention Policy solutions certainly enable businesses to retain essential data easily. Hence, in order to implement a robust Backup Retention Policy businesses must follow these techniques:

  • Backup according to the Data Sets:

Firstly, while retaining essential data businesses need to consider their backup definitions. In other words, they need to determine their capacity and ability to store multiple data sets. Hence, they can consider customizing or modifying their Backup Retention Policy or employ more resources.

  • Backup according to the Type:

Further, businesses must determine the category and type of backup. The backup may be image-based, but they need to be file-based. Hence, executing backups on a regular basis according to type can help procure a backup set as per the requirement.

  • Backup according to the Frequency:

Businesses must also determine the frequency and regularity of backups. Although, long-term retention may not require constant backups. Hence, determining the frequency of backups helps businesses implement a long-term backup retention policy.

  • Backup according to Lifecycle:

Businesses often store data for longer durations as they need to access it according to the requirement. This data is also used for operational and actionable processes and needs to be deleted safely. Further, businesses can store the data according to its usage and requirements during operational activities. Hence, backup retention policies assist in defining the parameters according to the usability of the data.

How to create a Backup Retention Policy?

The process of creating a Backup Retention Policy certainly differs according to the requirement of the business. However, developing a robust and reliable Backup Retention Policy includes the following basic levels:

  • Procuring and hiring a Backup Retention Policy team.
  • Categorizing the data according to the policies.
  • Identifying essential laws and regulations that businesses need to comply with according to the type, location, industry, etc.
  • Adhering to the following for specific Backup Retention Policies:
    • Defining the data sets for the archive and eliminating the others.
    • Assigning the team responsibilities according to the data type.
    • Creating and developing plans to execute and implement the policy.
    • Informing the teams and employees who are impacted due to the policy.
  • Generating and updating the Policy regularly.

Importance of a Backup Retention Policy

  • Firstly, regular backup of data is pivotal for any business continuity plan. Hence, it develops accessibility and monitors the functions. 
  • Moreover, a Backup Retention Policy is an essential aspect that builds a robust data management strategy. As a result, it helps mitigate out-of-date and duplicate data. Therefore, it ensures simplicity by managing relevant data.
  • Businesses require data management and records management to develop their operations. It also helps businesses achieve legal, statutory, and regulatory objectives.
  • Further, it also assists businesses to impose privacy and confidentiality while managing data. 
  • Most importantly, the Backup Retention Policy helps businesses attain operational and strategic objectives. 

Here are the Best Practices in Backup Retention Policy that helps Businesses reach their objectives:

Data Classification

Data is an asset that can be classified as per their requirements, sizes, or priority. Hence, data sets also possess different retention periods. Moreover, businesses need to identify the data that needs to be stored and archived. Further, classifying the data helps understand the criticality of the data and current requirements. It also helps recognize the data that need deletion.

Legal and Ethical Aspect

Businesses also need to endure that the data retention system aligns according to compliance and legal requirements. Moreover, businesses need to address the pre-existing contractual requirements for data retention schedules.

Businesses must also learn about the various compliance verticals. It is also important to understand various laws and regulations to identify the duration of the data in the system. 

For example, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) applies to the healthcare industry. Similarly, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) helps organizations in the finance industry.  Further, there is GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which is applicable to businesses that run operations with any of the EU’s 28 member states.

Data Retention and Deletion

Businesses often store redundant or older data with the thought that they may require it in the future. Further, it may create more risk for a business as these data types are easier to breach. It may also lead to legal penalties and the risk of a bad reputation.

Moreover, businesses must create and follow a process that easily mitigates data sets for redundancies. Hence, it looks for data relevance and retention period.


In conclusion, the best practices in the backup retention policy help businesses backup, archive, and delete data. It also helps by identifying legal and business requirements to manage the data.

About Jason Hoffman

I am the Director of Sales and Marketing at Wisdomplexus, capturing market share with E-mail marketing, Blogs and Social media promotion. I spend major part of my day geeking out on all the latest technology trends like artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, cloud computing, 5G and many more. You can read my opinion in regards to these technologies via blogs on our website.