Understanding Backup Retention Policies - NETSERVE365


Backup Retention Policy
June 21, 2017

Understanding Backup Retention Policies

When planning your backup and recovery strategy there is a lot going through your mind. Without a doubt, there is a lot of focus put on the potential of needing to recover the backups that were recently created. Because of this, a large portion of the backup and recovery conversation is based around recovery objectives (RTO & RPO) and the different tiers of data. There is one part of the plan that tends to fall lower on the totem pole than others though. Backup Retention Policies.

Retention policies need to play a huge role in your backup and recovery conversations. What happens to data that needs to be available weeks, months, or even years after it is created?

Things to Consider When Defining A Backup Retention Policy

When establishing your data retention policy there are a few major things you want to consider. It is important to consider what type of data your organization has, if this data has compliance or legal mandates, and where it will be stored.

The Data

There are different kinds of data and not all this data needs retained for long periods of time. Mission critical information such as intellectual property, financials, and correspondence could be needed for tax or legal purposes further down the road. Other data that isn’t as important might not be needed in a few years. Therefore, it may not be needed for long term retention.

Compliance & legal

Many compliance regulations create retention periods for certain data. Healthcare records under HIPAA, for example, should be retained for at minimum 6 years. Even though some compliance regulations won’t specify a certain retention range, there are accepted time-frames for retention.

Many organizations don’t want to retain data for a long period of time because it could increase their liability if a breach were to occur. Companies will put in place short retention policies, just long enough to be able to recover if necessary.


It is extremely important to carefully consider where your data is stored. Data is the lifeblood of your organization and choosing an option that specifically works for your business needs is crucial. There are many different storage options for a company to consider. Do you want a single-tenant environment provisioned exclusively for your organization or a public cloud that offers flexibility and cost-savings? Or maybe you find the combination of both in a hybrid cloud is the perfect mix. No matter what you decide, remember your data is important – that’s the reason we are even talking about backup retention anyways.

Once you have all these considerations planned, it is time for implementation.

Implementing Backup Retention Policies

With most backup solutions, it is very easy to retain specific backups. It is important that you evaluate your current backup solution and make sure that it is aligned with your retention policy. Review the following to ensure proper alignment:


Decide how frequently you want your critical information to be backed up. And remember, not all data will be backed up at the same frequency levels. Something like financial data might need to be backed up every hour or even more frequently than that. Something less important on your retention policy could be backed up less.


See what type of backup you’re currently using (image, file, etc.) and make sure that it aligns with your policy. Maybe you are completing incremental backups on a regular basis, but you also need a separate full back up as well.


If you only want to retain specific data, you need to check your job definitions. You may have an entire file server backed up at once, when you need to specify a certain folder to be backed up more often. Modify the job or simply create a new job definition to satisfy your retention policy.

Not all data will have the same retention policy. You will need to create multiple for the different types of durations and frequencies you want your data sets to be classified as. The hardest part is examining what your organization will need years from now to create a clear path for longevity and business continuity. If you don’t know where to start, talk with a local technology provider for more information. They are trained and certified in backup and recovery technology. They can offer valuable support so when the time comes you have a smooth recovery.

NetServe365 partners with CommVault to supply 24/7/365 data backup and disaster recovery solutions to businesses like you. Our platform is backed by our Operations Center that is located in Pittsburgh, pa and fully staffed with trained and certified engineers. Contact us today for more information on Backup and recovery!




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