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30 Apr 2024

7 Ways Your Business Can Demonstrate Data Backup Compliance

As with most kinds of data that your business holds, your backups must be secured against loss, theft or misuse. And demonstrating data backup compliance is a task most businesses face, especially those in heavily regulated industries. Evidencing that you follow best practice and have a data backup plan can go a long way to fulfilling many of the data protection laws and regulations out there today.

In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the backup compliance standards, laws and certifications that may apply to businesses like yours. Then we’ll outline seven data backup processes you can introduce to help your business meet these.

Example Laws and Standards

The extent to which a business needs to demonstrate data backup compliance differs depending on a variety of factors, including industry and geography. Businesses in finance, healthcare, manufacturing or education, for example, may be bound by the following.


  • What? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive privacy law which applies to organizations that process the personal data of individuals residing in the European Union (EU).
  • Who? This is regardless of where the organization itself is located. Therefore, it can apply across a wide range of industries and sectors. From eCommerce, marketing and technology to healthcare, hospitality, charities and NGOs.
  • Where? Organizations processing the personal data of EU citizens.
  • The Cost of Non-Compliance? Up to €20m or 4% of global turnover, whichever is higher.


  • What? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a US federal law that safeguards individuals' protected health information by establishing standards for its privacy, security and electronic transactions within the healthcare industry.
  • Who? It applies to entities within the United States that handle protected health information, such as healthcare providers, insurance companies and third-party vendors or contractors acting on behalf of these.
  • Where? USA
  • The Cost of Non-Compliance? Fines range from $100 to $1.5m and could also include up to 10 years in jail depending on the circumstances.


  • What? PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) is a Canadian federal law that regulates how private-sector organizations handle personal information. PIPEDA requires organizations to safeguard personal information, provide individuals with access to it and allow them to challenge its accuracy.
  • Who? PIPEDA applies to federal works, undertakings or businesses, non-profits and any private sector organization engaged in commercial activities in Canada. The exception is in provinces that have substantially similar privacy legislation (such as Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec).
  • Where? Canada
  • Cost of Non-Compliance? Up to $100,000 CAD per incident plus reputational damage caused by negative publicity.


  • What? PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is a set of security standards designed to protect payment card data and ensure secure transactions across the payment card industry.
  • Who? PCI DSS applies to any organization that processes, stores or transmits payment card data, including retailers, service providers and financial institutions.
  • Where? Global
  • Cost of Non-Compliance? Organizations found to be in breach of PCI DSS can be fined between $5,000 to $100,000 per month. Other charges may also be brought for repeated non-compliance, for example.

NIS2 Directive

  • What? NIS2 is a legislative act designed to strengthen cyber security requirements for essential services. Its aim is to improve overall online safety across the European Union. The European NIS2 Directive brings new and stricter cybersecurity regulations to many industries. Organizations will have to comply with the new regulations by Autumn 2024 or risk heavy penalties.
  • Who? There are three criteria that define which organizations must comply with NIS 2 - location, size and industry. More information is available here via. legal services provider Norton Rose Fulbright.
  • Where? European Union member states.
  • The Cost of Non-Compliance? Fines are calculated according to business size and overall ‘importance’. Large providers of essential services (utilities, healthcare etc) could be fined up to €10m or 2% of their global revenue – whichever is higher.

Certifications and Best Practice

As well as legal obligations, your business may need to follow certain industry best practices and frameworks or attain certifications. These may even be a non-negotiable requirement for doing business with some customers.

ISO Certifications

Achieving ISO standard compliance proves that your business is adhering to internationally recognised standards. For instance, ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation offers an opportunity to review and upgrade your data backup security practices.

ISO compliance may be more than your business needs, but that’s no reason not to work towards accreditation. Best practice frameworks offer a roadmap for improving your data backup compliance.

Cyber Security Frameworks

Some frameworks businesses can adopt to build their cyber resilience include the following.

These frameworks tend to be general in scope. However, adopting them shows your commitment to improving IT security.

7 Ways You Can Demonstrate Data Backup Compliance Now

Achieving certifications, implementing best practice and putting frameworks in place takes time. But there are standards and processes your business can introduce now to demonstrate that you take data backup compliance seriously.

1. Regular Data Backup Audits

Chances are, you have a regular backup schedule in place. But is that data recoverable? Is it held according to best practices and any other compliance requirements? The only way to know is to audit your backups regularly. Additionally, we recommend verifying them on a regular basis for peace of mind that they’ll prove reliable in a real-life data loss scenario.

2. Encryption

If hackers can’t access your live systems, archives may provide a viable alternative. Encrypting backups ensures hackers cannot use any data they do exfiltrate, adding an extra layer of data security. At Macrium, we offer features such as AES encryption and Macrium Image Guardian to help you protect your backups from malicious actors.

3. Implement the 3-2-1 Backup Method

Local backups are critical for rapid system recovery, but they must be complemented by offsite equivalents. Storing a copy of your data offsite ensures you can always recover, even if your entire data centre is destroyed. For best results, consider implementing the tried-and-tested 3-2-1 backup strategy.

4. Automate your Backup Procedures

Automation is not only more efficient, it also helps to template common activities. In the case of backup, this allows you to build a fully compliant data backup strategy that delivers exactly the same results on every run. It also avoids many of the errors that can occur when you rely on manual processes.

5. Establish Retention Policies

Establish clear data retention policies outlining how long data should be kept and when to delete older backups. These policies ensure you always have the right data available for recovery. And that you are keeping archives for the correct, legally mandated timeframes.

6. Regular Training and Awareness Programs

Employees can be both your biggest strength and your greatest risk. Training people to understand compliance and to operate backups accordingly will help to reduce the risk of breaches. It will also equip them to better protect your backups and live data.

7. Third-Party Validation

Engage third-party auditors or compliance experts to validate your data backup procedures, ensuring they meet regulatory requirements. External validation adds credibility to your compliance efforts and provides assurance to stakeholders.

Helping Your Business Achieve Data Backup Compliance

Macrium Reflect can help your business establish a robust data backup strategy and work towards achieving data backup compliance - try it for free now with our 30-day trial.

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