Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Oh my goodness! Another conversation about data backup? Unfortunately yes. In the past several weeks alone we have run into several business who are attempting to recover data and are not able to because of inadequate backup and disaster recovery implementations.
We all understand the importance of proper backup and disaster recovery systems. After all, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 93% of companies that experience a disaster go out of business within 5 years – even if they can recover in the short term. So why then is this still such a big problem?
- Time. Finding the right backup solution and implementing this solution takes time. It is always on our priority list, but continues to get postponed due to "other urgent issues".
- Cost. We typically hear two objections when it comes to cost. First, too many IT professionals and business owners look at data backup and recovery as a necessary evil. It is like paying a monthly insurance premium for something I may or may not ever use. Secondly, the cost of backup is all over the place. Backup solutions can be as low as $20.00 per month up to thousands of dollars a month.
- Complexity. Not all data backup solutions are created the same. Some require onsite devices, some do not. Some provide BDR features, some do not. Some require archiving, some do not. And the list goes on and on.
There are many considerations when building a strong data backup and disaster recover solution. Here are a few observations and suggestions to get you started in the right direction.
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Know where the data is stored.
We live in an un-centralized world when it comes to data. For many businesses, their corporate data is in too many places - too many places that aren't identified. Not knowing where the data is to begin with makes it difficult to back the data up. With many businesses adopting the "Bring-Your-Own-Device" (BYOD) model, it adds an extra level of mystery. Where is my data located?
When building a solution, start by making a list of the location for all your data: laptops, desktops, tablets, in the cloud, and on mobile devices is just the beginning. We place extra emphasis on cloud services. Be careful to not assume that just because you have data in the cloud it is safe and being backup up properly.
Not all Backup Systems are Created Equal.
There are hundreds of companies and IT solution providers selling data backup software. From out-of-the-box solutions to custom built solutions, the options are endless. It's important to know that not all data backup systems are created equal. Here are some common items to consider:
- Is it a file backup system or a BDR system?
- Does it require an on premise device?
- Does it backup cloud service systems like O365, Box, OneDrive and/or DropBox?
- In case of a major disaster, how quickly can the systems and data be restored?
- Does it support server virtualization?
Where do I go from here?
1. Invest the Time.
Budget time into your busy schedule to begin the process.
2. Locate Your Data.
Identify where all your data is located. Your IT provider or systems administrator should be able to assist you in this process.
3. Consider Compliance.
Depending on your industry and line of work, you may be under compliance. Common forms of compliance include PCI-DSS, HIPPA, and SAS-70 SSAE 16. Each compliance organization has something to say about your backup and recovery process.
4. Define a Retention Policy.
Clicking through a backup wizard and calling it good doesn't count. Your retention policy should be updated regularly and include detailed processes.
5. Consult with your IT Provider.
Selecting an appropriate IT provider to assist you in this process can make or break a successful data backup plan.