Backups, Disaster Recovery & Business continuity Planning
Backups are your business’s life support. They’ll protect you from simple things such as accidental deletion of a file or folder, all the way through to the most disastrous events such as your premises being burnt down. So since they’re your business’s life support, why not ensure you have a partner that implements best in class backup and disaster recovery systems?
Are you sure your data is backed up properly?
A wrong email click, an accidental delete of a file, an uncontrollable fire or storm. It only takes one incident for your business to find out if your backup and disaster recovery systems are working properly. Are you sure you have sufficient processes in place for storing, testing, and recovering your data?
Before we get started, just explain what each of those components is and what they mean for your business.
Backups are a process of taking a copy of your data and storing it in another location so that it can be accessed at a later time when necessary to recover if the original data was lost or corrupted. Backups have the ability to do file-level and system-level so you have the ability to recover entire servers when necessary also.
Disaster Recovery is an organization’s process of regaining access and functionality to its IT Systems and Data. Backups are a key component of all Disaster Recovery plans.
Business Continuity is a documented plan for your business that outlines how it will recover and continue operations in the event of a disaster. Your Business Continuity Plan will incorporate disaster recovery and Backup as key components.
Backups - here's what you need to know
Common Mistakes Businesses make with their Backups
In many Small and Medium businesses many owners make the assumption their data is being backed up properly and in the event a staff member deletes a file or clicks on a suspicious email and gets a virus, your IT person (If you have one) will recover the data from backups and Bam your files are recovered and you are back to work!
For many businesses, this is far from the case.
People making assumptions about their backups and how they operate is how many businesses get themselves in trouble! Your data might not even be getting backed up at all, but even if it is and you have automatic backups in place for your business, there is no guarantee that the data can be easily and quickly recovered unless it is properly set up and tested on a regular basis.
The rule is that your business does not have backups until they have been tested.
This could not be more true. living under the false security of your backup software saying yes all your data is backed up to then try and restore data or a system when you truly need it only to find out that data is not recoverable due to a failed or corrupt backup is a terrible feeling!
The right backup solution for your business
There is a vast array of choices out there for backup solutions. Not only do you need to consider how much storage space you will need for your backups but also how long you will keep backups for (maybe regulatory compliance dictates you need to hold records for 7 years), how long it will take to restore the backups and where you will restore them to.
As an example, if you went with a cloud-only backup solution. Have you calculated how long it would take to download your data back onsite and get operating again?
There are several key decisions you need to determine in your selection process:
- Data backup type – You need to determine what data you need to back up. Is it company files or a database or an entire server or system?
- Storage Capacity – Calculate the storage capacity required to back up your data. If your data will be stored.
- Location – Where your backups will be stored. Will it be stored onsite, in the cloud or at another office, or a combination of the options.
- Retention – Determine how long you need to keep the backups so that data remains available.
- Backup Software – Ensure you are choosing a business-grade backup solution and not a consumer solution
- recovery – plan that in the event of needing to restore data due to a disaster, how quickly will you need to be able to restore the backups to minimise downtime and loss of operations/revenue.
There are a vast number of backup types out there and it can be hard to understand them so we will break down the main types of backups used for businesses:
File Level Backups – Used if you just need your companies files backed up, but don’t require any applications or systems. This option will only ever let you recover the data itself.
System-level Backups – these backups are an exact image of your entire computer or server. not only is all data on that system backed up, but all of your software and configurations are as well. Server backups are crucial in any business.
On-Site Backups – Data is stored on devices in your office, whether that is another server, a hard drive, NAS, or SAN. This protected against Hardware failure of your primary data but does not protect you in the event of an issue in your office where all equipment is damaged or destroyed. If this happens and you only have on-site backups your data may be impossible to retrieve.
Off-site Backups – Data is stored in a secondary location to your office. This could be a branch office or your Providers office. This will protect data in the event of a disaster at your primary office.
Cloud Backups – your data is stored to a location on the internet (usually a datacentre) which means that in the event of an internal network breach like ransomware and all your data is compromised, the backups remain protected and still usable. The limitation with cloud backups is your ability on how fast you can restore data in the event of a disaster.
High Availability/Failover – HA/Failover protects your business from downtime by keeping multiple active copies of data in multiple locations Whether this is across sites or systems. They continually synchronize with each other and in the event, one system needs to be brought down, the secondary system can take its place.
No matter what backup solution your device to go with, ensure that you do not neglect to test your Backups!
When you are deciding on how to backup your data, you will hopefully be looking at a combination of the above options and setting a budget for your backups and infrastructure.
It is all based on what your business needs and how quickly you need to be back up and running in the event of a disaster.
TechNine can sit down with you and discuss your backups and an effective management strategy.
Disaster… It’s a terrifying word. When said, most people think of bushfires, floods as the typical Australian disaster! These have monumental consequences but when you’re a business that relies on technology to operate and grow, any time something goes wrong with your data could be a disaster for you and your business. Disasters can come from hardware failures, human error, or potential cyber threats.
If one of these disasters were to happen to your business, do you have a Disaster Recovery Plan to be able to remediate the situation? The Disaster Recovery Plan is a documented set of procedures that outline step-by-step instructions that you and your staff follow in the event your business systems go down and you have to restore them.
Creating a Disaster Recover Plan
With any Plan, you need to ensure you are prepared for a multitude of different scenarios. Whenever creating a Disaster Recovery Plan, it is important to think over the below items:
- Assign who is responsible for what parts of the implementation of your Disaster Recovery Plan.
- Plan your communication to not only employees but customers and vendors too.
- determine your downtime thresholds (RTO AND RPO).
- Inventory all of your assets – Infrastructure, hardware, software, services.
- Plan how the business will operate at another location or Working from home.
Creating a DR plan can be daunting but We can help. Feel free to give us a call – we are here to help.
Business Continuity. What is it and why do I need it?
Does your business have a meticulous action plan in place for how you will continue to operate after you experience an outage from a natural disaster, disgruntled employee, or cyber attack? If you answered no, then you need to create a Business Continuity Plan!
As humans, we sometimes like to live in ignorance and allow ourselves to think the worse case cannot happen. We see disasters on a near-daily basis but still think no that won’t happen to me and my business. For your business that is just not good enough. The age-old method of hoping for the best but planning for the worst rings true. You need to take the time to equip your business to be able to survive any major incidents that may arise. A well-structured business continuity plan could mean the difference between having to close and continuing to operate.
A good business plan will also incorporate your disaster recovery plan.
What is involed in creating a business continuity plan?
Every Business Continuity Plan will be different because every business is different. the Business Continuity Plan as a whole will include categories based around your particular industry and processes to ensure interrupted operation in the event of a disaster.
As a minimum, every Business Continuity Plan has these components common to each industry:
- Assess the potential risks and making a determination of their level of severity they may have
- Plan a response to determine what systems, services, and resources will be needed to get your priority systems up and running
- determine the key staff and their roles to ensure operation and employment of the plan is effective
- How communication to internal and external contacts will be handled including who will provide updates to key people.
- deploying a test scenario (natural disaster or other) and deploying your Business Continuity Plan and tweaking where necessary.
Never wait for a disaster to strike to take action. Ensure your companies intellectual property, Data Backup, Disaster Recovery, and Business Continuity plans are effective with regular testing and checks. At TechNine We help small to medium businesses on the Central Coast, Newcastle, and Sydney with their Backup, Disaster Recovery, and Business continuity plans.
Let us help your buisness too!
Do you have questions or concerns about your Backups & Disaster Recovery? Perhaps you need to refresh your Business continuity plan? Send us a message!
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