Backups are not important until they’re really important!
The most overlooked and under-valued part of every IT infrastructure is backup. A good backup solution can cost a lot and while everything is running fine, a lot of companies don’t want to invest in something they don’t think they’ll use. That is until they need to restore data.
When a customer actually needs to use the backup system to restore data it often takes a lot longer than they thought and sometimes they have to re-enter data that was changed after the last backup. The next conversation with that customer is about how we can improve their backup system.
Why data backup is no longer enough
Recently we’ve been answering the question of improving backup with the following: Data backup is no longer good enough for your system and you should really be looking at a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity system. Here’s why:
- Recovery Point Objective – How much data can you lose? Obviously no one wants to lose any data but there will always be some amount of time between backup points. With a traditional small business tape or hard drive data backup solution you would often be looking at a backup taken once a day over night. This means if you lose your system late afternoon you could lose all your work for the entire day.
- Recovery Time – How long can you be without your system? Again most business owners would agree that they can’t work without a computer system so every minute it is down is costing them money. With traditional backup methods you could well be left with a USB drive containing just data. This is all well and good but without a server you can’t share that data or access it through applications. In a worst case scenario you may need a new server. This needs to be bought, installed and configured before that data become useable again. For most small businesses you’re looking at over 24 hours just to get the hardware required.
- Reliability and Human Error. So your backup runs every day and says it has completed, but how do you know? Tests can be run on a backup but it can take a lot of time even for large organisations. Also it is very rare that small businesses have the time or resources to carry out a full disaster recovery scenario. Then there is the human error possibility, often a small business doesn’t have designated IT staff so somebody in another role has to change tapes or backup drives. This isn’t their primary role so it’s possible that this job gets forgotten from time-to-time and the backup doesn’t run properly.
- Data Retention Regulations. A lot of industries are now required to keep copies of their data for 1, 3 or even 7 years. To do this you should really be storing separate copies of your backups offsite. With tapes or drives this can be costly and very difficult to keep up-to-date.
- Other Threats. It is also very important to remember that server failure, fire or theft isn’t the only way data can be lost. Security threats from hackers or malware infections can cause data loss along with the most common form of data loss = accidental deletion by the user. With all these potential threats to your data you need be confident that you have another, up-to-date, copy of your data that you can work from as soon as possible.
Business Continuity Solution
At LSA we believe that all businesses understand what they need from a data protection system but what is the best solution? We need to ensure that data is backed-up as often as possible, automatically sent offsite but be easily accessible so it can be restored at a moment’s notice. Finally, we need to know we’re following the rules enforced by our regulating authorities.
Traditional data backup solutions may not be enough for the modern business no matter the size. However, there are other solutions. Datto’s Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity solutions use the latest software and technology to keep your data as safe and accessible as possible. By using the Hybrid Cloud method these systems will not only keep a copy of your data onsite for quick access but also encrypt and securely send it to a UK based data centre in case disaster strikes.
- Recovery Point Time – A Datto Business Continuity System can take snapshots of server throughout the day, updating the changes made and adding them to a mirror image of your servers. As the backup is incremental they take only minutes to complete but ensure that in the event of a server failure you are back up and running quickly and as close to your last save as possible.
- Time to Recover – Virtual copies of a company server can be up and running on a Datto device within minutes of a failure rather than hours or days. Not only is that useful if a server fails but in the event of disaster at the customer’s office a virtual copy of the servers can be replicated in a UK data centre and securely accessed from remote computers at another location.
- Reliability – The backups taken are complete snapshots of your servers at that specific moment in time. Datto Business Continuity Systems can automatically virtualise that image creating an exact copy of your live system to ensure everything is working correctly. The device will then take a screenshot of the working image and send it to you in an e-mail so you know you can get to your data if the worst should happen.
- Data Retention Regulations – With a Datto Business Continuity System you can be sure that your regulatory requirements are covered. Options to store your data offsite based on a guaranteed time period to take to worry out of keeping to regulations.