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IT Strategies for Your Business: Backups and Recovery

Backups and Disaster Recovery

If you have ever accidentally deleted a file, dealt with a power outage, had a server crash, or any other data catastrophes, then you understand the importance of data backups and a disaster recovery plan. Making sure your business has the right backup solution and recovery procedures in place if these events occur is critical to long-term success.

In this blog, we will discuss backup and disaster recovery solutions and how they can keep your business safe from data loss.

What is the difference between backup and recovery?

It is important to note the difference between backup and recovery. In a backup, only a copy of the original data is stored separately. Recovery is the process of restoring lost data in case of failure, due to a server crashing, power outage, or natural disaster.

Why Backup and Recovery Plans Are Important

Many small businesses choose to ignore backup and recovery plans, primarily due to cost or they do not understand the value of having one. Backup and disaster recovery plans protect against natural disaster risk. From hurricanes to blizzards, many bad weather catastrophes can lead your business to experience downtime. Of course, a backup and disaster recovery procedure cannot prevent all the implications of a natural disaster, it can help protect data and ease the financial burden that downtime has on a small business.

In addition to natural disasters, backup and recovery plans help protect from potential employee disasters. Staff members can inadvertently delete files or access them in an unsecured location. Your staff may fall victim to cyber-attack, and confidential customer data may fall in the wrong hands. More and more files are being uploaded online every day, and cybercriminals are increasing their efforts to attack small businesses that are unprotected. Having the right backup and disaster recovery systems in place can mitigate the damage your staff could face when dealing with cybercriminals.

Regarding which backup solution is the best option, that will depend entirely on your business needs. There is a large range of options out there, and many backup and recovery companies will try to sell you all the reasons why their company is the best.

Types of Backup Solutions

The most common type of backups are full backups, incremental backups, and differential backups.

A full backup is a complete backup that makes a copy of all data to a storage device. All the data is available in one form of storage media. Full backups take longer and require the most storage space. An incremental backup only backs up files that have been changed since the last full backup. The application will keep track of the day and time any backups occur. Incremental backups are faster, and they require less storage media. Lastly, a differential backup will copy all changed files like an incremental backup. However, any time a differential backup is run again, it will continue to copy all data changed since the last full backup.

For your small business, you will also need to decide if your business needs the ability to restore, recover, and the ability to maintain availability. Your business may not need all of these, so working to research the best options with your IT team is important. They can help pinpoint what your exact needs will be before you end up buying a solution that does not serve your business well.

Furthermore, you and your IT team also want to have a good idea of exactly where you should store backups. You can keep backups on-site, in the cloud, or a mix of both (“hybrid cloud”). Hybrid clouds are highly recommended because they allow the ability to recover from the loss of a location or loss of Internet connectivity.

Types of Disaster Recovery Solutions

It is important to discuss with your team what type of disaster recovery goals you would like to set. For all your data, applications, and systems, you will need to establish some parameters. Some recovery staples you should consider are recovery time objective (RTO), recovery point objective (RPO), and the maximum tolerable period of disruption (MTPOD) Simply put, RTO is the amount of time your solutions will take to recover. RPO is the target amount of data your business is comfortable with losing if there is a disaster. MTPOD is related to downtime; in short, how long your business can go before it begins to suffer.

Defining your MTPOD first should be a top priority and should be based on the needs of your customers. For example, there is a specific portion of your website that is down. In the past, you noticed that it takes about 1 hour before it starts to affect your customer’s experience. In this case, the RTO and RPO cannot be more than 1 hour. By using the MTPOD, you have set the maximum limit, giving your business a timeframe as to when things can become difficult for your customers.

As you and your IT department work out your backup and disaster recovery solutions, you should determine which of these staples is most critical, and which one is not that high of a priority. As your business expands and systems grow, different strategies may not be as effective anymore, and your backup and disaster recovery plan should be continually evaluated as you go along.

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