Backing Up and Restoring Your Data
When it comes to business pretty much everything is digital now.
Businesses can now discover innovative ways to safely store data without having piles and piles of paper. So, it’s now more important than ever to have data backed up. But why is it so important? How easy it is to restore files? What are the implications of data loss, and can it be mitigated?
All these questions and more in this week’s blog.
Backups are so crucial to an organization’s continuity. I cannot tell you how many stories I have read where a major catastrophe could have been avoided if the organization had a good backup. Toy Story 2 was famously almost lost, which would have resulted in a net loss of 20 to 30 years of work. It was only saved by the fact that someone had secretly been backing up the film in an almost accidental fashion, which ultimately saved the film and probably the entire company. According to a recent Carnegie-Mellon University report, hard drive failures affect up to 13 percent of all personal computer users each year. And yet surveys show almost half of users do not back up their data.
Besides random hard drive failure, you can also become the victim of a data kidnapping, otherwise known as ransomware. That’s when a hacker puts a virus on the machine that encrypts your data, making it worthless. You may have to pay a ransom for the hacker to un-encrypt your data, with no guarantee that they will do so if you pay. If you have a current backup of your data, this is less of a worry. You can just clear your hard drive and restore it to your latest backup.
However, this doesn’t answer the question of what happens when you lose that data. We don’t have to tell you that your entire business can come to a screeching halt. However, there are a few concepts that we need to clarify.
Recovery Time Objective
When speaking of backing up and restoring your data, there are two terms a lot of us need to understand for an effective solution: RTO and RPO.
“RTO, or recovery time objective, refers to how much time an application can be down without causing significant damage to the business. Some applications can be down for days without significant consequences. Some high priority applications can only be down for a few seconds without incurring employee irritation, customer anger, and lost business.
RTO is not simply the duration of time between loss and recovery. The objective also accounts for the steps IT must take to restore the application and its data. If IT has invested in failover services for high priority applications, then they can safely express RTO in seconds. (IT must still restore the on-premises environment. But since the application is processing in the cloud, IT can take the time it needs.)”
Obviously, you want a low RTO. However, getting to that point takes skill, expertise, and an extremely personal touch. Each business is completely unique, and the way you store information and what software you use to access said information is not always the same. The process by which you recover your information needs to be handled by a professional IT team, which is where we come in, but first, we have one other term to deal with.
Recovery Point Objective
“RPO, or Recovery Point Objective, is a measurement of the maximum tolerable amount of data to lose. It also helps to measure how much time can occur between your last data backup and a disaster without causing serious damage to your business. RPO is useful for determining how often to perform data backups.”
RPO is an important metric because each business has to set the parameters that will inform the IT specialists how best to set up the recovery system. Without this, certain aspects of a high-turnover business might lose more money than they need to. It’s important to identify these “choke points” in data and to make sure that they’re being updated at a consistent rate. There are few different levels to this, so let’s explain that real quick.
Tier-1: Mission-critical applications that require an RTPO of less than 15 minutes.
Tier-2: Business-critical applications that require RTO of 2 hours and RPO of 4 hours.
Tier-3: Non-critical applications that require RTO of 4 hours and RPO of 24 hours.
It’s important to identify what tier your applications belong to, so that you can figure out a system to get things back online as quickly as possible without wasting your time a tier that doesn’t need immediate attention. Part of IT is the strategy. Sometimes, the most effective system is one that requires hard work, planning, and training, rather than a simple fix-all piece of software or hardware. It’s important to keep in mind that you should be consulting with CNI or with your IT team to make sure that you are identifying systems correctly.
Here are a few quick steps you can take to save yourself a major headache in the future. Source
- Double-check your backup solution
Backup parameters are important, and looking for a dependable solution that affords you multiple versions and a retention plan reaching back at least 90 days is the best option. Simultaneously, consider increasing the number of snapshots of mission-critical data.
- Fine-tune your processes
Having data in place and a schedule of backups doesn’t necessarily mean that your recovery process will go smoothly. You might not have hardware on hand or your team members might lack knowledge of the recovery process. These details could result in lengthened recovery time, so contemplate reviewing and fine-tuning your methods beforehand.
- Watch your budget
Since keeping more snapshots and versions demands more storage space and capacity, it also requires more expenditure. Consider keeping some versions on local storage to cut the costs.
- Have a disaster recovery plan in place
It’s not enough just to have backups; create a well-considered DR plan and include all possible disaster scenarios. Think about the worst-case scenarios and be prepared for them.
Backing up systems/data is quintessential, but having an off-site backup is also crucial. What you want is a Tier 3 SSAE/ SOC certified data center, with 99.999% uptime, and multiple redundancies. We can help you pick such a service, and if you accidentally delete something we can get it back. Furthermore, if your computer dies we can resurrect it from the last backup. What you’re getting is the best service imaginable for this type of scenario, with some of the brightest experts in the field working today.