Date: March 11, 2016 | Topic: Backup & Recovery
One topic that is extremely important in the corporate world is backup and recovery. Do you know what your backup plan is in the case of a disaster? And more importantly, have you tested that backup plan to insure that it works quickly and correctly? This month, our senior management team talks about the importance of backup and recovery.
Mike Estep | President: Backup and, more importantly, recovery is still an area in IT that is often overlooked. Everyone recognizes the importance of backing up their documents, but it is typically just the belief that you can recover. Rarely does anyone test recovery before they need to accomplish it.
The really good news is that most current operating systems and cloud services make it almost impossible to lose a file. Typically, you can restore from an old version by just a few clicks. This however promotes more of a belief that you can recover. The reality is that backup today has become used for just a few reasons:
- Compliance / tax returns – in many cases most systems rely on backup of annual data to be able to recover if you are audited or have a compliance problem.
- Malware challenges – this is quickly rising as a reason not only to backup but more importantly to test recovery. The new versions of malware don’t go active until a certain date, so in theory your backup could have had malware that, until you access beyond its scheduled activation date, you won’t know you even have!
- Cause everyone else does – all many people know is that they need to have a backup and recovery plan, but in reality you should evaluate and test what you need and how long you need to keep it for.
Recovery only works if tested!
Branden Smith | Vice President: Backup and recovery is a complex term as there are ways to accomplish it. It’s not simply for recovering deleted files today. When malware such as crypto-locker strikes, a good (and recent) backup is the best way to get your files back. Many companies plan their backup strategy around a complete disaster, but they are far more likely to need it to recover from a single hard drive crash (or malware). There are a few recent high-profile news stories that would not have happened had those companies used a proper backup strategy.
Backup/Disaster/Recovery (BDR) strategies can cost as much as your production infrastructure, so companies need to think carefully about what strategy is used. Many of the things to consider are: how much data do I need to backup, where do I want to store it (office, off-site, cloud), how quickly do I need to be able to restore files, and do I want to back up the entire server or just my data? If your business has regulatory requirements could also play a role into your BDR strategy. A solid strategy for many small/mid-sized companies is an onsite appliance that also sends a copy of your data off-site. It allows you direct access to your data for the types of restores you’ll use 99% of the time and a copy in the cloud in case of a true site disaster. A backup is better than no backup, but a little thought/planning can go a long way when it comes time to restoring data.
Sean Barron | Chief Technology Architect: Backup is one of the most critical IT functions, yet because it is often not frequently needed and therefore not visable, it often doesn’t get the attention it needs. It’s rare that we have to restore data, but when we do have to use it, many times the financial stakes are high. A backup solution most importantly should be easy to restore and offer multiple restore options, from individual files and folders to entire disks or virtual machine images. A backup solution should be flexible enough to give the customer options about how the frequency restore points are created and how long to retain data.
BECA offers backup options to give customers local copies of their data and to archive it to external media and the cloud. BECA also offers backup and recovery solutions that allow the customer to instantly recover servers directly on the backup appliance to minimize downtime. Most importantly, BECA offers expertise on different backup solutions and recovery scenarios to ensure that whatever backup solution a customer has, it’s value can be maximized.
Robert Rivers | Business Development Director: If you speak about backup, RTO and RPO should first be defined. RTO stands for recovery time objective. In other words, how long it should take for your data to be recovered and operational. RPO is recovery point objective. This means how far back in time you need to regain your data. Once those objectives are defined then BECA can architect the correct Backup Solution for your company.
Remember that a sound backup solution is good for hardware and site failures. Also in 2016, with all the advanced security threats like Cryptolocker, backup is a major requirement in not paying ransoms. We feel AV, Backup, and a Firewall together help fight against these advanced threats!