Doing data backup is easy. Considering the needs for data recovery is where many go wrong. There are 3 points of data recovery that must be considered when putting together a proper Backup and Disaster Recovery plan.
1. Recovery of a File – Very simple and straight forward, you must be able to recover data files. Can you recover deleted files from every location people save files? Most files reside on the server or in a document management system. Are people saving these documents on their workstations while they edit them? What happens if Microsoft Word crashes? I am sure that the file server is backed up, but is it backed up often enough? Daily backups taken over night are typically not sufficient in most modern networks.
2. Recovery of a Server – Many business owners take comfort in that fact their server is being backed up without ever considering what recovering the server really means. How long will it take to get a replacement server? Will the same type of server be available? How do people work while waiting for the hardware? Once you have the replacement server, how long will it take to restore it to service? With many backup solutions, restoring requires the server OS and applications to be reinstalled before the data is restored. It adds another level of complexity (and time) when recovering to dissimilar computer hardware.
3. Recovery of a Site– Unfortunately, disasters do happen. Here in Texas the media has been marking the ten year anniversary of the tornado that ripped through downtown Fort Worth destroying buildings and ravaging businesses. We have also been seeing all the coverage of earthquakes. And let’s not forget about fires. A recent study discovered that, of companies experiencing a “major loss” of computer records, 43 percent never reopened, 51 percent closed within two years of the loss, and a mere 6 percent survived over the long-term. Having a plan and being able to recover quickly can greatly improve the chances of the business surviving.
A Complete Solution that addresses all of these points –
A good backup system should allow for quick and flexible restores that allows for recovery of files, folders, partitions, mailboxes/messages, databases/tables using a quick and intuitive process. A 15-minute incremental based backup allows restores to be done from any point in time, allowing for multiple versions of files, folders, messages/mailboxes, database/tables to be restored.
If any of your servers fail, a good data backup solution will include virtualization technology embedded in the Network Attached Storage (NAS) that allows customer servers and applications to be restored and rebooted in less than 30 minutes in most cases. As you may sometimes wait several days in order to receive replacement servers from vendors, your NAS can have your business up and running. The NAS multitasks so that, even while functioning as a virtual server, it can continue to back up data from other devices plugged into the NAS. This technology thus allows you to remain in business without any significant loss of data backup, server functionality, or application downtime. In case of a complete server failure the solution should support a bare metal restore to new hardware which has a different configuration, hardware and drivers as compared to the failed server.
Transmitting data to a remote site is another key component of a worthy Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan. It guarantees that, in case of physical damage to the client’s network or NAS, or even regional disaster, the data is safe. Encryption is required in transmitting data between the NAS and the remote sites, because it greatly reduces the risk of data loss incidents that plague magnetic tape and prevents man-in-the-middle attacks during transmission. Of course a key consideration of off-site backup is the amount of time it could take to restore data over the Internet. Solutions that offer both transmission as well as emergency delivery of a new device with the most recent image are doubly effective.
In summary, the most important aspects of Backup and Disaster Recovery are to first, have a specific plan, second have a well thought out and comprehensive plan that matches the requirements of your business and lastly, to consistently manage and test your BDR solution. In an age of document management, EMR, paperless office, HIPAA, HITECH, Sarbanes Oxley, eDiscovery, etc., a reliable Backup and Disaster Recovery solution are paramount to the longevity of your business.