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Backups, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

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Backups, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Maintaining a backup is the single most important thing you can do to protect your company, and one of the most misunderstood. We get asked about them all the time, and is the number one problem we identify with new clients. Trying to deal with backups on your own can be really complicated, and expensive, so here’s our take on the subject based on over 30 years experience. We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible.

The very first law of computers is – “your disk drive will fail”. This is not an if, it’s a when, so you need to be prepared. Take the time to think of what you can or can’t afford to lose. Be it baby pictures or detailed design drawings of that next great product, ERP systems, etc, figure out what you need to protect.

Backup is very much a “you get what you pay for” sort of deal. If you have infinite funds, you can reduce your chance of losing data to near zero. Practically speaking, that’s cost prohibitive, so GridWay provides options and recommendations based on industry best practice and affordability. It all comes down to,

  • What do I need to protect?
  • How long can I afford my systems to be down?
  • How much is it going to cost?

 

The accepted standard for information protection is the three-two-one rule – it can be summarized as:
To protect your data, you should have:

  • At least three copies,
  • In two different formats,
  • with one of those copies off-site.

From there, you need to decide on a strategy. Are you only interested in file level backups? Do you require some form of disaster recovery? e.g. in case of fire, theft, etc. Are your systems business critical to the point you can’t afford any downtime and require high availability business continuity solutions? Here’s what we class as Standard Backup, Disaster Recovery, and Business Continuity.

Standard Backup

Applying the 3-2-1 rule, your most cost effective strategy is to go with an offsite backup system, sometimes called Cloud Backup. Then if you need additional options such as WAN acceleration and faster local restores, add in a local (onsite) component. Features of a proper backup system are:

  • Storage device is offsite and can be optionally paired with an onsite system
  • Backup software can be managed locally or remotely
  • File level restores are possible
  • System restores (VM’s) are possible for servers
  • Forms part of an overall DR strategy
  • Recovery point is usually daily with 30 to 90 day retention
  • Can be used for basic disaster recovery
  • When used as a DR seed, RTO’s are typically days. The recovery will involve replacing hardware, installing software, and restoring data to local or hosted servers.
  • Cost is based on storage used

Enhanced Disaster Recovery

  • To enhance your DR capability, we create an enhanced backup with reserved components and more frequent recovery points.
  • It requires either standby hardware or preconfigured reserved servers ready to be turned on.
  • Requires detailed DR planning
  • Recovery time typically 4 to 12 hours
  • Recovery points are variable, depending on how many restore points the customer wants, and can afford
  • Cost is based on storage used and component reservation

High Availability / Business Continuity

  • This is for systems that cannot afford to be offline. e.g. e-commerce systems
  • Requires either standby hardware or preconfigured reserved servers ready to be turned on
  • Requires detailed DR planning
  • Recovery time typically minutes
  • Recovery points are variable, depending on how many restore points the customer wants, and can afford
  • Automatic failover is an option
  • Cost is based on storage used and component reservation

Lastly, ensure that you do regular test restores and recovery trials. After all, any backup is only as good as its restore.

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