business continuity planIt’s impossible to predict the future. Hard drives can fail without warning, cyber-attacks increase, and natural disasters could strike at any moment. Data security is best ensured by backing up data quickly and making it recoverable as quickly as possible as well as having a business continuity plan. This will minimize downtime when the unexpected happens.

Backup and data recovery have come a long ways. The days of manual recovery and media-vaulted backup are long gone. BDR solutions today offer secure, fast, monitored and continuous backup as well as rapid data restoration via cloud-based architecture. There are many options and methods available to meet every business need.

Backup evolution

Tapes were copied on a tape and kept in a vault. This process has remained unchanged for many decades. The reliability and trustworthiness of on-site backup solutions is almost as old as computing itself. There are many backup solutions available, whether it is a database that requires backing up, unstructured file, applications or any other type of data.

Although the backup can be saved to tape, optical media or disk, the end result is the exact same: a backup media collection that is stored in a vault. On-site backup always included an off-site component. This was usually someone taking the media and moving it to another location. This is sometimes called “off-site media backup”, but it’s actually “off-site media vaulting”.

This vaulting method of off-site backup has been used for the past 20 years. It involved either moving media or, more progressively, setting up a storage repository at a remote location along the WAN, and tunneling the backup data across what were almost always lower bandwidth WAN links once the backup was complete. This limited the amount of time a backup could be performed or limited bandwidth available for business users. Storage costs rose in an era when storage was still too expensive for most people, except large enterprises. The evolution of backup led to a new type of off-site backup ten years ago. Online backup allows solution providers to back up data to a hosted, off-site platform. This eliminates the need for media transport.

The same evolution has seen backup merged with cloud computing, transforming the previous generation. As bandwidth has improved, it is now possible to use third party services to manage online off-site backup. Virtualization has made hardware more abstracted. Combining increased bandwidth with commoditized hardware and the evolution of business continuity, off-site backup and disaster restoration solutions have enabled continuous data protection without the need for expensive systems such as those made by Tandem.

Cloud-based offsite backup is not sufficient in the event of a disaster. Data on off-site and on-site backups will not suffice to recover from a disaster. It will be necessary to replace the computer systems and the networks connecting them in order to restore the data.

Definitions & key terms

Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR), a combination data backup and disaster recovery solutions, is designed to protect a company’s business continuity.

Remote data backup refers to the process of backing-up data created remotely and branch offices (ROBOs), and securely storing it. ROBOs need backup and recovery solutions to support their data protection policies as well as business service levels.

The backup window is the time frame within which backups will be scheduled to run on a system. They are usually scheduled at times of low usage (i.e. These are often scheduled during times of minimal usage (i.e. after hours).

The recovery time objective is a benchmark that indicates how quickly data should be recovered in order to maintain business continuity after a disaster or unplanned downtime.

The Recovery Point Objective is a benchmark that indicates which data must still be available in order to allow normal business operations to resume after a disaster or unplanned downtime. This is usually based on file date (i.e. This is often based on file age (i.e., all files backed up prior to date X must also be recovered). Administrators can use RTO to help them determine how often backups should be performed.

The area of security planning that deals in disaster recovery is designed to protect an organization from the negative effects of major events. In this context, significant negative events can be anything that could put an organization’s operations at serious risk. This includes crippling cyber attacks or equipment failures, as well hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

Cloud disaster recovery is an element of a disaster recovery plan. It involves keeping copies of enterprise data in the cloud storage environment as security measures.

Business continuity is a loosely defined collection of planning, preparation, and related activities. It’s designed to ensure that critical business functions are maintained even after major incidents or natural disasters.

Different types of backup

Full backup means that all files and folders (or the entire computer) are backed up. This is often used to create a backup of all files and folders. Then, it’s followed by incremental or differential backups.

A full backup will contain all data selected. The entire list of files and folders that were copied will be copied again when the next backup is performed. Although this makes it easier to restore data, it can also cause backups to take a lot of time and consume a lot of storage space.

A differential backup is a backup process that starts with a full backup and then backs up any changes made since that backup. This makes backups and restores much quicker, but also allows for faster storage utilization.

Although incremental backup can be used in the same way as differential backup, incremental backup stores any changes made since the last backup cycle, regardless of whether it was full or incremental.

Mirror backup, as its name implies, is a real-time replica of the source that is being backed up. Mirror backups are able to delete files from the source and mirror them. Mirror backups must be used with caution, as files that are deleted accidentally, sabotage, or by virus infection may also be deleted in the mirror backup. Some people do not consider mirrors to be backups.

Mirror backups with a 30-day deletion are offered by many online backup services. This means that if you delete a file from your source, the file will be kept on the storage server at least 30 days before being deleted. This allows for a balance between safety and affordability, while allowing backups to grow as online storage can be quite expensive.

Many backup software utilities do provide support for mirror backups.

These are the advantages

Backup is clean and doesn’t contain obsolete or old files

There are disadvantages

It is possible that files from the source may be accidentally deleted, or by sabotage.

Local backup refers to any backup that is made on-site. Storage is typically connected directly to the source computer to be backed-up or through a local area network. This is the simplest form of data backup and prevention. However, it comes with many inherent disaster-related risk as there is no offsite redundancy and no cloud component.

Remote backup, also known as cloud backup, is an offsite backup type that allows users to restore and administer backups from anywhere. This backup offers some of the best protection against unplanned downtime and natural disasters.

Hybrid backup and Business Continuity Plan

Cloud backups, also known online backup, are primarily focused on copying files to remote locations. This is an excellent option for disaster recovery. Hybrid backup mixes cloud backup with local backup to provide system recovery, file restores quickly, and disaster recovery.

Hybrid backup is a combination of cloud backup and local backup. Local backup is usually a USB drive, drive that’s shared within the network , or NAS device. Hybrid backup is a combination of both cloud backup and local backup. This utility runs in the background, transparently and easily. Cloud backup adds an extra layer of protection to the data on the computer system.

Hybrid cloud data backup backs up every production server as a virtual image. This can be done by either making a copy or converting physical servers into VM images. These images are stored on the local appliance just like regular file backups, but they also have a platform that can be restarted in the event of a primary server going down.

This allows a single appliance to act as a standby server for multiple primary servers or VMs. Although failover is not automatic, many hosted disaster recovery service providers can offer what’s basically high availability (HA), to production server environments as part their backup infrastructure. Final step is to transfer these VM images into the cloud provider’s database center. This data center has sufficient compute resources to start any of them in case of a disaster at client’s location.

Disaster recovery and data backup are two different things. Backup software and the person responsible can fail. Backups without recovery are the same as not backing up. There are additional steps that you must take to ensure you can successfully restore your data if you do need it. These include assembling the right recovery environment, which includes the right operating systems, servers, storage, and the right people, processes and tools to restore the backed-up data.

Why do companies require back up and disaster recovery?

1. Backup software may fail

Many organizations have been left hanging by their backup software after a disruption due to an inexplicable faith. Let’s take the example of the Civil District Court in New Orleans. After a server crash, what appeared to be a basic recovery of the county’s conveyance as well as mortgage records databases turned out to be a much bigger problem than a night in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras. The installation of an updated version of backup software, despite indications that it had been successful, failed to be discovered. For nearly a year, the new backups were not being installed, even though they were supposed to have been successful. Old copies were also deleted every 30 days.

End result: All entries and changes made after the most recent backup were lost.

2. Recovery must be supported in your mind

Steven Covey best states this in 7 Habits for Highly Effective People: “Begin With the End in Mind.” This applies to data backup and disaster recovery. Backup your data as though you might ever need it.

This is an example of why it’s so important.

One of our partners used third-party companies to manage their backups. The third-party company backed up data from multiple servers and applications, stripping it across tape. Their main concern from a backup standpoint is not to restore data; it’s about backing up data as fast as possible. The IT team had to recover their data after a major disaster. They quickly discovered that stripping their data made it nearly impossible to assemble a million pieces of jigsaw puzzle. They couldn’t find the tapes they needed to complete this “puzzle” in the end.

3. Data backup is just the beginning

Chapter one of disaster recovery is having a backup copy of your data at an offsite location. Chapter two refers to having the right systems to recover your data. This means you must have the right storage systems, operating systems, hypervisors and servers in your recovery environment. Your production environment should be replicated in your recovery environment. This is not an easy task as there are so many changes in a production environment every day that IT staff are often too busy to capture.

Let’s assume you have the right environment for recovery. Chapter three concerns having the right people and processes to help you recover when you need them. This problem is all too common: The Oracle guy wasn’t available, the Windows guy didn’t want to travel, and the runbooks were not up-to-date or based on an older operating system.

This is not to say data backup and disaster restoration are the same thing, but both are essential for long-term technology resilience. The right recovery mindset is essential.

a) Data backup according to your recovery plan

b) Connecting the correct recovery systems to properly backed up data.

c) Create a programmatic approach for recovery by arming oneself with the right people and processes and the right tools and making sure they are all available at the appropriate time.

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now if you wish to have an effective business continuity and backup plan for your home.

SpartanTec, Inc.
Charleston, SC 29407

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence