Data Backup & Disaster Recovery Plans

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Planning are the most important aspects of ensuring your Company’s continued success in the face of a catastrophic event such as fire, flood and earthquake or for that matter someone stealing all of your hardware!

Large corporations have well defined and financed backup strategies. They have the budgets and resources to invest in backup infrastructure such as SAN (storage area networks) and NAS (network area storage) hardware. They will tend to have multiple backup systems and disaster recovery plans in place, they will also have the budgets and resources to add to their capacity as required. The truly prepared businesses will most certainly be using cloud/offsite storage as an integral part of their disaster planning.

Most small to medium sized businesses and other organizations such as non-profits and educational institutions do not have the resources to invest in the same manner as the large corporations nor do they have the employees with the experience to properly install and maintain these backup systems and disaster strategies. They typically are using some form of DAS(direct attached storage) such as a portable hard drive or USB thumb drive or are still burning CD’s or DVD’s. One of the issues with this type of backup is it is frequently a manual process that may or may not get done often enough if at all and secondly, these devices are not always taken offsite which makes them worthless in a disaster scenario.

A catastrophic event can put these small businesses out of business if they do not have a proper data backup of their critical information available. We offer backup strategies to suit most budgets that will ensure they do not suffer in the event of this type of scenario.

There are only two types of businesses; the ones who have already experienced data loss and the ones that will suffer data loss.

The main issues in data backup are there are many moving parts, hardware purchases that need to be maintained, configured, managed and eventually upgraded. Because data backup and protection is not a revenue generator, making a business case is a huge challenge.

Let’s look at some of the ways data loss may occur:

Human error

This is the one that is always coming across our help desk. They have accidentally moved or deleted a file or folder. In a situation like this you may be able to go to the shadow copies for a quick recovery and if not then to the daily backups

Hardware failure

This is a common reason for data loss. All hardware will fail eventually, hard drives fail regularly. This is why you need to have the data on multiple devices, the chance of multiple drives failing on different devices is extremely remote.

Viruses

Viruses such as cryptolocker, cryptowall and other ransomware, these viruses will crawl through your network encrypting all the data they can find and then demand a ransom be paid to provide the key to unlock the files. I expect this will soon become the number one reason soon. If you do not have copies of the data in a location not attached to the local network, such as cloud or offsite, you may find yourself in trouble.

Software corruption

Sometimes the volume or directory information may get corrupted and will prevent you from locating your files. Other times you may get a transfer corruption when moving the files back and forth.

Fire, Flood Earthquake

Yup, it happens! Sometimes the flood is not natural, but rather man made, such as a burst plumbing pipe. Oh, yeah I forgot to mention tornadoes, which we can get here in Edmonton, Alberta.

Theft or Destruction

Whether by a thief in the night or a disgruntled employee or a hacker who has found his way into your network these are all possible scenarios. While you may take reasonable precautions to keep the hackers at bay, the determined ones will usually find a way in eventually and once in they may decide to cause some damage to your environment.

So, while we have by no means created an exhausted list, you can see there are many different ways in which your data is vulnerable.

The best approach to data backup and to prepare for any of these events or even a simple but accidental data deletion is to have a sound data backup strategy in place such as the 3-2-1- rule. This rule simply states that you should have 3 copies of the data on 2 different mediums/devices locally and 1 copy offsite. i.e. 1 copy on the server, 1 copy to a local NAS (Network Area Storage) & an offsite online backup solution. The onsite backups are great for quick recovery times of larger data sets such as a disk image and the offsite data storage would be considered a critical component to a Disaster Recovery Plan. The 3-2-1 may not be the perfect plan for everyone, but it is a great plan for most Small to Medium Businesses!