When business stakeholders (owner, CFO, managers) think of IT disaster recovery what they are typically referring to is Data Backup. Data backup is the creation of a copy of critical corporate data located on a server or desktop for the purposes of being able to recover that data when needed. Reasons for having to recover data include:
- file system corruption;
- hardware failure;
- accidental deletion; and/or
There are many software packages available that are designed to provide data recovery. They range from sub-$100 portable hard disks with one-touch backup, to software like Symantec Backup Exec that can cost tens of thousands of dollars for complete coverage of a multi-server environment. They all have their strengths and weaknesses depending on your budget and propensity for data loss. No matter what the cost/benefit analysis of any backup solution, two weaknesses they all have include: the human factor, and proper planning of a data protection strategy. Even the best automated systems have to be managed by a technical engineer who has to design a strategy that can be automated, tested and managed. As complicated as this might be, this is actually an oversimplified view of what Disaster Recovery (DR) entails. Data backup is designed to primarily provide restored data with some ability to re-create systems.
Disaster recovery, on the other hand, refers to your ability to rapidly overcome any system failure and return to a fully functional state so that the overall impact to your business is minimized. Traditionally the cost of such capability has been prohibitive for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) as it required the hosting of redundant hardware co-located at a data center – this resulted in more than doubling the cost of maintaining and supporting IT for the business. Over the past few years, affordable new technologies have emerged, so that the average SMB can now take advantage of technology DR plans and protect their businesses. Two technologies that specifically allow SMBs to have an effective DR plan are:
- Server Imaging; and
- Virtualization Software.
When deployed properly, these technologies allow for the re-creation of any server in a short time period, so that the impact on end-users are minimized allowing them to continue working even if the primary server fails.
When designing a data protection strategy, typically an SMB had to choose between data backup or DR, with data backup being less expensive. The downside of that data backup only is that ultimately when a catastrophic hardware failure happens (and it will), the SMB is faced with very high cost of recovery – new hardware, professional services to rebuild, end-user downtime and often, corporate and client data loss. These events can run easily into the tens of thousands of dollars (not to mention the potential loss of revenue, invaluable intellectual property, customer confidence and legal liability in regulated industries and under privacy laws).
The most cost-effective plan include both data backup and DR - that way a network is protected from both data loss and catastrophic hardware failure. When offline storage is added to this, the protection is extended to cover natural disasters, terrorist action and loss of access to the premises due to fire, flood or other factors. The plan also has to address triggers for failing over to DR secondary access. These triggers should be outlined clearly in your corporate Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan, so that they are easily understood even if key people are not available.
The Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR) services from The Utility Company offer the best protection available in a cost-effective package for the average SMB. Our BDR system protects against accidental deletion of data, data corruption, security breaches, hardware failure, loss of access as well as total loss of premises and equipment. It utilizes complete snapshots of your IT systems and data taken at intervals and stores them at a secure data center offsite. Using this type of technology ensures that in the event of any issues with your data, you can easily recover and have your systems back online in as little as an hour, as opposed to days or weeks. This allows your employees to get back to business. The data protection strategy is fully designed and managed by the certified engineers, so you can have peace of mind in knowing that your business is protected no matter what happens. Here at The Utility Company we urge all SMBs to take a good hard look at their business and make sure they are as disaster-proof as they can be. To put it in a simple perspective, if your home burnt down and you lost all your family photographs, it would be possible to recreate them all IF you had the foresight to make digital copies and save a copy of all those files elsewhere. If you didn’t however, a lifetime of invaluable memories will be just that, memories. And no one wants their business to be just that either – a memory.
To learn how to put your BDR strategy in place, please attend one our Let’s GO sessions daily
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