IT Insights

The essentials of backup and data recovery

Life is uncertain and we never really know what is around the corner. A disaster can strike a small business at anytime, be it a flood or storm that wipes out your office, a malicious hacker stealing your data, or even an employee compromising your systems by inadvertently downloading viruses. Any one of these events could bring your networks crashing down and could be a disaster for a small business which doesn’t have the financial resources to cope with data loss or downtime. Companies today are so dependent on their IT to contact customers and run day-to-day business operations that when a disaster causes downtime, you’re not only losing money by paying your staff to sit around, you’re also losing old and new customers and compromising your hard-won reputation. And this is why backup, data recovery and business continuity are crucial for businesses of all sizes.

There are many options out there for small and medium businesses looking to protect their most important data without breaking the bank, but first, let’s take a look at exactly what backup and disaster recovery entails.

What does disaster recovery entail?

Backup is simply a process of copying and archiving your computer data, and there are various ways this can be achieved, whereas disaster recovery is how you then use this data to restore your systems and get them running as quickly as possible after a crisis. Your Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) are the maximum tolerable length of time a system or network can be down after a disaster and it is important that you consider this when putting together a disaster plan.

A good data recovery plan will include a set of procedures that you and your staff will follow during and after a disaster to ensure that you have all the data you need to keep operating. It will also list the critical resources your staff will need access to if a cyber attack, hack or natural disaster brings your business to a halt. If it’s well thought out and rehearsed, a disaster recovery plan will ensure minimum disruption to your every operations and keep your data secure whatever might happen to your office and hardware.

In many cases, disaster recovery steps for businesses involve restoring your servers or mainframe hardware with backups you’ve already made, reconnecting any private branch exchanges (PBX) or perhaps provisioning local area networks (LANS) so that you can deal with any immediate business. There are different methods of doing this, so let’s take a look at your options.

Cloud Recovery Options

Cloud computing has forever changed the way many small and medium businesses operate, but it comes into its own when it involves disaster recovery. If you are already making use of cloud technology, you can save money on dedicated recovery resources when disaster strikes. Cloud providers can offer long-term data storage often on a pay-per-user basis. This means you can back up important data when you need to. The cloud offers lower costs and flexible recovery options, even if a flood or fire has forced you to move to a new location. But there are some downsides to using the cloud for backup and disaster recovery in that it can take some time to fully recover data. And while the initial costs for cloud data storage or archiving can seem cheap compared to other options, they will add up over time. The best solution is to use the cloud only to keep the latest copy of your working data. This is the most useful version in a disaster anyway.

Virtualization Recovery

Virtualization is another way you can ensure seamless backup and disaster recovery. Many businesses use virtualization simply to cut back on their physical servers by putting them into a data center. When your networks are virtualized, you also have access to powerful tools that can become part of a disaster recovery plan. A virtualized solution has the benefit of speed because you are building up on a virtual machine rather than rebuilding an entire physical server from the ground up, so you only need a small fraction of the original hardware to host your entire infrastructure, and you can get all your data back at the flick of a switch.

Managed Disaster Recovery with Sabio IT

Another option is to bring in experts like the team here at Sabio IT to put together a disaster recovery plan and carry out automated backups. This is a good idea for companies who only have a small in-house IT team or one overworked IT person to deal with a crisis. A managed service provider’s team can learn the ins and outs of your business, and protect your most important data. They can install automated systems of data replication as well as host physical or virtual servers off-site. Such managed disaster recovery is sometimes called Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).

Here at Sabio we use Virtualization technology as we’ve found it’s the best option when it comes to fast recovery times. With Sabio Wise Care Virtualization service, backups can be virtualized either locally on the Sabio appliance or remotely in Sabio’s secure cloud, in mere seconds, and with the click of a button. This means that even if you’re struck by a nightmare disaster, you can have your systems back online in minutes and your customers and clients won’t even realize there has been a problem. What’s more, the team at Sabio IT with their complete suite of Wise Care services will be monitoring your systems and networks around the clock so that we can react immediately to any issues as they arise, ensuring you enjoy perfect peace of mind that your systems are ready to face the worst.

The best solution for your business

The disaster recovery and backup solution you choose depends on the needs of your business and how you use your IT. It is worth taking the time to identify your mission critical data and identify what must be recovered immediately if an outage or disaster strikes. Some applications will be needed right away and some can be put on the back burner for a few days. Be clear on your RTO and incorporate regular testing and integration into your enterprise so that you’re disaster ready at all times.  

If you want to know more about any aspects of backup or disaster recovery, you should get in touch with the experts here at Sabio IT. We would be happy to give you the benefit of our experience and help you put together a plan that prepares you for disaster.