2015.02.11 Tech Corner – It is Time to Change The Way You Think About Disaster Recovery

It is Time to Change The Way You Think About Disaster Recovery

Article By: Rich Silva – Founder – Pain Point IT Solutions, Inc.

Too often, I am encountering companies that believe backing up their data off site is a disaster recovery plan. There are major differences between a data backup and a disaster recovery plan and I hope to shed some light on this in my newsletter this week.

A Sound Disaster Recovery Plan Involves the RIGHT PEOPLE

If your office manager, the receptionist, the bookkeeper, the accountant, or the business owner is the designated person in charge of disaster recovery...

Unless they are IT people, they likely have no clue what they will do when the time comes that they need to restore the data that they may or may not have been meticulously watching over the past XX months, days, or years. All of those off-site backup status reports, or the rotating of tapes or USB drives equates to nothing if there are no processes or knowledgeable IT people maintaining this for you.

If your part-time IT person, or IT break-fix person who provides you with "blocks of time" is your designated person in charge of disaster recovery...

You're closer to being ready but you should take them to task and ask them if a workstation, a server, or a data center disaster struck what is their plan of action to recovery. If they can't precisely tell you the tools, processes, amount of time it will take, and the availability of personnel resources when you need them; consider this a warning that they are providing you with data backup and not disaster recovery.

A Sound Disaster Recovery Plan Involves Backing Up Data Off-Site AND Locally

Sending your files off-site to any one of these cloud, or off-site backup companies is only 1/3 of the battle. You've addressed data backup, but what about recovery. The next third is having a plan in place to restore files as quickly as poosible and with minimal down time. This is where local backup is key. I'll give a hypothetical example. Let's say over a 1 year period, you've backed up around 250GB (and this is a conservative number) of files to just the cloud and you do this once every 24 hours. Let's say you have a SUPER IT company that can get on-site, repair your server, and get it to the point where there they are ready to start downloading your files that are in the cloud within 4 hours. Again, this would be a SUPER IT company. It would take approximately 18 hours and 57 minutes to download this data back to your computer. I actually know a few IT people who have told me these horror stories. An equivalent local backup on a 100M network would take approximately 48 minutes. The final third of the battle is not only having files backed up, but also images backed up (both locally and off-site). An image based backup reduces the IT companies work to reinstall the operating system, set up all of the software and licensing, and complete all of the necessary security patch updates. This is because an image is an actual snapshot of the targeted host and not just their files.

A Sound Disaster Recovery Plan Involves Having the Right Hardware, Software, and Processes in Place

Backing up data on-site, off-site, across servers, onto USB drives, onto tapes is a backup plan and shows little to no concern for restoring data. Trying to unravel this puzzle of pods of backups in different places when it is needed most is a recipe for prolonging the pain of your disaster. Your recovery process should be streamlined by combining these islands of backups into a common platform that is monitored and maintained by a professional IT company who can identify and resolve when backups are not working and put hardware and software solutions in place as well as processes to help you reduce the pain a disaster can cause your business.

Summary

Data file backup is half the battle and one that I'm happy to say most that I speak with recognize that they should and often do. The problem is that most that I speak with have no recovery plan or concept of how long it will take to recover if disaster strikes. Thinking that your non-IT office staff is trained to handle a recovery is down right dangerous. Thinking that your part time (or full time) IT staff can handle it may or may not be dangerous, but you should at least ask them what the plan is. I guarantee they won't ever initiate that conversation; you will have to. You should consider partnering with an IT company (like us at Pain Point IT Solutions) that offers more than "we can back up your data off-site and to the cloud". That's just simply not good enough.

Don't forget that even if your business doesn't close any sale in a given day, or produce another product in a given day; the one thing that it does produce each and every day (even snow days) is DATA. This is data that GROWS and is backed up each and every day. What is your plan to recover it ?