Trends in Technology
People working in IT are well aware of the importance of backup and disaster recovery for mitigating the impact of unexpected downtimes for any business. But its critical for everyone, including business owners and team members, to understand how downtimes can result in loss of revenue.
Any downtime can hamper customer interactions, terminate data, decrease employee productivity and bring business processes to a grinding halt. Downtimes can result in various ways, from natural calamities and human error to ransomware attacks and security breaches, threatening availability of IT resources.
So, let’s discuss how to mitigate risks through backup and disaster recovery. We will go over key terms and discuss how different deployment options can support you in developing robust strategies for minimizing downtime and circumventing its costs.
What is Backup?
Backup is the procedure of creating an extra copy (or several copies) of data. In order to protect data, you back it up. In cases of accidental deletion, problems with software update or database corruption, you will need to restore the backed-up data.
What is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery refers to the plans and procedures in place for quickly regaining access to data, applications, and IT resources after a server or electricity-grid outage caused by natural or human-induced disaster. A disaster recovery plan might comprise of a switch to a redundant collection of servers and storage systems until the primary data center is online again.
Many people confuse between backup and disaster recovery. However, the two are different. Following a severe outage, simply possessing copies of the data won’t mean that you can get your business up and running. In order to ensure business continuity, you will need a dedicated and robust disaster recovery plan.
How to Plan Backup and Disaster Recovery
Having adequate and well-thought plans for backup and disaster recovery is crucial for your business, and hence cannot be neglected without repercussions. Such outcomes may include taking hours to recover lost data after an accidental deletion as your employees and partners sit idly, powerless to follow through on business-critical processes.
This not only impacts your business’s efficiency, it can also cause loss of your clientele and customer base. Since this entails a loss of both time and money, you can make investments in backup and disaster recovery.
So, what are essential facets and key terms related to backup and disaster recovery that you need to know about? Read on.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO):
The amount of data you can afford to lose in an outage or disaster. You might, for instance, continuously copy data to a remote data center so that a disaster won’t result in any data loss. Or you could decide that you can stand to lose 5 minutes or one hour and send data periodically.
Recovery Time Objective (RTO):
The amount of time it will take to recover routine business operations following an outage or disaster. You will need to consider how much time loss is acceptable according to the impact that time will have on your bottom line. The RTO differs greatly among different types of business. For instance, online retailers cannot stand to lose even 10 minutes of downtime, whereas a brick-and-mortal store can continue to function manually until systems are restored.
The disaster recovery process of automatically offloading tasks to backup systems in such a way that is seamless for users.
The disaster recovery process of switching back to the original systems.
The process of transferring backup data to your primary system or data center. This is considered a part of backup rather than disaster recovery.
Importance of Prioritizing Workloads
Having understood the key terms, you can now apply them to your workloads. Different organizations have different RPOs and RTOs according to the importance of each workload to their business model.
Based on the type of business you’re in, you can categorize workloads as Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3. This can help carve an outline for your disaster recovery plan. For instance, the online banking application for a major bank will be Tier 1 as this is a critical workload. Whereas, the bank’s employee-tracking app is less vital, and hence can be designated Tier 3. This means that the bank can go several hours or even a day without it negatively impacting the business.
Having designated workloads according to their priority, you will now need to consider some deployment options. Do you need to backup data and disaster recovery functions on your premises? Or would you benefit more with a hybrid or public cloud setup?
Let’s briefly discuss these two approaches.
Retaining certain processes for backup and disaster recovery on-premises can help your operations quickly recover data and regain IT services. Keeping some sensitive data on-premises might also appeal if you have strict data privacy requirements.
However, a plan that wholly relies on an on-premises strategy for backup and disaster recovery is not without dangers. In case of a power outage or natural disaster, your entire data center and both primary and secondary systems will be affected. This is why it’s a sound strategy to keep your secondary site some distance away from the primary one.
Cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solutions are ever-increasing in popularity across all kinds of organizations. Most cloud solutions offer the infrastructure needed to store data, and some even provide tools for managing backup and disaster recovery processes.
This is also attractive if you want to avoid huge capital costs for in-house infrastructure as well as daily upkeep costs. Furthermore, this also gives you the ability to quickly scale. Not to mention the geographical remoteness will ensure data safety in case of a regional disaster.
Cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solutions are capable of both on-premises and cloud-based production environments. For instance, you might want to keep a hybrid setup, with some data backed up or copied on the cloud, while keeping your production environment totally on-premises. With this approach, you can gain the advantages of cloud (geographical remoteness and scalability) without moving your production environment.
By contrast, in a cloud-to-cloud model, your production environment and disaster recovery will both be located in the cloud, albeit at different sites to ensure physical separation.
Whatever approach you choose must be in line with the kind of operation you’re running. Since backup and disaster recovery is crucial to ensure seamless functionality of business-critical processes, it is worth investing your time, attention and money into it.
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