Gone are the days when pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del or Command+Z sorted disasters out! As well as taking steps to secure your data reliably in the first place, you need a backup and disaster recovery function at the center of your business operations.
- your systems and data centers are your key business assets,
- natural disasters happen, and
- hackers and viruses constantly seek to penetrate your storage systems (too frequently finding an entry point).
However, the things that can keep your business from floundering after a breach are business data backup and disaster recovery.
That means you need a first-rate plan to make sure your backup and disaster recovery works as intended. In this guide, therefore, we’ll give you everything you need to know.
And after completing a business impact analysis, you’ll be able to make adjustments to ensure your business’s future.
- What is Data Backup?
- Differences Between Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
- Different Types of Backup?
- What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
- How to Create a Foolproof Disaster Recovery Plan
- Five Phases in a Disaster Recovery Plan
What is Data Backup?
Ensuring you have backup data is the first step in a good backup and disaster recovery plan. Backing up your data refers to the process of copying all your data – from your computer system’s physical location and all your storage systems – to somewhere secure, in case there’s
- hardware failure,
- human error,
- system crashes, or
- hacker attacks.
Data backups matter because you can then retrieve an earlier version.
For example, backing up your data every morning means you can restore data to that morning’s version if you lose data by accidentally wiping out your infrastructure.
Today’s methods for data backups help you recover your sensitive data quickly and efficiently.
Differences Between Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Data backup is the first important step in security planning to retrieve data from off-site backup systems as per your disaster recovery plan.
While data backup refers to the backup process by which you record your data in a secondary storage device, disaster recovery (also known as data recovery) refers to the process by which you regain your lost data.
In other words, disaster recovery is the steps you take to retrieve your data loss by switching to your secondary backup infrastructure – perhaps from a cloud-based service provider – to ensure business continuity.
Data backup and data recovery are often mixed up but they’re quite different actions…
- The purpose of backup is to copy all valuable information.
- The aim is to have replicated data within a data center of all your original data.
- Backup alone doesn’t guarantee business continuity!
- You can opt for backups without a disaster recovery But if disaster strikes, you can’t recover your data.
- Backups can be either automatic or manual.
- They don’t require much storage space.
- You can back up by the hour, day, week, or once per month, depending on your risk appetite.
- Backup plans are affordable.
Although there’s a difference between data backup and disaster recovery, disaster recovery clearly can’t exist without data backup!
So, a disaster recovery plan is an essential part of your data backup and disaster recovery solution…
- Disaster recovery aims to ensure your business can restore all functions and avoid downtime.
- This provides you with a working copy of the IT system and restores data to its last backup point.
- Disaster recovery guarantees business continuity.
- Opting for a disaster recovery plan usually entails a form of backup.
- Recovery plans are usually automated.
- Disaster recovery can be complex, depending on preparation and if you prioritize business apps.
- Continuous, real-time replication of critical data can help.
- Your level of investment depends on the plan, your investment in secondary IT infrastructure, or in a recovery program like disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).
Together, data backup and disaster recovery are the process by which you protect data, and restore it, in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
We’ve clarified differences between data backup and disaster recovery, so let’s discuss backup methods.
Different Types of Backup
There are different methods of backups – and each offers a different type of disaster recovery solution.
- Full Backup
- Incremental Backups
- Differential Backup
- Mirror Backup
- Local Backup
- Offsite Backup
- Online Backup
- Remote Backup
- Cloud Backup
- FTP Backup
You can choose just one backup storage system or a combination of backups as your backup and disaster recovery solution.
A full backup is the first initial backup that copies all files, folders, and data. Your first backup is always a full backup. This is followed by incremental or differential future backups.
The main difference between always conducting a full backup versus other forms is that each time the backup copies your data, the entire data set is copied again, even if there have been no changes to your data. As a result, this quickly consumes your storage capacity.
The differential backup strategy follows a full backup. This backup solution copies all changes made since your last full backup.
Consequently, it’s more efficient in backing up your files but restores data more slowly. It does save storage space, though, by not creating another full copy of your data.
Incremental backups, on the other hand, copy all changed data since the previous backup. But that backup may have been only an incremental one.
A mirror backup is a real-time backup service that mirrors the source it’s backing up. In other words, it’s replicating your data in real time. However, if you delete a file, that file remains deleted in the mirror backup. As a result, there’s room for human error with these types of backups.
Some disaster recovery services now offer mirror backups with a 30-day delete option. If you delete a file, the backup server keeps it for 30 days before deleting it forever.
A local backup is a backup system in its most basic form. Typically, your organization has an onsite server connected to your local area network and continually backs up your data.
The challenge within a local backup disaster recovery plan is that it will not protect data from onsite disasters that destroy all hardware on your premises.
You’ll likely want an off-site backup system in a data center that keeps your information safe from any natural harm in your current physical location.
Offsite backup is when your data are backed up and stored in a different location, away from the original data. Having your data backed up and kept away from your site helps prevent theft, data corruption, accidental deletion, or natural disasters that may destroy hardware or harm your data.
This form of backup solution stores critical business data offsite at a remote data center using online services such as cloud. This allows you to access your data anytime.
A disaster recovery strategy that makes use of online backup will automatically copy your data via the internet, creating a full backup of every file, document, image, etc., to maintain business continuity.
A file transfer protocol (FTP) backup is obviously a system where you back up your files of data via FTP! This allows you to have an offsite or onsite backup system.
Cloud and Remote Backup
Cloud computing or cloud storage backup is usually remote and, therefore, offsite.
Your data are backed up to a cloud-based server that provides strong protection against natural disasters and unplanned downtime.
Currently, cloud backup is the best solution to back up and restore data. It does so by utilizing multiple servers in different places. This reduces the likelihood of data loss in the event of physical harm on any one server.
It’s a solid backup and recovery strategy that gathers your data files and pieces them together seamlessly so you can regain control of your data when necessary. However, cloud backup isn’t always free from unknown security risks.
So, a joint backup and disaster recovery plan is best for cloud computing. In fact, whichever option you choose, you need a disaster recovery plan!
So – what next?
All of the above backups provide a secure way to save your data.
However, to successfully recover your information, you go through a disaster recovery process to restore the original data.
That means you’ll need the correct OS, servers, data storage, team, backup software, and tools to restore your backed-up data.
What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Now that you’ve backed up your data, you’ll need an effective disaster recovery plan. A plan is essential for retrieving your data without the need to react to malicious threats.
Your plan forms a solid solution for effective disaster recovery to guarantee business continuity. It ensures you can
- firstly, administer backups to proper data storage and,
- secondly, recover data from being permanently lost in the event of a disaster.
A disaster recovery plan is an official document:
1 It outlines the policies and procedures your service provider and your organization have agreed upon.
2 Everyone in your company subscribes to the policy document – effectively, a step-by-step plan that outlines how you, your service provider, or your employees can recover your data during a crisis.
How to Create a Foolproof Disaster Recovery Plan
You need to consider and include:
- A company-wide disaster recovery policy statement and overview.
- All goals pertaining to your recovery – including recovery time objectives (RTOs – maximum time within which data must be restored) and recovery point objectives (RPOs – amount of data that can be lost between event and recovery without harming your business continuity).
- A step-by-step guide for each type of incident.
- Sketches and diagrams of the entire network and recovery site for visual learners.
- The names of your disaster recovery team and their contact information.
- A map of your assets, such as hardware, software, and essential data, in order of importance.
- A list of systems needed for disaster recovery.
- Technical documents.
- Detailed directions for reaching the recovery site.
- How to deal with legal issues after the fact.
Your recovery plan is unique to your business operations.
So, once your plan is in place, it’s essential to conduct disaster recovery testing regularly to ensure it works flawlessly.
Testing your plan regularly also allows you to
- retain the knowledge within your team, and
- update your plan as your business evolves.
Five Phases in a Disaster Recovery Plan
A disaster recovery plan will help accomplish everything necessary to keep your business afloat and ensure business continuity.
An effective disaster recovery plan has five phases. These phases ensure you incorporate all of the above information.
The five-phase disaster recovery plan looks like this:
1 Disaster Assessment and Risk Analysis
2 Activation and Planning
3 Executing the Plan
4 Integrating the Disaster Recovery Plan with the Project Plan
Let’s deep dive into each phase.
1 Disaster Assessment and Risk Analysis
During the first phase of your disaster recovery plan, it’s essential to identify your disaster recovery team members and their contact information. Your team members will identify and assess the situation. They’ll account for and notify any damage created by the data loss.
Your team will therefore:
- Trace the source of the problem.
- Assess the likelihood and extent of further damage (i.e., conduct risk assessment).
- Assess damage to hardware, equipment, inventory, vital resources, and finished products.
- Account for all items that need replacing.
- Assess the current state of the situation.
- Continually gather critical information.
- Estimate how quickly they can deal with the disaster without continual degradation to systems.
Your disaster recovery team must also determine the recovery point objective and recovery time objective.
As mentioned above, the RPO is the maximum acceptable amount of data loss, which is expressed as the amount of time from which the incident of data loss occurred. Generally speaking, that will be the time since the last and most reliable data backup.
2 Activation and Planning
Now that you have a team in place assessing the severity of the situation, it’s time to give each team member a role. Each member is responsible for restoring and activating your disaster recovery plan.
Some vital components of planning include:
- Prioritizing which items will be restored
- Describing the procedures team mates must follow
- Assigning roles to the discovery team
- Communicating and reporting
- Creating recovery timelines for each activity performed
- Allocating resources
- Ensuring quality standards
- Correctly identifying and recovering required data sources
- Reviewing procedures and points
- Documenting the recovery process according to the disaster recovery plan
3 Executing the Plan
The disaster recovery team can begin executing the plan as per the planning and assessments specified in your disaster recovery plan.
While executing the plan, a good disaster recovery solution for successful data recovery is to pause at each phase and ensure quality standards.
4 Integrating the Disaster Recovery Plan with the Project Plan
Disaster recovery works in conjunction with an overall project plan. So, in this phase of the plan, it’s essential to integrate both the disaster recovery plan and the overall project plan. This will ensure all resources and efforts move towards the main objective – which, ultimately, is disaster recovery, to ensure business continuity for your firm.
Once you’ve managed the situation and have everything under control, the final phase of the disaster recovery plan begins. At this point, the threat is over, and you can restore normal business operations.
In this phase, restoring data and company functions is important. But before you’re ready to call it a success, ensure the following:
- You’ve addressed all threats.
- All team members and employees have now returned to their original roles within the company.
- All resources utilized are secured.
- Disaster recovery is entirely over, and the restore process is complete.
You may have essential services up and running within two weeks – but there will be other considerations such as
- compromised data sets from hacking
- possible fines from data breaches
- brand image damage
These can take longer to resolve. You’ll need an expert strategy in place for maximum protection!
We Can Help You with a Data Backup and Recovery Strategy
Does all this information sound overwhelming?
Uprite Managed IT Services can help you navigate your disaster recovery efforts and form a solid disaster recovery plan that’s perfect for your organization.
We pride ourselves on our excellent 24-hour responsiveness, and can work with your network infrastructure to ensure all your hardware and software is protected with a sound disaster recovery strategy.
We’ll protect everything from mobile devices to laptops and desktops. We can also manage your cloud computing with our professional data backup and disaster recovery solutions.
Let Upright back up your critical functions and protect your data so you can continue running a successful business! We serve many SMBs in the wider Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas areas. Get in touch with us today.