Is Backup Enough? A Quick Introduction to Disaster Recovery Plans

Businesses of all size and shapes record their business data on computers so they can access that information later to perform their tasks effectively and efficiently. For instance, a customer support department uses customer information to provide better-informed solutions to customers. A business development manager will use the sales and marketing data collected over the months (or years) to project business development in the future and make necessary decisions.

Business information that includes sales data, financial information, customer data and the like are so important that companies cannot lose it at any cost.

According to Boston Computing, “60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster.”  This disaster could be anything from a machine failure to natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. Additionally, a disaster could be a hack attack that results in the loss of data.

To stay safe from such situations, companies back up their data so they can continue to do business as usual by recovering the data from their backup servers.

 

But is backup enough?

This is an important question, and the straightforward answer is no!

Let’s take this logical question into account. How often do you backup all your data? If you are a smart company, you will probably be backing up your data after every 24 hours. But, what would happen if the server crashed after 12 hours?

Yes, you will be able to access information saved since yesterday, but what about the data you received or collected this morning?

This question becomes even more important when you talk about enterprises and banks, where data is generated every minute. Each piece of information is equally important, and not backing up that data in real-time is always a big risk.

But there are quite a few reasons why the standard data backup is not enough. Here, I am going to discuss some of them and explain in detail what businesses should alternatively consider as better options.

  • Recovery-ability

Backup is great, as it will allow you to save data at a single location, but what if the primary work environment falls apart? Sure, you will have the data, but you probably won’t be able to access it. Thus, your business can suffer major losses.

A standard backup can save data, but it cannot provide you with an alternative work environment if things fall apart.

  • Recovery Time

Even if you have all the files at the backup server, you still need to download those files back to your primary work environment. This process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. If you are talking about complex enterprises, it can take months before the company recovers and returns to working normally.

Backing up data is not enough because it will only save your files and other information that you want to save. And what if the processing computer or the complete primary work environment falls apart? The business will not be able to work again until these major issues are fixed.

Ideally, we all want a backup that not only stores data, but stores the complete work environment so that, in case of any disaster, the systems can connect to the alternative work environment and start working normally immediately.

 

Disaster Recovery (DR)

Disaster recovery, also known as DR, is an area of security planning within an organization that deals with protecting a company from sudden, unexpected events. These events could be anything from a serious cyber-attack that breaks or stops company operations to natural disasters like earthquakes or floods.

When it comes to IT, the disaster recovery plan should include the ability to restore servers or mainframes with backups, re-establish private branch exchanges and provision local area networks (LANs) to meet immediate business needs.

Every organization requires a dependable disaster recovery plan, and there is no such thing as “one size fits all’ when it comes to DR. Some key metrics can guide you toward creating a flawless disaster recovery plan for your business.

  • Recovery Time Objective – RTO

Recovery Time Objective is the amount of time that the company can afford to be offline. RTO can be different for every business depending on their nature and size.

It’s smart to set RTO of different applications in three tiers in terms of frequency of use and importance.

For example, the mission critical applications fall under the primary tier, applications that are required from time to time come under the secondary tier and other support applications can be added to the tertiary tier.

  • Recovery Point Objective – RPO

Recovery Point Objective simply means the amount of data that businesses and companies are willing to lose. Obviously, all companies ideally want no data loss at all, but the problem is that the fulfillment of this desire can be very costly. In the ideal world, the lower your RPO, the more you invest in disaster recovery.

In order to create a proper DR plan, the metrics mentioned above are worth noticing. They will allow organizations to prioritize data and applications that are most important, and plan their disaster recovery systems accordingly.

 

Cost of Datacenter Downtime

According to research, the cost of unplanned datacenter downtime thus far in 2016 has been $9,000 per minute, and it’s expected to increase every year.

cost of downtime

Considering the chart above, it is more important now than ever for businesses to not only think about disaster recovery plans, but to invest in one so that they can stay away from any major losses in the long run.

For more information on DRP, contact one of our representatives online.