Backups are a must. Everyone knows that. How do you know they work? When was the last time it was really tested? There are so many types and flavors of backups. What are you protected against and to what are you still vulnerable? Full backups, incremental backups, image backups, folder backups, registry backups, local backups, cloud backups, offsite backup rotations, BDR’s, tape backups, disk backups, Active Directory backups, firewall backups, workstation backups, mobile device backups, phone system backups, email backups, website backups, even backup Internet connections and switching hardware… And that’s just the stuff under your control. If you have cloud services, who is responsible for keeping that data secure and available if a problem arises?
Days ago, someone sat down on Friday and fed floppys into a server or installed a new tape and that was that. Today, keeping your staff operational after a hardware failure, security breech, disgruntled employee, virus, or just an ooops on the delete key requires much more planning and organization. Here are some of the key factors to think about.
- What does it cost when employees don’t have access to your data? This includes lost wages, lost opportunities, and customer dissatisfaction. Knowing this rate will help determine which solutions will be cost effective.
- Where is your data located? On your servers, in the cloud, on workstations, mobile devices? You need to go over this carefully with your IT staff to make sure all of the data important to your operation is identified and located. This is usually best done by listing applications used by each department, and then making sure you find the data for each.
- Categorize your data. Break it down by how long you can operate without the data. Less than 1 hour, 4 hours, 8 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours, a week, 2 weeks, year end. This will help apply the more expensive but swift solutions to your most critical data. Also when working on this, consider work-arounds or manual operations which may prolong your ability to function without your data. Having these procedures written and your users trained in their implementation can really smooth the road to recovery. Also in this step, take into consideration any regulatory compliance that may require additional access to data such as GLBA or HIPAA.
- On what hardware are you dependent? Do you have special switches or routers for phones or VPN connections? How quickly can you get replacement gear to your office should a failure occur? Do you have a full hardware on-site warranty on your server(s)? Has your ISP provided you with contracted response times or replacement equipment for your connectivity?
After compiling your data, you need a provider knowledgeable in current backup and disaster recovery options to navigate you through the myriad of hardware, software, and cloud solutions to determine which set of products is best for your operation. There is no such thing as one size fits all backups anymore. Keeping your data safe and accessible is the key to backup methodology. Work with a company that knows the players and their products to keep you on top of your game, and your employees working smoothly.
Oh, and one last thing. Test your backups. At least once a quarter, pick a Saturday morning and test all of the functions. Pull the plug on your primary Internet connection, restore several key folders to a scratch location from different periods of your rotation. Check your website backup in a sandbox to make sure blog entries and social network connections still work. Verify folder sizes in email boxes. Make sure all your backups are working, and reduce the number of bad surprises come the day you need them. If your IT team hasn’t approached you about testing or re-vamping your backup methods, call us. Keeping your IT working for you is what we do! Simpletech Solutions understands your needs. Call us at (866)724-8946