What Could Happen Without a Plan

November 4, 2021

In 35 years since I started CCI (Competitive Computers at that time) the most critical yet frequently undermanaged and underfunded tool to protect information and avoid long disruptions in any size organization is the Backup Disaster Recovery or BDR solution.

Pretty much everyone knows the importance of reliable backups in case of disaster. Hardware failures, ransom attacks and natural disasters are all good reasons this should be a priority. Anyone of these could wipe out your business or cause serious embarrassment and unplanned expenses to a town or school that loses data. But KNOWING doesn’t always equate to OWNING a reliable solution. In fact at CCI we have found only a fraction of new customers come to us with a BDR that meets minimum standards and quite a lot have no backups and don’t even realize it.

Some of you may still own a manual solution. These include tape backups or the slightly newer versions that use swappable hard drives. In my experience these are the least reliable and human error is the main issue.

Automated backups to local storage are better, but make sure they are setup properly and monitored. It’s also vital that data also be sent offsite and that an “air gap” exist between your network and the backups. In English, we need to make sure we are protected against having our backups compromised by hackers or lost in a natural disaster.

And we need to pay attention to retention! Retention or a “retention period” speaks to the window of time we have to restore data once we realize it is missing or compromised. Do we need a week? A month? More? The answer should be that MORE is BETTER because it can take time to realize what has happened and go ahead with a restore effort.

How quickly can we recover a file vs a folder vs a whole application or an entire server? How do these timeframes look if we are restoring from offsite vs onsite storage? Are we backing up the whole server or do we have just the data and need to rebuild it from scratch? Do we even have a server to recover to if the problem was a hardware failure?

What we need is a solution we can be certain will work when we need it! Because hard drives fail, servers melt down, hackers hack, data gets deleted and floods and fires can occur. We need it to be carefully monitored. It needs a generous retention period and both onsite and offsite copies should be available. We need to be able to restore files, folders, and whole servers quickly! And what if we could also run backups on alternate hardware in a pinch?

Are you sure your backup solution will work when you need it? How sure?

Planning a BDR takes thought and experience. Today is the perfect time to ask questions and engage with your technology provider on BDR.

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