Data disaster recovery is a must for any business because anything can happen at any time. Viruses and ransomware can take down your server and put customer data at risk in an instant, and those issues can occur even when you have antivirus software in place and a qualified IT department on your side.
Natural disasters can cause problems, as well, and you have no control over them. Power outages can remove access to the server and your data for unspecified amounts of time due to inclement weather and other disasters. In that case, you’re basically stuck until things are restored, but you need to know that your data is secure in the meantime.
Security breaches are disastrous for businesses. Not only do they impede your ability to access your database with confidence, but they weaken the confidence that your consumers have in your business. It helps clients and customers to know that there’s a plan in place to further safeguard their private information while keeping those files safe in one place.
Even human error poses a problem. Things can go wrong with technology. In all of these instances, data is at risk of being tampered with, stolen, or outright destroyed. Downtime diminishes your bottom line. It also brings interactions with your customers to a screaming halt. For that matter, if a potential customer visits your company’s website and can’t access anything, then they’re far more likely to move on to one of your competitors.
Downtime has negative effects on your employees, as well. Your bottom line suffers when it takes hours or, worse, days to retrieve your lost information. Every moment they sit waiting for the situation to correct itself represents a waste of money and time. All the while, there’s the potential to lose your clients permanently. Thus, you need to do everything possible to ensure that you can recover important data following a breach or disaster.
Backup vs. Data Disaster Recovery
Some businesses make the mistake of thinking that backing up data is the same thing as a data disaster recovery plan. While backing up your data is essential, it will not protect and maintain the same amount of data as disaster recovery. Your IT department should be aware of that. Make sure to discuss your options often and thoroughly.
Backups are a means of protection. In that way, they’re similar to disaster plans. However, backing up the data only makes additional copies of the information. It protects you from instances of a corrupted database, a software issue, or deletions.
Data disaster recovery is more of a plan. Specifically, it describes the process that you put into place to fix access to your essential applications, important data, and your IT department and its resources when there’s an issue. It can help you when a server goes down, when there are problems with your storage system, and when there are any problems with the function of your data center.
As you can see, having backup data is helpful in certain situations. That being said, your backups will not help you if there’s a data breach or a server outage. You won’t necessarily be able to reach your backup files, and even if you can, they won’t help you to get your server up and running again.
Terms to Know
The key to creating a disaster plan is to understand precisely what you need. For example, you should calculate your RTO, or recovery time objective, which is how long it will take you to recover data and resume day-to-day operations. That depends on how much time your business can lose, a number that’s different for every company. How long can you get back without access to your server and data? That will impact the details of your disaster data recovery plan.
Your RPO, or recovery point objective, is crucial, as well. The RPO is the data that you can safely lose if a disaster occurs. Some companies cannot lose any data, in which case they will need to regularly copy their information and send it to a remote center. Then again, it might not be a make-it-or-break-it scenario for your company to lose a few minutes or even a few hours of data.
Having a failover system in place may help you. In spite of its name, a failover is not a failure. Rather, it is a process that automatically and immediately offloads essential tasks to the system you have in place as a backup. For users, the process is smooth and seamless. You can effectively send data to another site that copies your existing systems. Consider it as a backup generator for IT processes.
Failback is a similar process. It involves switching the data back to your main system. This occurs once the disaster is over or successfully averted.
Putting a Plan in Place
There are numerous options for creating a data disaster recovery plan depending on the needs of your business. One option is to choose a disaster recovery service. In this instance, you retain the help of a third-party host. The service will be in charge of the infrastructure and processes to save and recover your data. It might involve tools that you or your IT department can use, or the third party might manage your data processes for you.
Another option is to choose a cloud service to backup your data. If you want a hybrid service, then look for a cloud that acts as a backup while providing you with the tools you need to access and organize your data after the disaster.
It will help you to evaluate your priorities. What workloads are the most important? You may have a system that’s vital to your business. You need to prioritize that system as you put together your recovery plan. Conversely, applications that track time might not be important enough to worry about in the scheme of things.
A data disaster recovery plan is essential for your business and your customers. Not only will it save time and money in the long run, but it will also increase your customers’ loyalty to you and their confidence in you.