Resolve's Technical Director, Ged, has some ideas for disaster recovery planning and minimising IT trouble when it matters most.
With flooding not being uncommon across England, here at Resolve we’ve taken the time to think about how independent businesses could be affected by flooding and how important disaster recovery plans are for them. In recent years we’ve seen parts of Sheffield flood including many of the industrial and business units in Hillsborough and the Don Valley. We found here that once the water had been dealt with, the true impact on each business then came to light, as business owners recognised the value of disaster recovery planning.
Disaster planning for backup data
One integral part of disaster recovery planning is data backup. In the past companies got used to swapping backup tapes on a daily basis and taking them home at the end of the day. But this method is now outdated and can carry a whole host of issues surrounding GDPR.
Nowadays, it's easier to have a network attached storage drive located elsewhere in the building. These backups are fast and convenient and easy to access if needed, however if your system is destroyed by a disaster such as fire or flooding, there’s a high chance the backups will also be destroyed.
Again a simple network share, network attached storage (NAS) or storage area network (SAN) can offer a solution for storing and retrieving single files as well as entire systems. This would work well if the disaster was something like a virus but not effective for natural disasters such as fire and flooding.
Others opt for offsite backup in the cloud or at a second remote site. To backup data to the cloud, and to retrieve this data, you just require internet access and there are now solutions for uploading large files here, making it a common solution for many businesses. You can also use external storage such as tapes, where data is held securely at a remote location. However, these backups need to be physically sent here and can be timely in requesting a backup in return as this would need to be physically sent back.
Recovering backup data
Having a backup of data is only one part of the picture. Knowing how long it will take to restore the backup and how old the data will be when it eventually comes back to life are the key measures of how well we can recover from a disaster like a flood or fire. Your cloud backup may be convenient in terms of not having to remember to pick up the removable hard drive on the way out of the office, but if it is in a secure data centre and they aren't able to courier the data on a hard drive to you, how long would it take to restore all of your data? Could your business cope without access to critical data for several days whilst your IT provider downloads a disk image?
If you are backing up to a network attached drive, will this provide a resilient recovery path in the event of a fire for example? If it is in the same building and you have no other backup, then the chances are if you lose your server to a disaster you could well lose the backup as well.
Also, how often is a backup of data being produced? Some can be every time you manually back it up, every 24 hours, every 4 hours, every 2 hours or even in real-time, but it’s important to make sure that the time would work for you. Could you manage with a backup of data from 24 hours ago or would you have already lost too many orders or other important data? Finding a time backup solution that works for you is an integral part of disaster planning.
There are quite a few questions here to consider, but luckily, at Resolve, we have lots of answers! We can recommend a suite of different backup solutions tailored to your business needs, which are based around recovery objectives and not just ticking the box of backup without thinking about the practicalities of recovery in the event of a disaster. To find out more about the sort of support we can offer, visit our Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response pages on the website, drop us a message or give us as call on 0114 299 4050.