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Data is the lifeblood of every business. The inability to access that data could result in damage that takes some organizations years to repair. In some cases, that lack of access may very well spell the end of the road.
Your future is only as promising as your business continuity plan, and your backup strategy is an integral cog in the machine. With that in mind, we have outlined a handful of fundamental strategies that will help make your business resilient in the face of any disaster.

  1. Protect Data at Every Level

Enterprise applications such as MySQL, Exchange Server, and Hyper-V function as their independent systems. They come complete with their user roles, access policies, and security features. They’re also responsible for generating and managing data that is probably as important as the data you protect on your operating system. Whether it’s handled with a native tool baked into the system or an all-in-one solution, that data should be included in your backup plan. Complete system protection must cover file data, configuration data, application data and beyond.

  1. Backup Your Backups

Most IT professionals are well aware of the 3-2-1 Rule. It’s a data protection principle that preaches a more reliable way to backup sensitive information. Here’s how it breaks down:

Whether it’s the result of a deteriorated DVD or broken flash drive, backups fail on a regular basis. A second copy provides some added assurance, but a third gives you peace of mind that comes from knowing your data can be recovered even if two backups happen to fail.

  1. Store Backups in Multiple Locations

The 1 component of the 3-2-1 rule stresses the importance of keeping your backups in different places.  Creating backups of your blog might protect you from attacks on the web server, but what happens when your local server is hit with malware or hardware failure? If that server houses all of your backups, having three copies won’t do you any good. Keeping one copy on your local NAS appliance, another at your backup site, and a third in the cloud is an example of how you can make sure your data is always available.

  1. Set Logical Recovery Goals

You want to rebound from a disaster as soon as possible. Instead of winging it and hoping for the best, map out that road to recovery by setting specific recovery goals. Recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) are essential to business continuity planning. While the names suggest a degree of commonality, they are two entirely different parameters that play an equally important role in devising a backup plan that best suits your business requirements.

RPO refers to the maximum period of time in which data is lost during a disruption. The best way to sum it up is an estimation of how much data you can afford to lose amid a disaster. This parameter is vital when it comes to determining how often you need to backup your data. If you set your RPO at eight hours, that means you have decided that you can lose eight hours worth of work and whatever data produce within that interval. To meet that objective, you would need to perform a backup at least once every eight hours. Anything less could hinder your ability to recover that data.

RTO refers to the target time designated to recover from an incident. In order words, it defines how long an organization can afford to be inoperable before a business is negatively affected. Let’s say you set your RTO at three hours. That means you essentially have three hours to get your servers, networking equipment, or telecommunications back up and running. It’s a pretty small window, so you would need to invest a lot of time and resources into disaster preparation to make sure that objective is achieved.

Whereas RPO is focused on backup frequency, RTO sets the tone for business continuity as a whole. Used correctly, both can provide a much-needed degree of measured guidance when responding to a disaster.

  1. Make Data Security a Priority

The same aspects that help increase business efficiency and agility have made us more vulnerable than ever. From cloud apps to mobile devices and everything in between, each piece of technology we implement is yet another attack vector for the bad guys to lock on. Data is always under fire. Organizations must make a concentrated effort to develop a business continuity strategy that protects against sophisticated outside attacks as well as the ever-looming threat of human error from within. A business continuity plan is not complete without a strong focus on data security.

Conclusion

Losing even the smallest amount of data can have game-changing ramifications for your business. To protect it, you need to be prepared for every possible disaster scenario. Although it’s merely one piece of the business continuity puzzle, an effective backup plan can make sure you retain as much of that data as possible.

View Comments

  • you missed so many important factors. just don't bother writing an article like this if you don't provide all the information, its far too dumbed down. you have probably lead astray some poor network/system admin who will choose to back up to disk and sacrifice his companies data retention for cost. you don't know the cost of the average company to lose recoverable data.

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for your comments. Yep, there is so much to talk about with this topic. What information would you like to see in more detail? We're always looking to talk about the tech that interests our readers as well as what interests us.

      Cheers!

  • This appears to no longer work on their 6.1 and 6.1.1 versions. I tried FAT32 and NTFS partitions as well.

    It appears they switched to some sort of linux boot to do this.

  • The price of a microlized hypervisor is in case of Hyper-V, that it is to large to get fully loaded into the RAM. This could have backdraws if you lost the contact to the boot volume. I found an impressive demonstration about this topic @Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8ZF0ez0iH0
    In case of this, it seems VMware has still the better product.

  • Well done to Guy & Casey it's an excellent eBook, well worth reading and well worth keeping a copy close to hand!

    • Hi John,

      I'm glad you asked! I believe your company is in New Zealand, is that correct? You'll probably want to contact our sales team in Australia at sales[at]storagecraft.com.au or call +61 2 8061 4444. If you are interested in signing up in the United States or Canada, you can either submit an inquiry here: http://www.storagecraft.com/shadow-protect-msp.php or contact our sales team directly at 801.545.4700 or via email at sales[at]storagecraft.com.

  • This is good news that Shadowprotect will be supporting Linux OS. What if we use the current iso to take backup of linux OS, can it work for backup and restore? Let me know.

    • Hello Vinod,

      Yes, we believe this is great news that StorageCraft will be releasing a CrossPlatform version of ShadowProtect which supports both the Windows and Linux platforms. We're very excited about this news.

      The current release of the ShadowProtect Recovery Environment - CrossPlatform is a positive step towards supporting the Linux OS. Currently this CrossPlatform Recovery Environment is intended only for backing up and recovering Windows OS systems (including Windows 8 and Server 2012). Another release will have the complete tools for backing up and recovering both Linux and Windows systems. I can tell you that this later release will be out before the end of the year. Until then, thank you for your kind comments and we we're looking forward to providing you with more information about this exciting update in the near future. Check back with us again soon.

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