Backups are an important part of your disaster recovery strategy, but they aren’t the complete solution by any means.
Backup vs. Disaster Recovery
Backups are simply copies of data intended to restore an old version of a file. This may be in order to bring an application back online after a failure, or to use historical data for analytics or a legal inquiry.
A disaster recovery solution extends beyond the replacement of old files to loss of complete infrastructure. The solution needs to ensure you can recover all of your lost systems within a reasonable time period and with limited data loss, even if you have no access to your data center and all your servers are unavailable. Disaster recovery typically requires a second location that duplicates your production environment, either in a different physical location or in the cloud. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offers a third way of implementing a recovery environment.
Backup copies are usually stored onsite to ensure they can be accessed rapidly. Copies earmarked for disaster recovery purposes need to be stored offsite to ensure they can be accessed when your site is unavailable.
Planning for Backup vs. Planning for Disaster Recovery
Backups can be planned and implemented relatively straightforwardly. All you need is to make sure all systems are backed up and that the process is monitored to make sure it completes successfully. This can usually be automated, with any failures triggering an alert to IT support.
Disaster recovery requires a much more comprehensive planning process. While you need backups of all your systems, having those available isn’t enough to ensure effective recovery. You need to identify your mission critical systems and prioritize restoring them, first. You’ll want to identify recovery time objectives (how fast you need to be able to bring the system back) and recovery point objectives (how much data you can afford to lose) when developing your plan. These objectives will help you decide what kind of backup or disaster recovery technology will work for your business.
Any complex procedures for bringing systems back on line and ensuring the restored data is consistent should be fully documented. Because these recovery procedures can be complicated, the process should be tested at least once per year to ensure that no steps—or even applications—have been overlooked.
Backups and Disaster Recovery Are Always Needed
You need a backup and disaster recovery strategy even if your infrastructure resides in the cloud. Cloud providers do backup files, but their retention strategy (how long old data is preserved) may not meet your requirements. In addition, while the cloud generally provides high availability, there have been cloud outages that impacted cloud customers.
Create A Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy
Creating a backup and disaster recovery strategy starts with understanding your systems. CCS Technology Group works with our clients to create disaster recovery plans that allow your business to survive an outage no matter how big or small. Contact us to learn more about making sure backups are just one part of your disaster recovery strategy.