It’s well-known that one of the best strategies for backups is to follow the 3-2-1 rule: have a least three copies of data, use two different storage media, and keep one copy offsite.
When it comes to deciding where to keep the offsite copy, cloud is an obvious choice today. However, cloud isn’t the only choice. The backup copy can be stored at your secondary data center, or at some storage facility.
How do you choose? The cost of the storage is one factor, but other factors should be considered as well. While the primary reason for keeping the copy offsite is to ensure you won’t lose it if your primary site it totally destroyed, there are other considerations as well.
The things to think about in addition to cost are the level of risk and the impact on recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO).
Offsite storage can impact your RTO depending on how long it takes to access the data. If you use cloud for offsite storage, this will be impacted by both data access times (backups stored on a less expensive storage tier will take longer to access) as well as the time to transfer the data. That data transfer process will in turn be affected by network bandwidth. If you choose to store data offsite at a storage facility your RTO will be impacted by the time to locate the backup as well as either the network bandwidth or the time to physically ship the media to your data center. If your offsite location is a secondary data center and you’re failing over there, you may be able to recover almost immediately; otherwise, transferring the data back to your primary site requires either network bandwidth or physical transport capability.
The time delay in delivering offsite media also affects RPO. You’ll lose any data between the last backup and the outage. If it takes a day for a tape to be delivered and processed, you won’t be able to recover yesterday’s data; you’ll be recovering the day before yesterday, while yesterday’s is still in transit.
The final consideration is risk. Offsite storage that’s nearby is conveniently accessible by your onsite staff, but it’s vulnerable to being damaged by the same natural disaster that’s taken out your primary site. A more remote storage site reduces that risk but can increase delays or errors in accessing the data you need to restore.
Many times, if you’re following the 3-2-1 rule, you’ll have a second copy in your data center and won’t have to worry about accessing the remote copy. But if that onsite backup turns out to be bad, getting access to the remote copy will be extremely important. CCS Technology Group helps businesses develop comprehensive business continuity solutions that ensure you’ll have access to your backups when you need them. Contact us to learn more about what you should consider when developing your backup strategy.