Unlock the Power of Backups and Recovery: Safeguard Your Business Success
In today’s fast-paced and data-driven business world, the stakes have never been higher. The statistics are staggering: a whopping 94% of companies that suffer from catastrophic data loss do not survive. In fact, 43% of them never reopen, while 51% close their doors within two years (University of Texas) . For small firms, the situation is just as dire, with 7 out of 10 experiencing a major data loss going out of business within a year (DTI/Price Waterhouse Coopers). These numbers highlight the critical importance of having a robust backup and recovery strategy in place to protect your business and ensure its continued existence.
At its core, a backup strategy is all about recovery. When crafting your backup strategy, the focus should be on answering key questions that will determine your recovery requirements:
- How long do you have to perform recovery?
- What are you trying to recover for?
- What do you need to recover?
- Where do you keep your backups?
- How long do you keep your backups available for?
Addressing these questions will not only shape your backup strategy but also impact the overall success and resilience of your business.
One crucial aspect to consider is the time available for recovery. Similar to any external vendor operations, service level agreements (SLAs) play a vital role in setting recovery time expectations. Many backup strategies neglect to take recovery implications into account, leading to potentially costly consequences. A recovery within minutes, for example, requires different and often more expensive hardware compared to a recovery within a day.
SLAs typically specify a timeframe for recovery without explicitly referencing the data volume to be restored. Therefore, your backup strategy should account for current and projected data volume growth over a 2 to 3 year period. Research shows that data volume is doubling every 2 to 3 years, giving you an idea of the scale of growth . Additionally, the criticality of your data to your business should also factor into the recovery time, as more important data will require quicker restoration.
Understanding what you’re recovering for is another vital consideration. There are two types of failures that can cause data loss: physical and logical failures. While physical failures, such as disk component malfunctions, often receive the most attention, logical failures can be just as devastating. Logical failures involve data corruption or inadvertent removal, which can go undetected for extended periods. A comprehensive backup strategy should account for both types of failures, ensuring recovery up to the time of failure and providing protection against data corruption.
Furthermore, the decision on what to recover can influence the choice of database for your applications. Offline and online database backups offer different advantages. Offline backups provide a consistent backup but render the database unavailable during the backup process. On the other hand, online backups maintain database availability while allowing for read consistency and even point-in-time recovery.
Determining what needs to be recovered is seemingly straightforward but requires careful consideration. While the typical response is “your data,” the design of your applications may involve multiple data sources, including databases and file systems. It is essential to identify and back up all relevant data sources to ensure a comprehensive recovery. Challenges such as read consistency between different data sources must also be addressed to maintain data integrity during the recovery process.
The location of your backups is critical for their effectiveness. An all-too-common mistake is storing backups in the same data center as the servers they protect. While this may be sufficient in most cases, it exposes your business to significant risks in the event of a fire or natural disaster. To mitigate this, remote backups have emerged as a reliable solution. With fast internet access, you can securely store your core data at separate off-site locations, minimizing the risk of data loss due to a single localized incident.
Finally, the duration for which you keep your backups available is an important consideration. For physical disk crashes, maintaining storage capacity for two backups—one for the previous backup and one for the current backup—is typically sufficient. This ensures that in the event of a crash during a backup operation, you still have a recent backup available. However, logical backups require a different approach. Since data loss may not be discovered immediately, it’s beneficial to retain backups for an extended period. For example, if you’re working on a critical document that is backed up nightly, having access to multiple versions of the document over time can be invaluable in case of problems or accidental deletions. Determining how long to retain these backups depends on your specific business needs and regulatory requirements.
In summary, the importance of backups and recovery cannot be overstated for the survival and continuity of your business. Failing to implement a robust backup strategy can have devastating consequences, leading to financial loss, customer dissatisfaction, and even business closure. By addressing key questions related to recovery time, purpose, data scope, backup storage location, and retention duration, you can tailor a backup strategy that aligns with your business objectives and safeguards your critical data. Remember, in today’s data-driven landscape, failure is not an option. Invest in your business’s future by prioritizing backups and recovery today.