Best Practices for Setting Up Your Backups and Your Disaster Recovery
When we discuss backup and disaster recovery (BDR), it may seem as though we’re talking about a single process - after all, there’s just one acronym for it. However, the reality is that - while these two processes are related to one another - backup and disaster recovery each require a different preparation process, with different considerations made for each.
Here, we’ll review what you need to address if you are to properly attend to each.
Properly Preparing a Data Backup
There are numerous considerations to keep in mind as you go about arranging a backup solution for your data.
- Have Data Handling Policies and a Scalable Solution - Your first order of business should be to determine:
- Which of your data needs to be backed up, how often backups will be taken, how these backups can be accessed, and what tools will enable backups to be taken.
- What data your business needs to retain, for how long, and in what format.
- Which data should be destroyed, when it will be destroyed, and how it will be destroyed.
Unless you’re planning on going out of business in the near future for some reason, you need to keep in mind that your backup solution is going to need to hold an increasing amount of data as time passes. In light of this, you will want to be sure that you can efficiently scale your backup solution to maintain its cost-efficacy.
- Your Backup Needs to Fit Your Needs - Not only will your particular business and its data require certain things of your backup solution, best practices and good sense will demand that your backup meets certain criteria as well.
- In order to remain secure, you should maintain multiple copies of your backup, with some of those copies located in an off-site location. Many businesses keep to the 3-2-1 Rule, with at least three copies of their data, stored in at least two places, at least one of those places being accessed remotely.
- Some industries require more stringent regulations and requirements to be adhered to, which may influence your backup needs. Make sure you are familiar with any demands that your industry vertical imposes.
- Does Your Backup Solution Pass the Test? - If your backup solution isn’t confirmed to be effective before you need it, you might as well not have one. This means you will need to evaluate your backup by testing it periodically - before you’re stuck relying on it.
Designing Your Disaster Recovery Strategy
You will also need to take certain factors into account as you put together your disaster recovery strategy. Keep in mind, a disaster could be as simple as the power going out in your office, or a flood taking out your entire office.
- Know Who Needs to Know - When a disaster strikes, who is the first person that needs to be notified? The second? The third, and so on? In the midst of a disaster, it is important for company leadership to be engaged and taking charge so things don’t dissolve into chaos. Taking the time to determine who needs to be alerted should a disaster strike is a critical piece that can easily be overlooked. This kind of list should also be composed for your entire staff in order to keep them apprised.
- Know Which Job is Whose - On a related note, the midst of a disaster event is no time to be unsure of who is responsible for what during the recovery process. You need to ensure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are, as well as the responsibilities they will pick up if the person originally responsible is unavailable.
- Review and Practice - You will also need to ensure that your entire team reviews the processes you have in place for your disaster recovery (and any contingencies you have set up) so they will be prepared if and when the time comes to leverage them. This means that they should also run through some simulated practice drills, to be sure that they not only know the processes, but can perform them under pressure.
Do you want assistance in ensuring your business is prepared for any size or scale of disaster? White Mountain IT Services can help. Reach out to us at 603-889-0800 to get started.