In January, we discussed the importance of having an IT disaster recovery plan for your business. We introduced the terms RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective), and gave you some things to think about before disaster strikes.
This month, we review some technology do’s and don’ts and talk about securing your data.
Involve your professional IT support team, senior management, and operations staff in creating a written disaster recovery plan. Your IT pros will provide documentation and valuable information about your network, equipment, and configurations. They will also help identify vulnerabilities and critical assets, and develop recovery strategies.
Have two copies of backup data. Keep one onsite and one offsite.
Make sure you can access the offsite data, in full, well within your RTO window, in order to get it restored according to plan.
Keep the offsite data geographically separate from your main data storage. Having your data in the same region as your main copy is risky in case of regional disaster.
Use (and regularly test) a system that does not rely on human intervention to move your data offsite. Automated cloud backups are a great solution.
Store copies of your disaster recovery plan, contact information for your IT service provider and key personnel, and insurance information offsite and include this information in regular backups.
Train your employees for disaster response.
Create a second-string disaster recovery team that can assist in case any of your first responders aren’t available.
Test your response plan to identify gaps.
Regularly review and update your plan to include new equipment and procedures and eliminate outdated information.
Use a tape backup. Recovering data from a tape system could take a week or longer.
Juggle removable hard drives or archive media. The goal is to minimize risks. Physical handling of data storage devices increases risks of loss or damage.
SECURING YOUR DATA
Are you worried about backing up your data using a cloud-based solution? It’s not an uncommon concern. We do hear a lot in the news about data breaches and resulting losses. However, consider the risks of other methods. A backup drive in the trunk of a car is less secure than encrypted data backed up in the cloud. A drive in an unoccupied building is also at risk of theft, fire, flood, and other disasters.
An encrypted cloud backup system is the best way to maximize reliability and minimize risk. Your cloud provider takes great care to keep your data safe, performs its own backups using secure methods, and provides redundancy in case of hardware or network failure.
TEAM PLAYERS WIN
IT disaster recovery isn’t just about data recovery, it’s also about implementation. IT system management professionals have the experience and training to help businesses review their organizations’ needs and create step-by-step disaster recovery plans.
Ongoing communication between an organization’s leaders and its internal and external IT support teams will play a big role in reducing downtime and financial loss in the case of disaster.
Disaster recovery isn’t a fun topic, but it’s one every business needs to address. Gather your team now and get ready to mark this important item off your 2015 resolution list.
Russ Levanway is the CEO of TekTegrity, an IT Managed Services Provider serving the Central Coast and Central Valley. The organization’s Total Systems Management™ (TSM) service model provides preventative IT support at fixed monthly fee levels. For more information, visit www.tektegrity.com.