Backup and Disaster Recovery are both integral parts of business continuity in this time and age. While they are becoming used interchangeably, these are two very different components of protecting your system. Backups create a point-in-time replica of your files. In the event of an IT disaster, you can simply return your system to its previously saved state. Disaster Recovery plans, on the other hand, refer to a set of procedures and protocols to keep your workload running from a remote location to keep your operations afloat in the time of a disaster.
With their difference stated, it is important for managed IT services providers to understand that while they are separate plans and procedures, they are not mutually exclusive. A disaster recovery plan in place does not excuse you from regularly backing up your files. Backups keep your organization safe in the event of denial-of-service, accidental deletions, or ransomware attacks. DR plans to protect your mission-critical workloads from infrastructure failure, like virtualization host cluster failure events.
For smaller businesses or organizations without in-house IT expertise, outsourcing your Disaster Recovery is not a bad idea. Usually, data protection is associated with basic backup and restore procedures. But now, secondary storage with automated data recovery is gaining importance in protecting your sensitive files. Data protection keeps you safe from file and system corruption, accidental deletion, and file losses due to hardware failure or external attacks.
The building blocks of data protection usually include backups, snapshots, and replicas. Backup has been earlier defined as a point-in-time copy of your files and settings you can reload in the event of a failure. Snapshots are reference markers for your data for every defined point in time, creating a copy of your machine’s disk file.
Replication, on the other hand, regularly makes copies of important virtual machines and applications. Usually, replication tools also leverage snapshots, except that when a segment of data changes, those changes are replicated to another system or site instead of on top of the same system.
Unfortunately, the use of business continuity plans is not as commonplace as we would like to think. The insurance carrier Nationwide published their findings that as much as 68% of small business owners do not have a documented disaster recovery plan. More than just winging it when disaster strikes, it is important to have a comprehensive plan that all levels in the organization can follow and understand.
In developing your company’s business continuity plan, understand that its main objective is to keep your business afloat and operational in the event of any untoward circumstances. Identify the scope of your plan, the key areas in your business, and the critical business functions that will take priority.
Again, not all backup appliances are created equal. You might want to take a second look at what each solution provider offers in terms of both software and hardware. However, you go about it, covering both fronts is a win-win situation for you and your company in this age of relentless malware attacks and aging hardware. The downtime and the subsequent costs and operational interruptions should illustrate how essential these preventive measures are. With the right choices, you can definitely prepare a fail-safe plan to protect your important digital assets.