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Here on the KeepItSafe blog, we usually discuss specific strategies for keeping your data backed up, secure, and easily accessible in the event of a disaster. Common topics here include outsmarting ransomware attackers, for example, and ensuring your Office 365 data is backed up (because, contrary to a common misconception, Microsoft doesn’t take responsibility for your cloud data).
But what if your IT team is just beginning to research cloud backup and disaster recovery? What if you’re not ready to discuss specific best practices for dealing with a ransomware attack, or server virtualization, or your company’s Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) if your primary network goes down?
What if you just need an overview of the very basics of cloud backup and recovery? We wrote this post for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. For cloud backup, start with the 3-2-1 rule.
Cloud backup is essentially a diversification strategy for your company’s files, folders, applications, operating systems, and other digital assets. If you set up your backup environment correctly, in fact, it will provide several simultaneous types of diversification.
If you give it even a moment’s thought, you’ll realise that there are several ways a poorly implemented backup strategy can put your data at risk—along with your company’s ability to continue operating through an outage or other disaster. Here are a few common examples of how the wrong backup approach can create data vulnerabilities:
Maintaining only a single copy of your company’s data.
(What if the primary source and the backup both fail?)
Backing up your data using only one type of storage media.
(What if you bought a batch of backup tapes at the same time, and they all begin having problems around the same time?)
Keeping your backups all onsite—even if you’re using different storage types.
(What if a natural disaster makes your office and your network inaccessible?)
The 3-2-1 rule addresses all these risks by insisting on a minimum of:
3 copies of your data
2 different types of media (local drive, Network-Attached Storage device, etc.)
1 or more backup copies offsite
Although it’s still a good rule of thumb, the 3-2-1 rule today is somewhat outdated and probably no longer sufficient for your organisation’s needs. Your cloud backup strategy will need to be more sophisticated—to address, for example, the cloud applications and devices outside your network that your employees use every day to create and share your company’s data.
But as you’re gaining an understanding of how cloud backup can protect your company’s mission-critical data, this approach should give you a useful overview of the benefits of diversifying your backup strategy.
2. Cloud data backup does not equal disaster recovery (and you’ll need both).
After you’ve implemented an effective, comprehensive, and largely self-running cloud backup environment (which we can help you do now), you’ll be well on your to making sure your organisation is resilient enough to continue operating through a disaster—whether it’s an accidental deletion of key folders or a power outage in your company’s area.
For your next step, you’ll need to set up the right disaster recovery solution for your company—to ensure your staff can quickly and easily gain access to any networks, systems, and data that become inaccessible from their primary locations.
Many IT departments mistakenly use the terms cloud backup and disaster recovery interchangeably. And yes, with the right partner, you can build a seamless solution that encompasses both.
But cloud backup refers only to where, how, and how frequently an organisation copies its digital assets to an offsite data environment. It says nothing about how that organisation will gain access to its data and systems if disaster strikes.
In fact, your disaster recovery strategy will require thinking through several operational scenarios. And the answers will depend on your company’s unique circumstances. Just a few examples:
What types of data would our business need to access immediately if a flood, ransomware attack, or other disaster took down access to our corporate network or servers?
What Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) would we need to set for each type of data we had to restore?
Do we have a secondary location for our staff to resume business operations? Or would we give employees remote access to our failover virtual machines, so they could work from home?
When they sign up with the wrong cloud backup provider, businesses often discover only after a disaster that the solution they purchased has no viable recovery component. The best the provider can offer is to copy the company’s files onto hard drives and ship the drives to them.
But if that business needs access to some of its data immediately to continue its mission-critical operations, the wait time for a physical storage device to arrive can cost the company revenue, undermine its customers’ experience, and damage its reputation long-term.
Which is why you’ll need a disaster recovery solution that’s automated, working 24/7, and lets your team regain access to any mission-critical systems and data immediately after a disaster.
And that brings us to our final point.
3. Use a white glove backup and DR partner.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with questions about cloud backup and disaster recovery, the easiest way to get your company set up is to partner with a white-glove service. Instead of purchasing a solution off-the-shelf and trying to deploy it yourself, you can sign up with a company that will:
Help you customize a solution with the right mix of backup and DR functionality for your company’s unique needs.
Help you configure and install the solution across your organisation.
Fully manage and monitor the solution for your team, 24/7.
Proactively intervene to protect your system at the first sign of trouble and alert your team to the issue immediately.
Then, when you’ve found that KeepItSafe is the leader in full-service backup and recovery, let’s talk about protecting your company’s mission-critical data.
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