Articles & Guides

Points to consider when selecting a backup methodology

Cliff Boodoosingh on June 09, 2009
Crafting a disaster recovery strategy can be quite the daunting task. In the early stages, itís important to properly establish your requirements. Failing to do so can lead to planning errors that will cause your business continuity strategy to be built on a weak foundation.

Hopefully, we can help out by listing a few of the most important criteria to keep in mind when putting together your business continuity action plan: 

Discipline: Whatever solution you put in place, there should be a disciplined way to adhere to the maintenance schedule.

We recommend taking the human element out of the equation for this reason. Make sure that whatever solution or strategy you select will provide automation so that the backups get done in a consistent, error-free manner. After all, itís absolutely crucial that this gets done right every time.

Offsite: If itís not sitting in a secure datacenter and itís not out the door, then youíre getting no value for your data protection investment.
Remember - disaster recovery is about more than just deleted files and hard drive crashes. As we learned from hurricane Katrina and 9/11, disasters can completely destroy your primary center of operations, and everything around it.

Thatís why you need to have your data sent off to a remote location thatís FAR, FAR AWAY from your central location.
Preferably, this should also be done quickly and securely.

Verified: Whatever solution you decide to implement, it should provide you with some way to quickly and easily verify that the backups had been processed properly. A good disaster recovery and business continuity solution will give you both electronic monitoring, and proactive manual monitoring on the status of your protected files.

You should also perform regular tests of your backup solution to make sure that the restore times are fast, and that the process is simple enough so that your staff will be prepared to restore in an emergency.

RTO (Recovery time objectives) and RPO (Recovery point objectives):

The 2 are similar but different, and itís important to differentiate when establishing your data recovery plan.

RTO establishes the acceptable amount of time that it should take to fully restore your data. This should be simple enough to understand.
RPO establishes the amount of ďacceptableĒ data loss that can be tolerated within your disaster recovery plan.

For example, it your company does nightly backups to tape, they would lose up to 24 hours of data in case of a disaster. However, a company using an online backup solution with continuous data protection functionality may be able to restore the last saved version, or within 30 minutes of the data loss incident.

Picking an appropriate RTO and RPO is really dependant on the way your company uses data. This varies greatly from one organization to another.

Hopefully, weíve provided you with some good starting points for establishing a data recovery plan for your company. Whatever solution you decide to implement, make sure to test at least 2 or 3 times a year to make sure itís dependable.

About the author:
Storagepipe email archiving and online backup solutions are a great way for companies to maximize adherence to their RPO and RTO objectives.


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