Backup and Recovery Management refers to the process of backing up data to prevent data loss. Backing up data requires copying and archiving computer data or whole infrastructures, so that it is accessible in case of data deletion or corruption. No matter the size of your business, data backup is pivotal to the success and continuity of each and every business and should be part of every disaster recovery plan.
How to determine your data backup system requirements?
Organizations back up data they deem to be critical and vulnerable in the event of buggy software, data corruption, hardware failure, malicious hacking, user error or other unforeseen events. In order to create and implement the appropriate backup and recovery solution for our clients, the following needs to be determined:
- How much current data are you backing up?
- How much storage is needed for recovery point objective(which is a benchmark indicating which data must be recovered in order for normal business operations to resume post disaster)?
- What operating systems are you backing up (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)?
- What applications do you need to back up (Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server)?
- How much time in the day do you have to complete your backup?
- What is your recovery time objective (meaning if you had to restore all your data, how long do you want the recovery process to take place)?
- Also, make sure you include offsite storage, as it is an absolute requirement that should never be compromised.
- Another very important requirement is a fully integrated data backup system, which is designed to handle all your applications and data types.
- Finally, ask yourself: Is this backup solution scalable? Will it meet your needs as your organization grows?
Backup Solutions for SMBs including their advantages/ disadvantages
The backup and recovery solutions for an SMB can easily be broken down into three broad categories: Local (or on-site) backup, Cloud or Online backup and Hybrid (combination of local and cloud) backup.
1. Local (or On-site) Backup
Is a types of backup solution, where the storage device is kept on-site. Typically, either the storage device is plugged directly into the source computer being backed up (like in the case of hard drives, USBs, etc.) or it’s connected through a local area network (LAN) to the source being backed up (such as an NAS or Network Attached Storage device). Local backup is a simpler backup and data-loss prevention model, containing a number of inherent disaster-related risks.
Advantages of Local Backups
- Speed: Does not depend on bandwidth or any type of internet connection, which allows for quick upload and recovery.
- Peace of Mind: Gives you the assurance of knowing exactly where your data is and who has access to it.
- Security: Does not require any end-to-end encryption, as all backups are conducted via an LAN connection.
- Cost Effective: Adding additional backup storage is not expensive and is a one-time investment, rather than an ongoing pay-as-you-go like in cloud services.
- Data Deduplication: Is an embedded data compression that reduces storage overhead fees by eliminating redundantcopies of data.
Disadvantages of Local Backups
- Security:Since sensitive business information is stored on an actual physical device, the information is vulnerable to either direct physical damage (such as theft or any onsite disaster) or indirect damage due to virus attacks stemming from the servers or PCs, which it is connected to.
- Initial Cost and Upkeep: Although NAS devices are relatively inexpensive, they do require an initial investment, which is definitely pricier than paying for a subscription plan of online service. Additionally, local devices do require maintenance and upgrades.
- Accessibility: Since the storage of data is on a physical device, should an unlikely event happen, the data is only limited to the device and cannot be accessed over the internet.
2. Cloud or Online Backup
Is a type of off-site backup that allows users to create, edit, access, restore or administer backups; either while located at the source location or an off-site location. Here, data is backed up in the cloud (either directly or via a local appliance that is then transported to the provider for quicker upload to the host server). This type of backup provides a more superior data protection against natural disasters and unplanned downtime.
The difference between cloud and online backup, is that online backup is a simpler form of cloud backup. Online backup is an excellent solution for small businesses, because for a minor fee a company is able to backup all their raw data. Online backup is a cheap monthly service and has practically all the components of actual cloud backup, except for the backup and recovery of complete infrastructures, taking into account all PCs, servers and embedded applications. With online backup the data backed up is completely raw, where recovery is administered in the same way, with no allowances for applications. On the other hand with cloud backup, should a recovery be required you can return entire infrastructures on bare metal (i.e. PCs or servers).
Advantages of Cloud Backup
- Secure: Because cloud storage is an off-site backup solution, your data is safe in the event of an on-site catastrophe.
- Redundant:With cloud backup, data is stored on multiple servers at different locations. If one stops working, your data can be retrieved from another location without any hassle.
- Encrypted: Data is encrypted with AES 256-bit strong key (which is an NSA-National Security Agency- grade encryption) before being transmitted to your storage provider. Your data is secure in transit and in the cloud.
- Scalable:Cloud based backup systems offers unlimited storage capacity either for a flat or usage-based fee.
- Flexible: Depending on whether you choose cloud or online backup, you have the ability to backup complete infrastructures (including applications) on a raw PC or server.
- Accessible: Users can choose to collaborate with others on any particular document or project uploaded to the cloud.
- Managed: Maintained by teams of well-trained IT administrators.
- Cost Effectiveness: When you use a cloud storage service provider, you don’t have to own or maintain any of the hardware or software associated with backup storage. You simply pay a monthly fee (with no upfront investment) to store your data.
Disadvantages of Cloud Backup
- Speed: Depending on the amount of data you have, creating a full backup to a cloud storage platform can take days, as transfer is limited to your bandwidthand connection speed. Most local backup solutions are much faster.
- Control: For individuals or businesses with highly sensitive data, the inability to retain complete control over the storage process can be a drawback with cloud platforms.
3. Hybrid Backup
Is a solution based model that offers the best of both worlds. Typical cloud backup solutions focus on copying data files to a physically remote location, which is great for disaster recovery. Local backup solutions allows the backup of data to a direct attached storage device or NAS device. Hybrid backup integrates cloud backup and local backup to deliver system recovery and rapid data restores. While local backups are typically sufficient for protecting the data and other information on a computer system, the cloud backup adds a level of assurance that offsite backup data is safe from disaster.
Advantages of Hybrid Backup
- Enhanced Redundancy: Hybrid cloud backup is the ideal backup solution. Simply having one backup copy of your data is not enough. You need options: You need the immediate access of an onsite device, coupled with the security and reliance that redundant data is available in an offsite location.
- The Scalable Solution: You want your IT infrastructure to be able to support your business as it grows. A disaster recovery solution is no exception. The virtually limitless scalability of cloud computing means you can deploy countless virtual servers and even operate multiple recovery sites if business demands it. All with a pay-as-you-go fee structure.
- Speedy Recovery: It is often thought that a hybrid cloud backup solution is slow. It’s not, especially with the sophisticated data compression and deduplication mechanisms in place these days. With the ability to backup only the data blocks that have changed, the cloud backup solution ensures that only the data that needs to be sent or received makes it across the wire.
- Improved Availability: When disaster strikes, getting quick access to the backed up data is crucial. With a cloud-based storage solution, the data is instantly available for recovery from anywhere to anywhere. All you need is an Internet connection.
- Better Adherence to Compliance and Security Regulations: Compliance regulations such as HIPAA, SOX, and PCI all require data to be backed up in a secure manner and available for recovery under given durations of time. A hybrid cloud backup solution allows you to do this. Strong encryption algorithms (e.g. 448-bit blowfish) and unlimited capacity meets both your business continuity and your compliance and security requirements.
As with anything, nothing is void of challenges and limitations. Fortunately with proper planning, thorough recovery objectives, and professional and experienced IT support the hybrid cloud model can become the ideal backup solution for you and your business. Ensuring you complete business continuity no matter what happens.
At CompIT, we’ll keep you up and running so you can focus on your clients and your business.