So you’ve got your backups, which is great considering it’s the lifeblood of your business. But have you checked it lately? Are you 100% confident that if something failed today that you could recover everything you needed?
If the answer is no, then that’s a big warning sign! Especially since our networks and computers are so susceptible to viruses and malware.
But fear not! Backups don’t have to be something to pull your hair out over. With a smart approach and proper planning and knowledge, backups will become a seamless experience, and all your data will remain safe and sound!
Planning Backups Appropriate to Your Business Requirements
Whether you have backups currently implemented or if you are only starting to think about them, it is crucial to consider your RPO and RTO objectives as soon as possible to ensure you don’t get caught in a situation where your business suffers due to a loss of data.
RPO (Recovery Point Objective)
This is basically in reference to how much data can be lost. For example if you were only backing up once a week, could your business still function after losing a week’s worth of data? If your backup is set to happen once a day at the end of the day, if something happened just before the backup point, could your business survive losing a full days work? How much data are you prepared or comfortable with losing?
These are the crucial questions you have to ask when determining how often you backup your data.
RTO (Recovery Time Objective)
Recovery Time Objective is to do with the amount of time it takes for you to get your data back. How long can your business function without your data before it becomes an issue? How quickly do you need it back? How long are you willing to wait? These questions need to be considered when setting your objective.
By taking the time to set these objectives you can design an appropriate backup solution for your business, taking into account cost effectiveness and your risk appetite.
The 3-2-1 Strategy
So now you’ve figured out your RPO and RTO objectives the next thing is implementing your backup solution in a full-proof setup! You want to ensure that regardless of the event that causes a disaster, you can be confident that you will have access to a backup! The 3-2-1 strategy does this for us.
Basically, the 3-2-1 strategy is you should have at least three copies of your data. Two of your copies can be stored locally but on different media or devices. For example: one copy on your computer and another on your external hard drive. The last copy then needs to be stored in an offsite location.
Why do I need one offsite? Isn’t two enough?
It’s possible, due to the proximity of your local devices that if something unexpected and unfortunate happened, that it would affect both copies. For example, if there was a flood, chances are that your computer and hard drive would be affected, or if there was a virus there is a chance that your hard drive might’ve been connected and simultaneously infected.
The 3-2-1 is definitely a great start for most small to medium businesses. If you have more complex requirements, then a more customised solution might need to be developed based on your unique circumstances.
Testing and Test Restores
Now you’ve designed your backup plan and learnt the best strategy to ensuring you have access your backup, what next? All too often with backups, people forget that they need to be frequently tested.
Testing is an essential part of backups, because if you don’t test then you don’t really know if your data is safe and recoverable.
There have been many examples of businesses small and large that think that their backups are working and safe, and when the time comes to restore from backup, realise there is a problem! It can, without hyperbole, spell the end of your business.
So how do we avoid this?
Test Your Backups Regularly
Simple backups should be tested regularly, at least once a quarter and whenever there is a major hardware or software change to your backup system.
In order for your tests to be effective, make sure you replicate the situation you might face when you actually need to restore. Ideally, you would want to do a complete restoration of all your data to a second system with an identical configuration. Sometimes this is not possible, but you should definitely test as much of the backup as feasibly possible.
When you do decide to test it is essential that it is done in a methodical manner. Randomly picking and choosing a couple files to restore doesn’t prove that your line of business applications actually work, or that you are able to restore the whole system quickly and reliably.
Testing should include the restoration of not only files and folders, but also the full operating system and critical applications.
Ensure that across your testing strategies that everything is tested. This is essential in determining if your backups truly work.
If you can’t confidently say that if you had an outage right now that all data would be recoverable, then speak to Enee!
Whether it’s to help you figure out your options for backups, assist you in establishing your RPO and RTO targets or help you test your backups, we can help you!