Backup & Recovery, Avoiding Financial Losses

9 March 2018

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Backup and Disaster Recovery software and systems are often seen as an expensive IT tax which businesses must pay and see no return on...
In a bid to change that opinion, we will discuss a few different scenarios where having reliable policies in place can in fact mitigate massive financial losses for businesses and maintain trading reputations.


Data Loss

Possibly the most obvious scenario is straight forward data loss. Whether accidental or malicious deletion by end users or a ransomware virus that slipped through the anti-virus system losing key data can be a huge issue for a team. Key documents are often kept in company drives, sales ledgers, project documentation and even the back-end databases for business-critical systems like a CRM can be simply deleted by a virus. In these cases, a reliable backup is your last and frequently only defence.


Hardware Failure

Even if we forget any malicious intent by individuals internal or external to your business there will always be cases where hardware simply fails. Hard drives and motherboards do on occasion break and we must ensure we have systems in place to respond. If you lose a server you potentially not only lose all the data on it but also the infrastructure it supports; no internet, email, CRM system or printing can bring all business processes grinding to a halt. Here something more than simple backup is needed, a recovery plan to carry a company through such a hit is needed.


Site Inaccessibility

One final consideration would be a larger scale problem, what if your whole site is inaccessible. For example, if the office floods can we still do business from home or a second site? At this point we are truly architecting a real disaster recovery plan to keep the business running, being able to rebuild our systems either on a failover server on another site or in a virtual server in the cloud grants us the resilience to provide business as usual to our customers.


The cost of any of these failures can be huge, to quantify this we must look at what is lost.

Missed sales opportunities, hours wasted by staff, customer information lost and damage to reputation all carry a very real financial cost. When budgeting for backup plans it is usually a worthwhile exercise to cost up what 1 hour, 8 hours and 48 hours of downtime would cost your company. This comparison shows the true value of ensuring you have adequate backup and disaster recovery plans.

RTO and RPO are two disaster recovery buzzwords you might actually need to know. Recovery time objective and recovery point objective are two clear targets that you as a company can specify to ensure your backup and DR systems are up to scratch.

RPO covers how much data we are willing to lose in a disaster, should all systems stop working how far back in time is it acceptable to go? Can we restore backups from yesterday or is that not sufficient? What value does the work recorded this morning hold?

RTO defines the time that is acceptable for this to happen. If you can return to business as usual within 24 hours is that satisfactory? Or do you need to consider quicker failover that allows only hours minutes or even zero downtime. Both RPO and RTO are individual to your circumstance and your disaster recovery plans need to reflect that!

Getting backup and disaster recovery right is difficult but there are a few minimum standards we like to see our clients adopt. Namely hourly local backups with encrypted daily backups transferred to at least one offsite location, preferably also to a cloud environment and a solid disaster recovery plan, in place and tested so everyone is aware of the reliability and time taken to invoke a failover system.


Can your current system provide that level of resilience?

If not, perhaps you need to reconsider your approach.
 
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