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Backups are like any other type of insurance: you hope you'll never have to actually use it, but when disaster strikes it can mean everything that you have it – and that it is fit for purpose!

Unfortunately, it can be all too easy to forget about ensuring critical systems are backed up. Consequently, whenever there is a problem with a computer, server or application the first question is: “Is it backed up?”. At this point, there are only three responses –
  • “No – I didn’t think it was necessary”
  • “Yes – but I haven’t ever tested it or haven’t tested it recently”
  • “Of course, let’s recover the data or system”
Obviously, all of us want to be in that third position, especially if the data is crucial to your business, but I suspect most people are all too familiar with the first two responses. That’s why it’s critical to have the conversation about backups and have confidence in your ability to restore data.

To help you understand and be able to have that informed conversation, there are 3 key concepts to bear in mind:
  1. RPO (Recovery Point Objective)

This governs how far back in time from the point of data loss your restore would be. If you are only backing up nightly and the data loss happens towards the end of the day you could lose a full day’s work. Similarly, if you only backup weekly or realise your backup hasn’t been running for some time, your point of recovery could lead to a lot of lost work.
How much data could you afford to lose? An hour, a day or a week? This should govern how often your backups run.
  1. RTO (Recovery Time Objective)

This is simply how long it will take to restore. You may have backups from within the past hour, but if it takes you a week to restore your systems, this can have a significant impact on your business.
How long can you afford to be without your data or systems? This should govern where your backup data lives and the processes around restoring your systems.
  1. 3-2-1 Rule

While it may seem unnecessary to consider backing up your backup data, this rule is widely used to ensure that when you need your backups, they are available to you.
  • You should keep at least three copies of your data
    • The more copies of your backup data you have the less chance of something affecting all three at once
  • Store at least two copies on different devices or media
    • Any storage device can and will fail at some point. Keeping to this rule will ensure the chances of 2 different devices failing at the same time is much lower
  • Keep at least one copy offsite
    • If all your backups are held in the same physical location as their source, a local disaster such as a fire or flood could destroy the data as well as their backups.
Once you understand these three concepts it allows you to talk about your backups and start to work out which type of backup is right for your business.

Which type of backup is right for you?

At MTech, we offer two solutions for backups – Core and Premium.

Our core backup would back your servers up to a local resource (Hard Drive or NAS) at least every hour, and the backups would then be transferred overnight to our backup store to fulfil the need for an offsite copy.  Also included in the standard backup would be an annual Disaster Recovery test where we would restore your servers with our offsite copies of the backup to ensure you backups are working as expected. This would then also allow you to understand the RTO of your backups and allow you to plan for that worst-case scenario.

Our Premium solution includes an extra step where your backups are also replicated to a cloud Disaster Recovery solution, allowing your servers to be restored in the cloud in a fraction of the time of the traditional method. This option then also helps meet the 3-2-1 rule as you would have 3 copies of your backup (Onsite, Mtech Office & Cloud), 2 copies on different media types and more than 1 offsite copy.

Get in touch with us to discuss these options – our experts can help you decide which option is right for you.

Join our webinar!

We're holding a webinar about Disaster Recovery and Backups on Tuesday 29th September at 11am. You can register to listen in here

Call 0113 897 0999
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