Tag Archives: DR

Best Practises to Protect and Recover Data — Part I

Companies need to develop formal plans in order to protect valuable data and secure desktop and mobile devices. This means, firms require formal protocols for data recovery to retrieve information easily and quickly when things go wrong, like when natural disaster strikes.

Cloud Limitations

Despite improving reliability and decreasing costs, companies should not use only cloud storage option for securing data. Instead, they should have both offsite and local backups for maximum protection. Access to data in the cloud is always dependent on Internet connection, but during Internet outage, it is easy to access data quickly.

While data protection practises vary from company to company, the best practises remain universal:

1/ Develop Plans

Before choosing the best data protection practises, firms must understand the significance of creating a formal plan. If there is an established written disaster recovery plan, then employees can get detailed instructions regarding the management of data. Moreover, the written plan can remind the employees to treat company data as a critical asset of the organisation. Planning helps in discovering new data sets that were not found before, giving additional insight into the nature of the company data.

2/ Handle Devices with Extreme Care

Hard drives are sensitive; therefore, treat these devices with care, avoiding exposure to liquids and extreme heat. SD cards are excessively used to store videos and photos. Firms should treat these cards carefully as they are very sensitive as even simple static charges could affect these devices.

3/ Follow Regulatory and Legal Regulations

Make certain that company’s plan is cross-checked with regulatory and legal requirements. To protect information and to save the firm from lawsuits and fines, it is necessary to exceed these regulatory requirements.

4/ Set Up Various Metrics

When tools for data protection are selected, firms need to make sure that they are working appropriately. Metrics help you identify any policy violations, employees are trained adequately, and all data is encrypted at all levels.

5/ Restrict Access

Employees have access to valuable data, so there must be some established access controls to avoid mismanagement and chances of theft. It is unfair and risky to give complete access to one employee. Make certain that there are a number of staff members who have access to data. Moreover, there must be some plans that can work when some employees leave the company.

In Part II, we will discuss additional best data protection practices, like central data management, the roll of employees in data recovery, testing DR plans, and more.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) Vs. Traditional Disaster Recovery (DR)

Disaster Recovery (DR) systems are difficult to operate, harder to configure. They also get quickly outdated, and cost much more than just backups. To the contrary, DRaaS is a cloud based service, which offers testing flexibility, costs much less than DR, easier to deploy, keeps pace with the company changes and strategies, and offers the ability to test the ongoing plans on a regular basis.

How Do You Make a DR Plan?

You can make DR plans with the help of cloud based methods. You will need to consider the potential threats present to data centres while devising and testing disaster scenarios. Such threats as employee sabotage, hazardous weather, systems downtime, hackers, breaches and power outages should be outlined as potential disasters. Identify the most common apps that need to be restored immediately. Go over the list again and prioritise by importance. You are also suggested to make the plans to limit the activities against the data centre and its efficiency. Users can develop the basic infrastructure with the help of servers, network connections, applications, software and storage devices. All these parameters have vital roles in the development of good infrastructure for disaster recovery.

Appointing staff having relevant professional experience can help in the development of DR plans and infrastructure required. IT professionals know how to manage according to the requirements of clients. IT departments spend more time for the development and maintenance of DR plans. New applications and approaches are invented by developers working on disaster recovery options and protocols. IT admins also test these DR plans in order to find the best efficiency level for optimised performance.

Developing New DRaaS Solutions:

Cloud always provides better options for the data protection and recovery.  The cloud is most efficient, providing latest updates in order to create better data recovery and storage. The cloud has introduced modern automation and virtualisation for high level flexibility.

Cloud’s Limitations:

DRaaS might have limitations, especially, when cloud vendors do not have complete system redundancy. Suppliers can’t justify the cost of building new data centres that cater to the needs of each user’s infrastructure setups. As a result, they cut corners. A good DRaaS will develop systems that resist outages to some degree.

Even though cloud based DR increases the company network bandwidth, it is better than conventional options. The users are also required to choose the right DR plans favourable for their business and activity. It is no longer a question of how cloud backup service providers can assist the clients in the matter of disaster recovery.

Online Backup: Common Misconceptions

Undoubtedly Online Backup has a lot of advocates, yet there are many still unconvinced by its benefits. There are some common misconceptions about Online or Cloud Backup that often push customers away from using it.

Here are some of the most common fictitious theories:

All Online Backup vendors are the same

It may seem obvious that this statement is not true but there are plenty of circumstances of FAQs to demonstrate that a large percentage of people do not realise that there is a difference in the services offered by different Online Backup providers. Backup Technology recently experienced this itself when one of its blogs received a huge response. Several subscribers misinterpreted the article and therefore the difference between enterprise level backup solutions (provided by Backup Technology) and consumer level backup solutions.

Choosing a cloud backup vendor can be a critical decision for you whether it is for personal or commercial usage. Undeniably there is an abundance of Online Backup solutions available and the features that they offer can vary considerably. Some provide the bare minimum while others provide a huge range of features to enhance the service that they provide. These features may include the amount of storage, security, data restoration and technical support. Thus it is essential that every customer investing in Cloud Backup carefully considers what they want from a solution and a provider when making a decision in order to find the best solution to meet their specific requirements.

Data restoration and recovery takes weeks

This varies from provider to provider. There is an element of truth to this statement if you pick the wrong backup provider. Conversely, with top quality Online Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions, data can be restored and recovered within hours.

Once again it is imperative that the proper research is conducted to find out which solution best caters to your needs. For enterprises, quick recovery times are imperative for their normal operating procedures to continue. This alongside an adequate DR plan minimises downtime even further in the event of a disaster.

Online backup is expensive

Online backup is expensive

As it has already been stated, the Online Backup market is wide and varying, hence the price of different solutions differs greatly depending upon the features that each provider offers. Providers will also structure their pricing differently. For example, some will base it on amount of data backed up, whilst some will base it on the number of machines on which the software is installed.

Some other features that affect pricing are;

  1. The number of generations of each file that are kept.
  2. Data retention and archiving period options.
  3. Managed backups vs. unmanaged backups.
  4. The level of support available, e.g. 24/7 or normal office hours.

Investment in a good Online Backup solution can have enormous long-term financial benefits for enterprises by significantly lowering costs in the following ways:

  1. Most providers have a pay-as-you-go pricing model so the customer only pays for the amount of data that it wishes to store.
  2. Cloud resources can quickly be added with the fine granularity and have costs that scale smoothly without requiring large upfront investments.
  3. Online eliminates expenditures for backup tapes, disks, external drives and other backup equipment.
  4. The cloud platform manages and maintains the DR servers and storage devices, lowering IT costs and the need for manual intervention.

Furthermore, according to Symantecs Disaster Preparedness Survey, the median cost of downtime for an SMB following a disaster is $12, 500 per day. The implementation of an effective Online Backup and Disaster Recovery plan can reduce this cost drastically by minimising downtime.

Online Backup is enough

Online backup is a foundational technology but for many customers, it is no longer enough. In an ideal world, data should be backed up in more than one location in order to minimise risk of data loss in the event of a disaster. It is always a good idea to keep a local copy as well as an off-site copy in the form of Online Backup to add an extra level of protection to your business.

Choosing your Online Backup provider

It is important to be wise when choosing your Online Backup provider. Secure backup and reliable restoration are foundational to your business success. Investigate your options critically. Be sure that your provider fulfills your specific requirements, whether you are looking for a consumer or enterprise level solution.

78% Of British Businesses Experience Data Loss In Last 12 Months.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity are concepts not taken seriously enough by many company boards.

A survey released by EMC revealed that the UK is not giving DR the focus it arguably merits.

According to the survey 78% of UK organisations have experienced data loss in the last 12 months. This is higher than the European average of 54%.

The affects of IT outages must me made clear to CEOs and other senior board members, in order to ensure that a serious plan is put in place.

Neil Fisher, Vice Chairman of the information Assurance Advisory Council stated:

DR is about the survival of the business so it should be a board-level issue. Without board backing, the strategy will never work.

Data must be classified in terms of importance. For some data sets it may be acceptable to have two days worth of downtime, whereas for others it is unacceptable to have two seconds.

Tony Lock, analyst at research firm Freeform Dynamics emphasises this point:

Most companies dont understand the value of different data sets.

One of the worst ways in which a company can be caught unprepared is through having unrealistic Recovery Time Objectives or Recovery Point Objectives. Inconsistency in backups or poor management can also present significant threats, should a disaster occur.

Organisations must constantly question what could realistically go wrong within their IT environment, and how those events would affect the rest of the business. Companies are often under the false assumption that their DR plan is sufficient, when in many cases it needs seriously addressing.

The London Riots: Being Prepared for the Unpredictable

The London Riot clean up is underway. Many businesses however will have experienced detrimental affects to their IT infrastructures.

It is essential that your business is prepared for the unpredictable. During turbulent times it is vital to have a reliable Data Backup and Recovery protocol in place.

Here are some criteria that Backup Technology have put together as a checklist to help businesses ensure their data is protected.

> Automated data backup solution which can be operated remotely:

It is essential that data can still be backed up in an automated and remote fashion when staff are unable to access an office building.

> Utilise an experienced Managed Service Provider with 24/7 availability:

When a Disaster Recovery (DR) procedure needs to be invoked it is essential that a dedicated team can be contacted immediately to begin the recovery process.

> Have a DR plan in place which meets your organisations critical Recovery Time Objectives:

It is essential that your DR plan is regularly tested to ensure recovery times are in place and that staff are familiar with the procedure.

> Server Recovery into standby Virtual Environment:

Servers must be recoverable into a virtual environment with secure access ensured to all global users.

> Have an established DR site for staff to work from in the event of the primary site being down:

Organisations should have a secondary site which users can work from in the event of their primary site being unavailable.





Asia Unprepared For Disaster: Symantec reveal SMBs in Asia have no DR

Studies have indicated that SMBs (small and medium sized businesses) in the Asia-Pacific region are simply not prepared enough to deal with IT disasters, as only 48% of companies have Disaster Recovery procedures in place.

Symantec found that 12% of Asia Pacific SMBs had no form of DR plan whatsoever and 44% of these did not consider computer systems critical to their business. A further 28% stated that disaster preparedness was not a top priority.

Such a lack of preparation is surprising considering the typical SMB experienced 5 outages within the last 12 months. The leading causes of this were cyber attacks, power outages, upgrades and employee errors.

The data at the heart of such SMBs is simply not protected. Less than half of all SMBs back up their data weekly and only 21% backup daily. Forty-five percent of businesses said that they would loose at least 40% of their data in the event of a disaster, and it is estimated that such an outage would cost their customers up to $45,000 per day. This is one of the main issues in that a disaster not only affects the vendor directly, but also their end clients.

The survey revealed that most businesses are not making disaster recovery a main priority until they experience some form of significant data loss. Fifty-four percent of businesses which have put some form of implementation in place have done so in the last six months. However only 28% of companies have actually tried and tested their disaster recovery procedures, which is critical to being prepared.

Findings also reveal that the cost of being unprepared is huge, placing an SMB under real risk of going out of business. The survey revealed that in addition to costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, any downtime often causes customers to take their business elsewhere.

Disasters are unpredictable and can happened due to natural causes, human errors or IT systems failures. SMBs which handle sensitive data such as customer records, credit card details or personal files, cannot afford to risk data loss incidents, said David Dzienciol, Symantecs vice president for SMB and Channels, Asia Pacific and Japan.

The research shows that SMBs still havent recognised the tremendous impact of a disaster. Simple planning can enable SMBs to protect their information in the event of a disaster, which in turn will help them build trust with their customers.

In India for instance it is thought that SMBs have yet to recognise the huge impact which disaster can have according to Vineet Sood, the head of channels and alliances at Symantec India.

SMBs must act quickly to put Disaster Recovery Procedures in place and ensure that data is secure, in any eventuality.

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