backup

Many small business owners depend on file based backups to protect their business from disaster. While backup of files is certainly important, it’s not the only thing to look at to protect your business. Some things to consider are, how long can the business function without computer based data and software, what about natural disasters and fire and disgruntled employee theft or sabotage. These issues and more can be mitigated with a solid business continuity plan and the proper systems in place.

The first thing to consider is how long your business is able to function without computer based data and software. For some companies 24 hours is not a particular hardship. For other firms the window can be less than an hour. The timeline is important to determine if a backup server, called a Backup and Disaster Recovery device (BDR) is necessary. This device is capable of providing instant or near instant failover for any or all of the servers in your network. The BDR can function as the server until a replacement can be installed. If the time to restoration window is longer, say 6-24 hours, then standard image based backups can fit the bill. Image based backups include all of the software and files on the server and can be restored to a new or temporary server in a couple of hours. The traditional file based backup can take up to two days since a complete reinstall of all the software and restoration of the files is required.

Next, what about physical damage to your equipment? This can be caused by fire, sprinkler systems, flood, major storms, lightning or any number of things. Your data needs to replicate off site to insure continuity. There are many ways to accomplish this. Security is a major concern. Data should be encrypted before transfer. The data can be sent off site by physically carrying drives to a separate location or data can be sent to another location using secure transfer over the internet. Whichever method is used, there should be a plan to make sure that it is consistent and verified.

Data corruption is also a major concern. Employee sabotage, viruses and malware or some computer issues can corrupt files. The daily backup routine will only copy what is on the hard drive, corrupt or not. Sometimes these issues are not discovered for weeks or months. Files that are not accessed often may not be discovered for a long time. To protect against these types of issues multiple copies of the data must be stored in addition to just the last day or so. A retention policy of daily, weekly and monthly backups should be created and followed.

The continuity of business operations is a complex subject and daily backups are just one part of the equation. Kilpatrick IT Solutions, LLC can help your firm make sure that in the event of disaster your business can continue to function and make the worst of times a little less stressful.