Making Data Disasters a Thing of the Past

Be prepared for anything with managed IT services and data recovery.

Many small to medium-sized businesses don’t put a lot of emphasis on preparing for data disasters, figuring it’s too much bother or that it’s unlikely a data disaster will happen to them. 

For the unprepared, a data disaster is a matter of if, not when. Whether it’s from a hardware failure, a targeted security breach, a natural disaster that physically destroys your server, or a simple human error by an employee, your data is vulnerable to loss or theft. 

No matter what size business you have, you need a plan that covers business continuity, disaster recovery, and data backup. Here’s what you need to know to disaster-proof your data and your business. 

Why you need to plan for business continuity now, not later

One incident of unplanned downtime could spell the end for a business that doesn’t have a generous emergency budget to fall back on. Downtime can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per minute, and that’s just in terms of lost sales and lost productivity. There’s also the blow it deals to your brand’s image and reputation and the impact that it has on customer retention. 

The best time to figure out what to do in the event of unplanned downtime is before it ever happens. That’s why you need to have your business continuity plan, which outlines what you’ll do to keep the business running in the event of a data disaster, in place now. 

The essential elements of disaster recovery 

A good business continuity plan will include disaster recovery. Two metrics that form the basis of your disaster recovery are your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). 

Your RTO is the maximum length of time your operations can tolerate being down after a failure or disaster. For example, if your RTO is 30 minutes, that means your systems have to come back online after a disaster within 30 minutes for recovery to proceed in a way that is acceptable or “tolerable” in terms of cost. 

Your RPO is the time between when your last good data set was available and when the disaster or failure occurred. Establishing an RPO helps ensure that the data that is recovered after a disaster is as up-to-date as possible. It also defines how often you should back up your data. For example, if your RPO is one hour, then you should back up your data every hour. 

The 3-2-1 backup rule and why you need it

To recap, your business continuity plan sets out what you’ll do in the event of a data disaster, and establishes your parameters for disaster recovery, including your RTO and your RPO. 

That just leaves your data backup. One of the simplest ways to protect your data is by utilizing the 3-2-1 Backup Rule.

What is the 3-2-1 Backup Rule?

The 3-2-1 Backup Rule was established by Peter Krogh, and is centered around the idea of keeping data safe through multiple backups of that data. Essentially, you should always keep three copies of your data, two copies that are local but on different mediums or devices, and one copy that is off-site.

As an example, say you have a list of clients that you keep on your work computer. That’s one copy. Then you have that same list of clients on an external hard drive that you use to backup your computer. That’s the other localized copy of your client list, but on a separate device. On top of your personal hard drive, you have an online backup solution that constantly uploads your data to an off-site data center. This is your third copy, found off-site.

If something were to happen to your external hard drive or the off-site data center, you would still have your client list on your personal computer, and vice versa.

How you can survive a data disaster

Given how essential data backup and data recovery is to disaster-proofing your business, you might leave it to the experts by using managed IT services. 

ISG’s Managed Backup and Data Recovery plans have you covered. We take care of your data backup and your data replication so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that data disasters are a thing of the past. Get Managed Backup and Data Recovery from ISG for comprehensive protection for your business.