When it comes to data recovery, even the savviest IT directors don’t have all the facts. In fact, only 30 percent reported having a fully documented disaster recovery strategy in place. Our cloud technicians experience this disconnect in data backup best practices all too often. IT staff know that gaps exist — but fail to realize how a failed restore affects every area of operations.
Overcome Disaster With Data Backup Best Practices
As a cloud managed services provider, we’ve educated our clients on the complexities surrounding backing up and restoring every layer of their IT infrastructure. Here are some dangerous misconceptions we often hear from clients — and data backup best practices to secure your data.
1. They Don’t Test Their Data Recovery Process
Your disaster recovery plan is only as good as your data restore process.
It doesn’t matter how often you back up the hard drive or take server snapshots. If your data fails to restore, the entire organization suffers.
An alarming 32 percent of IT administrators don’t regularly test their backup process. Often, it boils down to simply not knowing how often to test their data restore process. So they test infrequently or not at all.
But if you’re leaving restore to chance, there’s a strong possibility you won’t successfully recover every layer — from servers, applications to data — when you need it most. How often you test your data backup and restore process depends on the nature of the data. Regardless, make sure to test under simulated disaster conditions so you think through every detail.
2. They Underestimate the Time to Restore
Sure, your data may be stored safely offsite. But when a disaster occurs, how long will it take to restore and access that data?
Consider the value of the data and financial impacts if your organization couldn’t immediately retrieve that information. The loss in productivity, revenue and customer trust quickly amounts to thousands of dollars.
Speed to recovery is critical — and failing to plan for recovery time can result in huge costs to your business. Classify your applications based on how long the business can stomach to go without them to prioritize mission-critical data.
3. They Fail to Realize the Layers of Backup and Restore Involved
Your IT infrastructure is complex — composed on files, operating systems, data center, servers, etc. To stay productive during an outage, you need to back up, restore and test all these layers, which gets complex.
For instance, you likely need to back up databases, files, virtual machines and physical machines that run the VM differently, cascading into a much bigger, hairier solution. Without a firm grasp on your IT inventory and how to successfully back up and restore each component, your restore process will likely fail.
4. They Don’t Modify Their Backup Strategy
The growth of cloud and virtualized solutions has forced backup solutions to evolve as well. If you’re doing tape backups, at some point, a vendor stops making tapes. Your back up strategy should change often — yearly at the very least — to stay current and prevent failed restores.
5. They Oversimplify Backups & Deemphasize the Importance of Recovery
Backups seem simple enough, but focusing on backups alone leaves your organization vulnerable to data loss.
When planning your disaster recovery strategy, you must think from a restore – not backup — scenario. Restoring data (and testing the process) is critical to keeping your business up and running during an outage.
6. They Only Back Up on Hard Drives or Take Server Snapshots
We often talk to IT staff that believe backing up their hard drive or taking server snapshots is enough to safeguard their data.
When you rely on server and database snapshots, someone must hang onto them. But what if that person goes out of town? Without an automated backup process, you’re putting the company in the hands of one or two people, which can be unreliable. Physical backups also require extra storage. With time, this cost can grow exponentially.
So what’s the solution?
Build Your Disaster Recovery Solution in the Cloud
Preparing for a far-off disaster scenario might not seem critical today — especially while juggling a growing list of IT tasks. But building your disaster recovery solution in the cloud will eliminate the uncertainty that data will restore after an outage.
Choosing a cloud backup solution eliminates the need for external hard drives (or other storage media) and the costs associated with storing those hard drives.
With a cloud-based backup solution like Azure, you can configure the solution to automatically back up during idle times. You can even retrieve data on a smartphone or other portable wireless devices, reducing the time to recovery. Read our Azure backup review here.
An effective backup and recovery plan keeps data available, reduces storage costs, protects you against financial loss, preserves operational efficiency and increases staff productivity.
If you’ve fallen for any of the enterprise data recovery misconceptions above, learn how cloud backup services from Agile IT can give you peace of mind.