If your business depends on data then you need a data recovery plan. Any number of natural or manmade disasters can compromise your data systems – fire, flood, blizzards, power outage, cyber-attack, even a terrorist attack. Your challenge is to be ready when disaster strikes.
Here is a list of things to remember when developing your data backup and recovery plan:
1. Be Comprehensive:
Determine which data are considered vital to the organisation. This is not the responsibility of the IT department alone. Survey the managers in charge of each division to determine which data are vital to their operations.
2. Set a recovery point objective:
It would be great to be able to restore all the company’s data in the event of a disaster, but that goal may be unrealistic. It’s up to IT managers to determine how much data is reasonable for data recovery and set a target recovery point or data loss threshold. Then it’s up to corporate management to determine if the recovery set point is adequate, or if the company needs to add more backup capability to properly manage the records and to further reduce data loss.
Every employee is responsible for data security. The company leaders need to explain the disaster recovery plan to the staff, including the protocols to secure company data. For example, staff members need to store vital business data on the server for backup, not on their desktop hard drives.
4. Validate your Backups:
Unfortunately, once established, backup procedures are usually forgotten. You may be running regular backups but if you have corrupted storage media, inaccurate backup indices, faulty failover procedures, or some other weak link in the backup and restoration process, your backups will be useless. Ask yourself whether you have secure storage for your backup media. Backup tapes or disks won’t help you if they are lost in a fire or flood. Lock your backup data in a fireproof safe, use off-premise storage, or even a cloud-based data solution.
5. Test Disaster Recovery Protocols:
Things change over time, and you want to be confident that your backup and recovery procedures change as well. Be sure to run disaster recovery drills every few months or every year or so to make sure your disaster recovery protocols are still current and running smoothly.
The Need for Data Recovery
Data recovery is not the same as maintaining business continuity. Data recovery is designed to do exactly what it says – recover data following a disaster. Business continuity provides the means to maintain operations in the event of a disaster. If your offices are lost in a fire or flood, or some other disaster forces you to relocate, you will need basic computing capability, email access, phones, even desks to maintain operations. A business continuity plan is designed to support the entire company where a data recovery plan is a subset of the disaster plan and falls within the domain of the IT department.
If you need assistance formulating an effective data recovery strategy, there are a number of vendors who specialise in data archiving and recovery. The disaster recovery solutions from Iron Mountain, for example, includes records storage, secure offsite data vaulting, and cloud data storage as well as document scanning to turn paper documents into digital data that can be incorporated into your data recovery plan.
Don’t wait until you have a disaster to discover your data recovery procedure falls short. Assess your data backup needs and keep testing and refining your data recovery plan so you’ll be ready when disaster strikes.
Written by: Scott Bryan is a financial blogger who enjoys explaining the arcane world of finance in everyday terms. Formerly a high street bank manager for over thirty years, he knows that everyone has unique requirements and so is dedicate to helping you find the right solution for you. He now works as a freelance financial writer when not consulting.