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Ensure business continuity with cloud backup and disaster recovery services


Discover the difference between backup and disaster recovery, best practices, and trends.

Read time: 5 minutes

There is a fact every business owner and executive should know. 

Many businesses without a disaster recovery (DR) plan fail to survive a catastrophic data loss. 

Cloud backups and disaster recovery services and plans are essential to businesses today. If any doubters existed, the pandemic likely cured them of that doubt. 

Disaster recovery is critical to business continuity. Having the right systems in place can be the difference between minor disruptions to operations and huge financial losses. What are the right systems? That depends on your business and its needs.

And there are a lot of backup and disaster recovery options available. 

We’ll take a look at the relationship between backup and disaster recovery, the different types of backup and DR services available, further explore why DR is critical to business continuity, and share some key terms everyone should know when it comes to disaster recovery planning.

Is there a difference between backup and disaster recovery?

Yes, backup and disaster recovery are two entirely different principles.

  • Backup involves making a copy of your data. The backup should be stored off-site or ideally in the cloud.

  • Disaster recovery refers to the practice of having a plan and processes in place to deal with a disruption to normal business operations. 

Backup is an essential element of a disaster recovery plan, but disaster recovery itself includes all aspects of the business operations, including employee communication and safety, not just the business data.

Is your business prepared to survive a network outage?

Whether a catastrophe is manmade or a natural disaster, businesses of every size must be prepared to resume normal operations as quickly as possible after an unexpected interruption. Part of that is having a DR plan in place for IT systems and data.

The goal is to create a roadmap of actions that will minimize downtime, reduce financial impact, and maintain access to mission-critical data and customer records to ensure business continuity.  (The plan should also include crisis communication instructions for whom to contact to repair the damage or initiate failover systems, and protocols to alert external partners and customers in the event of a prolonged outage.)

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Types of Backup and Disaster Recovery

There are two ways to go about implementing a DR backup plan for IT systems and data:

One is to build an exact physical replica of the primary infrastructure. This is a huge undertaking. It may also be of little use if the failsafe system is on-premises and affected by the same disaster as the primary network. Duplicating the IT infrastructure at a remote location solves that but is still an expensive proposition and requires redundant connectivity with independent internet service providers.

The second way is through the cloud. Migrating backup data to a cloud service provider stores data safely in an off-site data center without the burdens – and costs – of owning the servers and storage assets or maintaining infrastructure.

Many cloud backup providers also offer services to assist with your DR planning and implementation. This popular new approach to disaster recovery is called disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).

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Push Backup to the Forefront

Whether you choose to implement DR directly or with the assistance of a partner, it all starts with backup. But what types and methods are best? Here are some terms and functions to help you decide:

  • Backup methods. There are several to choose from:

  • A Full Backup copies everything of value. This may be very time consuming depending on database size but should be done at least once to create a master backup file.

  • An Incremental Backup will only make copies of files that have changed since the previous backup.

  • A Differential Backup only stores a record of the changes made to files since the last backup.

  • A Mirror Backup makes an exact copy of the source data and deletes obsolete files when they are removed from the active database.

  • Backup priorities. Businesses must establish what kinds of data and how quickly it must be recovered.

  • A Recovery Point Objective (RPO) defines the types of data that must be restored ASAP to resume operations. It should delineate between mission-critical and archived data that will not be needed immediately.

  • A Recovery Time Objective (RTO) sets a timeframe for how soon access to systems and data must be re-established in a best-case scenario. RTO can range from minutes to hours, but usually not longer than that.

  • Failover and Failback. 

  • Failover is the process of cutting over to a backup provider or system in the event of an outage or during maintenance.

  • Failback is the act of returning operations to the primary network after the disaster has been resolved or upgrades are completed.

  • Hot Site versus Cold Site DR. 

  • A Hot Site is an alternate IT location that is configured and ready to handle all business operations at a moment’s notice.

  • A Cold Site is a reserved, yet usually empty space, in which a backup system can be built. It has power and environmental controls, but all hardware and servers must be set up upon arrival.

  • Business Impact Analysis (BIA). This is actually the place to begin – and to constantly revisit. A BIA is a risk-assessment exercise which identifies all business functions and priorities that must be restored in the event of a disaster. It includes an inventory of the most valuable data, applications, and hardware assets to protect, and outlines the roles and responsibilities of key response personnel. It should be periodically updated.

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6 Benefits of Cloud Backup

Today, cloud backup is the recommended best practice. Besides eliminating the need and cost for a redundant IT environment and support resources, cloud backup services ensure you get all the latest data protection and redundancy technologies are in use for a fixed monthly fee. The onus is on the provider to maintain, test, and scale as necessary to meet service level agreements.

Cloud backup services like DRaaS are comprehensive and include all the hardware, software, infrastructure management and support personnel required to support your business continuity efforts.  

  • Simple. Backup and DR experts design and configure the solution. It is deployed 100% remotely, is infinitely scalable, with 24/7 support available.

  • Cost effective. No capital investment, no added IT resources, no surprise billing. Convert CAPEX to OPEX for further accounting advantages.

  • Reliable. Multiple clouds ensure resiliency, redundancy, and always-on availability. Backups occur in the background without impacting performance.

  • Fast. Lower RTO to just minutes with hot site backup.

  • Secure. All data is SSL encrypted and monitored with real-time incident reporting.

  • Customizable. Add proactive monitoring, threat detection, and patching with best-in-class solutions.

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to formulate a plan and secure your data. By then it’s too late.

If you’d like to know what a DRaaS solution would look like for your business, one of our representatives would be happy to speak with you.

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