Tag Archives: #DataBackup

Types of Backup and Storage Plans

3D Rendering Data Storage Archive Backup and Storage Plans concept

What are my backup options for my business?

At this point in the digital transformation, most businesses are aware that computer and data backups are essential. The ability to restore your information and your infrastructure is a safety precaution that it would be foolish not to have prepared. If a hacker ransomwares your network, a good backup can make it possible to simply wipe and restore instead of fretting about lost files. If a natural disaster takes out your office building, the right backups can allow you to completely set up shop somewhere new.

But not all backups are equal. Backups built and managed by a hands-on IT team are likely going to have a few more useful traits and features than a default backup system set-and-forgotten out of the box. Let’s take a closer look at the differences you might see in your backups and improvements that can be made to any business backup system.

Local vs Cloud Backups

The first important backup decision to make is where to store them. Backups are compressed, but they are still huge files that contain copies of entire databases, networks, and operating systems. Backups stored locally are more accessible, you don’t even need outside internet access to copy, open, and restore from local backups. Local backups are faster and more convenient in the office, but they are also more vulnerable.

If the server banks containing your local backups are damaged or disrupted, your backups could be lost. Fire, flood, sabotage, and self-spreading malware all put your local backups at risk.

Cloud backups are absolutely safe. Cloud server storage is not just remote from your location, it’s also distributed so that copies of your backups are stored in storage repositories all over the world. You will always be able to access your backups, and your backups will be safe from all but the most insidious server-host attacks. You can even download your backups from the cloud to restore a computer in an entirely remote location.

But cloud backups must be downloaded every time you make a restoration and uploaded to the cloud every time a new backup is taken, which can be a real pinch with limited or metered bandwidth.

Automated vs Manual Backups

The next question is how you handle your regular backups. Backups must be made periodically so that the data is up-to-date if you need to restore your systems from a backup. But when and how do you take those new backups? Manual backups are those taken by a person enacting the backup process. They may be entering a series of commands or even hand-copying data from one server to another.

Automated backups are when a program runs itself to make copies of all the necessary data and then stores those copies where they can be found if a recovery is needed. Automated backups take up far less time, but much be managed. If an automated backup malfunctions or if the process is flawed, it might create useless backups while creating a false sense of security.

Data vs Infrastructure Backups

Now consider the size and complexity of your backups. There are many different ways to take backups based on how you expect to enact recoveries and restorations. Some businesses only bother to backup one server of data or just one database because everything else they need or use is a SaaS program or cloud service that doesn’t need to be backed up. Data backups are those that only include data that will be reloaded into a fresh identical server.

On the other hand, some businesses intentionally backup the entire infrastructure for each workstation, server, and network. With a more comprehensive backup, you can create an identical work environment beyond your most important data. Infrastructure backups make for faster recoveries and far less new installation setup for workstations that are wiped and recovered.

What types of backups and recovery plans will work best for your business? It all depends on how much downtime you can afford and how much risk your data may be facing. If you’d like to consult on managed IT backup and recovery services for your business, contact us today!

Disaster Recovery Preparation

Businessman shows concept hologram Recovery on his hand. Disaster recovery preparation concept

The key to disaster recovery is preparation for when it does occur.

Computer users come in many flavors, shapes, and backgrounds. Some merely use computers for simple tasks such as checking E-mail, news, weather, and various other data statistic feeds — these are all simple tasks that don’t require thought about computer maintenance or file/data backup. Other users have a more data-sensitive approach where storing files and various other types of data in a computer are a major factor in their day-to-day computer usage — this means that computer maintenance and data preservation take on a whole different sense of priority. Business owners and managers, for example, would not be able to continue operations after an event that causes data loss unless sound data-backup policies are in place — business continuity and uninterrupted profit should be the priority of businesses, therefore the following preparations and protocol should be part of a business’ IT policy.

Self-Service

There are options for self-servicing, although it’s recommended to obtain professional consulting when setting up any of the following options. There are options within computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, and various other operating systems that provide for either manual or scheduled backups of computer files and data. Sometimes third-party programs are preferable if the native programs within the operating system do not fit the needs of the computer user. Whatever the case, granular control of the backup programs can be achieved through various settings. For example, a date and time can be set to run the backup program. Selection of specific folders, directories, and files can be set for backup. Retention settings can be set that determines how long certain files are kept in storage — this helps to manage storage space. Encryption options are also available for backed up files so that they cannot be read by unauthorized individuals. All of these settings can be set to run automatically — on a schedule — or they can be set and run manually.

Other kinds of self-service might include relatively easy methods such as “copying and pasting.”  This is a manual type of backup where the user will use the computer keyboard or mouse to copy specific files and/or folders over to an external drive such as a flash drive or external hard drive connected via USB ports. Archiving, retention, and encryption of the files lie in the discretion of the user.

Cloud storage is another form of self-service whereby computer users with an internet connection may subscribe to an internet backup service. Automatic or manual backup using these services are optional. Users may configure the service the same way as in computer operating systems expect that storage is on the internet provided by the backup services. Typically, internet backup service providers will allocate a small amount of free storage space to allow testing their platform. If the computer user likes the service and requires additional storage space, it can be purchased.

Outsourcing

As mentioned previously, self-servicing, especially within environments where data preservation is critical, should be done under the advisement of professionals who understand the twists and turns of backing up computer data. However, self-servicing can be extremely burdensome to companies because of the fact that running businesses is stressful enough without having to deal with the technical side of the computer equipment being used. The priority of a business is ideally production — whereby time is not wasted troubleshooting and dealing with the caveats that can come with backing up computer files and data. IT professionals know exactly how to set up and maintain computer backup programs and services, and properly store the data where it cannot be lost, damaged, or stolen. It’s generally recommended for businesses with a high emphasis on production to obtain the consistent services of professionals who thoroughly understand computer backup systems.

SystemsNet specializes in a wide variety of computer technologies and with many years of experience. Please contact us.

Is Your Backup Disaster Recover Plan Ready for the Worst?

Woman in a server room on phone preparing a backup disaster recovery plan

Today’s security breaches enforce the need for secure reliable backup strategies

In the modern world of cybercrime and digital business, the state of your company’s computers and servers is of vital importance. Should anything happen to your important files or critical servers, you would need to have them recovered and back online as quickly as possible. This is the purpose of a backup disaster recovery (BDR) plan. When something goes wrong, you need a backup to recover from the disaster.

However, not all BDR plans are made equally. Some are prepared only to recover specifically important files, some only backup the website and not the company files. Some are prepared to restore the systems of one department but not another. Each company and it’s IT team are responsible for ensuring that a recovery plan is in place for every possible eventuality. Because what you don’t plan for is always the most likely to be what trips you up.

Most businesses need not just one BDR plan, but may. In order to have a recovery method no matter what type of technical troubles or security breach cause a data disaster. So along these lines,  ask yourself:

Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan Prepared For….

Restoring Key Files and Databases Individually?

All too often, company data disasters don’t involve reinstalling the entire system, but rather restoring one or two pieces of critical data. A software update may corrupt only the files that software interacted with, or only those that were open during the update. A human error might delete or save over a critical customer file, or a database might be lost when a server malfunctions.

Is your disaster recovery plan prepared to restore just one or two pieces of data from the entire backup? With the ability to do this, you can spot-recover key files and databases without losing time to restoring an entire data system or server.

Restoring an Entire Workstation to Work-Readiness?

Malware and failed updates often only affect the computer where the problem occurred. Malware on a workstation is often best solved with a factory reset and reinstallation of the operating system and some unfortunate software updates may lead to similar solutions. And restoring a single workstation is one of the coolest things backup recovery is capable of doing, if set up correctly.

Consider every workstation configuration in your company. Each workstation is made up of an operating system, security settings, and installed software to make it work-ready for an employee. Is your disaster recovery plan ready to restore a new or reset computer fully to work-readiness for workstations in each department? It can be.

Restoring Your Entire Network from a Factory Reset?

Some malware, however, specializes in attacking the entire company network accessed from the first infected workstation. Ransomware is notorious for this tactic though it is not alone in using it. When this type of attack happens, often the best defense for a company is to completely reset the network so that no malware can lurk upon it, then rebuilt it from the ground up using a backup recovery method.

Is your BDR plan prepared to restore the entire network infrastructure with all the finicky little settings and security measures your admins have spent months or years perfecting? Working with recovery experts, even this is possible and can allow you to thumb your nose at even the most vicious hacking attacks by restoring quickly without much impact on the company’s workflow.

Backup disaster recovery is not just a way to ‘make saves’ and then restore them when something goes wrong. They are delicate, detailed plans that involve careful setup, curation, and implementation. But if done correctly, you gain an incredibly flexible and robust defense against even those hacks that can fully take out a computer or your entire business network. Contact us today to find out more about how your BDR plan could be improved to cover more bases and provide a greater flexibility of recovery options.

A Practical Approach to Disaster Recovery

DRP Disaster Recovery Plan written in a notebook

Disaster Recovery is a serious matter and will save your business when an event occurs.

Many computer users tend to resolve issues and glitches as they come. That works fine for some people and circumstances but for the more productivity-oriented environments such as businesses, there needs to be a plan to resolve issues as soon as they come. Otherwise, monetary loss looms. Businesses that heavily rely on computers should outsource the repair and maintenance of them to professionals — especially data preservation and restoration in the events of breakdowns. Disaster recovery typically involves restoring backed up data, but it also encompasses quick restoration of devices with the correct configuration so that business continuity is good with as little interruption as possible. Generally, the more time a computer or computer network is out of order, the more money that will be lost — as the old adage goes, “Time is money!” Some business managers and owners have a tendency to attempt to save money by outsourcing as little as possible to professionals. This can be an extremely stressful situation — businesses alone have caveats that can cause excessive stress, but to attempt to manage the repair, maintenance, and data backup on top of that can completely usurp the joy out of owning or operating a business, as well as risk unintentional damage to computer systems — unintentional damage can be caused by attempting repairs without sufficient knowledge — and that of consequences of the outcome. Disaster recovery in highly productive environments should be left to professionals and below there are a few points to keep in mind when starting or running a business that relies heavily on one or more computers.

Starting Up

Whether the business has been booming for a while or things are just getting started, keeping the office computer-repertoire as simple as possible is a cornerstone. Seeking purchasing decisions from well-informed IT professionals is recommended and will generally turn out based on the needs of the business. Purchasing appropriate hardware will make it easier to mitigate times of disaster such as when computers are stolen, fires break out, vandalism occurs, or computers breakdown. If a business has been going for a while, downgrading certain types of products could help disaster mitigation as well as save money, but these types of decisions should also be backed by educated personnel.

Smart Hiring Decisions

A search for quality professionals can be started on the internet. Criteria to measure the quality of a service provider might include the number of years in business, whether professionals are certified, reviews, and affordability. Quality criteria are not limited to what’s listed here, but they’re a good place to start. Disaster recovery is a critical type of service that should not be downplayed whereby cheap and easy service is retained by the business in need of it. Professional services that are cheap and relatively easy to retain might be better suited for quick-fixes, but not for disaster recovery — it’s a branch of IT that needs to be properly planned and not applied only when something bad happens — without a sound recovery plan, a business will eventually be “dead in the water.”

Testing It Out

Once a disaster recovery plan has been implemented, it should be monitored closely to see what should go and what should stay. Working closely with a disaster recovery service is key while carrying out day-to-day operations — anything unusual or not functioning as intended should be reported as soon as possible unless it’s monitored remotely by the disaster recovery service. With knowledgeable IT professionals working behind the scene, the prognosis of disaster is good.

SystemsNet is a multifaceted IT service provider with years of experience and expertise on staff qualified to carry out disaster recovery. Please contact us.