Tag Archives: #DataBackup

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.

4 Situations Where You Want a Robust Backup Recovery Plan

Backup Recovery Plan on a laptop screen in office

Disaster recovery plans cover you for disaster situations and also simple file recovery

Businesses often underestimate just how important a backup recovery plan really is. Backup recovery plans are put together as an afterthought, a ‘just in case’ like wearing your helmet to bicycle up and down your home street. But believe it or not, there are actually tons of different situations where a great backup plan is important, useful, or even necessary to keep your business on it’s feet. In fact, you’ll probably wind up using our backups more frequently than your top-of-the-line virus detection software.

Because like that bicycle helmet, a good recovery plan can be the difference between business life and death when a disaster finally does come along. And you’ll be glad you were prepared. Let’s take a quick look at four different business circumstances where a backup recovery plan is vital. Circumstances that are surprisingly common in the wide business world.

1) A Software Update Fails and Corrupts All Your Data

Most of our software today updates automatically. We have it set up (or it sets itself up) to periodically check for updates, download them, and sell-install them in the dead of night when no one is using your computer work resources. This happens all the time and is something we’ve come to rely on. But not all updates work correctly. A single piece of misaligned data that was damaged in the download can wreck the entire update.

And worse, updating currently active business software means that one corrupted auto-update can put your entire business worth of stored internal data at risk. An automatic update can fail and corrupt some or every scrap of data stored inside the original un-updated version. With a comprehensive backup recovery plan, however, you can easily restore all your data and software from the version before the update, then manually handle the update a second time to make sure nothing goes wrong.

2) An Employee Mistake Accidentally Deletes an Entire Database

Employee mistakes happen. And sometimes, they are enormous business-ruining mistakes no matter how genuinely sorry the employee is or how understandable the mistake might be. It is possible in some businesses for a mis-click or accidental keypress can delete reams of priceless business or customer data. Usually by clearing a database table or column without realizing that they have done so.

In this situation, you don’t want to have to lay the entire disaster at one employee’s feet. Instead, with a backup and recovery plan, it should be simple to rescue your company by restoring the lost data. From there, you can manage employee discipline with a calm and even approach that is appropriate to the mistake, not the potential averted consequences.

3) Your Entire Company Network is Ransomware’d

Then, of course, there’s the ransomware and other network-wide malware attacks that freeze you out of your own system. Because you can’t trust hackers to respond honorably to a pay-off, it’s important to assume that any computer compromised by ransomware or similar is probably ‘dead’. In other words, it needs to be wiped to factory settings to eradicate the malware and then restored to a functional business state through backup recovery.

If you have backups of your workstation setup and/or your entire network, this is the time to bust them out. Wipe everything that could be infected and rebuild our on-site computer system back from the ground up. The better your backups and implementation are, the more completely and quickly you can recover from a widespread malware attack.

4) A Flash-Flood Drowns Your Office, Including Local Archives

Natural disasters are another unexpected way that your data could be threatened. Even with all the cloud services, most businesses have at least a few locally stored physical archives on local servers, disks, or drives. Some businesses have their computer systems still almost entirely on-site. But this puts ‘all your eggs in one basket’ in terms of physical risk to your office building.

As the last few years have proven, you can’t do much to predict when extreme weather is about to ravage your part of the country. And if your office is hit with flash floods, earthquakes or something as simple as a neighborhood fire, all your local files and computers could be destroyed. But with a robust set of cloud-stored backups, you can not only recover those local archives. You may be able to rebuild from scratch using your backups of the previous network and work stations.

Having a well-built and comprehensive backup structure and recovery plan is vital to business continuity and disaster recovery.  For more information about building the best backup recovery plan for your business, contact us today!

5 Ways Preparing for a System Failure Should Be Part of Day-to-Day Operations

Preparing for a System Failure as a Part of Day-to-Day Operations

Being prepared for a disaster should be  standard operating procedure

System failures can take everything. But if you plan ahead, you’ll have the infrastructure to set everything back in place. Instead of just relying on a disaster recovery plan and intermittent maintenance, build these five practices into your business’s usual operations.

1. Back up your actively changing data multiple times throughout the day.

System failures strike at the worst possible time. That includes in the middle of the day and right after your peak selling hour. If your systems don’t back up data frequently throughout the day, you may lose completed orders and sales without any way to notice the loss. This includes both online sales with customers anticipating deliveries or service and in-store transactions that won’t be totaled up into your third-party service until the end of the day.

Automate restore points that capture the frequently used programs or the systems that handle day-to-day operations. You’ll capture the vast majority of what you need without filling up your cloud in a week.

2. Save deeper system restore points regularly and don’t delete them.

But just capturing the active data entries every hour or every quarter of an hour isn’t everything you need to keep your business safe. Also schedule deeper data recovery downloads that capture everything. These larger restore points can be scheduled less frequently depending on the size or urgency of your business. Also be sure to set the schedule for low-activity points so your network isn’t overloaded.

These deeper packets of data are important because a system failure can wipe out everything. Having the day’s input won’t matter if the entire database is gone. So use these as insurance against complete wipeouts and then filter the transactional changes back in.

Deeper restore points also protect your company from slow-growing threats. Some network errors don’t immediately cause problems. Instead, they corrupt critical data or code behind the scenes. Save these points for as long as possible so you can reach weeks or months back to salvage uncorrupted data.

3. Run disaster recovery drills so everyone knows what to do.

Once you have your data saved and your system restores automated, the biggest problem in the event of a system failure is people. Train your employees so they know what to do once everyone goes down. Also, make sure you have hard copies of your data recovery and business continuity plans so people can find the procedure.

But there’s going to be panic if your company hasn’t gone through this before or if it’s been a long time. So hold drills every so often, and train new employees on what to do

4. Make your monitoring system notice the signs of an incoming system failure.

Usually, a system failure seems to strike out of nowhere. But they have lots of invisible warning signs that your employees just didn’t see. Network outages, old hardware, and more are all signifiers that increase your risk. A buildup of corrupted data or an increasingly unsteady code is noticeable as long as you know where to look.

So strengthen your system by adding monitoring software that can identify potential warning signs. Set threshold points where your IT staff or service knows to deal with the problem while it can still be prevented. Problem prevention can seem less urgent than dealing with customer tickets or a task requested by the executive team, but it can only be ignored for so long.

5. Train everyone to save in the cloud and not on the hardware.

Virtual computer systems have made system failures both better and worse. One of the best benefits of switching to the cloud and virtual machines is that a physically damaged server won’t ruin your business. But that’s only true if the employees actually make use of the virtual tools. Strap the company computers and devices to reduce local storage. If you have to leave local storage in place and your company has a server in the storage room as part of your legal requirements, automate that backup. Also, make sure employees are clear on where to save their documents and projects.

Go to SystemsNet here for more backup procedures and the tools you need to optimize your disaster recovery plan.

The Pros and Cons of Common Backup Storage Options

Backup Storage Options - Backup on laptop screen - cloud

What are some of my backup options?

There has been a great deal said about the importance of having a backup and recovery system in place. And, naturally, the first step to building a great backup recovery system is to take backups of all your important files and configurations. Some backups simply repopulate a vital database with all the right values while others are complex enough to restore a computer from factory-reset to functional workstation.

But however you build them, backups are essentially just compressed files that will need to be stored somewhere until they are needed. Each company has a different storage solution for their backups and the storage option you choose matters more than you may realize. Where you store your backups determines how easy they are to retrieve and whether they are at risk when the network itself is threatened.

Locally Stored Backups

Most of us still remember the days when the only data you controlled was data on your own hard drives and disks. For traditionalist businesses, this may still be the way backups are made and maintained, by creating copies of data stored on another local system.

Pros:

Locally stored backups are completely in your control. You never have to worry about a third party wiping, corrupting, or losing your data because it is on your local systems.

Cons:

Your local network is not as safe as it used to be. Network-wide malware attacks (like ransomware) can compromise your entire computer system including your backups. In fact, anything that threatens your main computers can also threaten your backups. Including physical disasters like power surges and outages, flooding, or earthquakes.

Offline Backup Drives

A safer approach to keeping local backups is to store them on offline drives and disks. This option has never been popular, but there are always a few individuals and businesses that decide their backups are safer offline than online. And they have a point.

Pros:

External hard drives, USBs, and disks can keep your backups securely off any existing network. This is the best way to defend from hackers and malware because there is no network for them to access or damage your backups through.

Cons:

Unfortunately, though safe this approach is also impractical. Given the amount of data most modern businesses need to back up, the cost of external storage and the wear-and-tear rewriting offline storage devices is quite high compared to online storage options. And, of course, offline storage can still be physically damaged.

Remotely Stored Backups

Remote storage is when you store your backups on a computer located somewhere else, much like remote web hosting or file storage. Rather than storing your backups on your own system, you buy server space in a data center or even with a sister company where your backups are occasionally updated and wait to be accessed.

Pros:

Remote storage is a very effective answer to many worries about backup security. Because it is on a separate network, local malware attacks cannot corrupt your backups. And if the files are stored far enough away, local natural disasters are not a concern either.

Cons:

There are a few risks related to remote storage. If the third party storing your backups is compromised, so too are your backups. Likewise, if you store your backups in only one remote location, disasters in that area could wipe out your backups even if your home region is unaffected.

Cloud Stored Backups

Finally, we reach the modern solution to backup storage. Cloud storage is more than just remote storage because of the way the cloud handles data. Rather than storing data in just one remote location, cloud storage replicates your backups across several data centers on the globe.

Pros:

The distributed nature of cloud storage allows you to more quickly access your data from anywhere. No specific network access is required because cloud-stored data can be accessed anywhere with internet access. And the distributed nature of the data means that even if one data center is completely wiped out, your backups will still be available in other data centers and therefore safe.

Cons:

The only downside to cloud storage is the challenge of choosing the correct storage provider. Make sure your chosen cloud server providers have high security standards and a good reputation in the industry for protecting the backups of others.

Backup data security is an important concern for any modern business. The way you store your backups matters a great deal and many careful businesses choose to pair up their backup storage solutions just to make sure there is always a backup available in times of need. For more information about choosing the best backup recovery solutions for your business, contact us today!