Just as diamonds and gold are precious resources, data is an extremely valuable resource in this digital world and must be protected! Businesses of all sizes rely on keeping data (such as customer data, client files, private assets, important documents, and other records) stored in a safe place. Is your data backed up, in the incident of needing recovery?
You may be wondering, “What does my SMB need to protect our data from?” Threats to data or data disasters may include natural disasters, accidental or malicious file deletion, corruption, hardware failure, ransomware attacks, and other types of data loss. There are threats coming at businesses from every angle, and it’s vital to be proactive in protecting your data by keeping it located in a secure place, backing up regularly, and having a disaster recovery plan in place.
Hosting Tribunal shares some hard truths: “Our lives heavily rely on technology and a data disaster can have serious financial consequences. Still, 75% of small businesses are not prepared with a recovery plan. We know that “disaster” sounds like a natural phenomenon that doesn’t happen often, but man-made disasters happen all the time. In fact, backup statistics show that hardware failures are causing 45% of total downtime. Even if you have a backup solution ready, are you sure the software will be able to restore all your data? Statistics show that 60% of data backups are incomplete and 50% of restores are unsuccessful.”
Is your SMB part of the 75% that are without a data recovery plan? If so, it’s time to seek the best data backup and recovery best practices from your trusted managed service provider (MSPs) at Computers Nationwide!
How should we backup our data? Is it protected in the cloud? What does a disaster recovery plan entail?
Get answers to all of your data questions from our partners below…
1. Develop and Maintain Your Disaster Recovery Plan: The only way you can be certain you can recover following any disaster is to plan ahead. We’ve put together an IT disaster recovery planning checklist for you in a recent post. That process includes defining your recovery objectives, determining how you will recover based on those objectives, then testing your plan so you know it is failsafe. And keep your recovery plan up to date. If you do suffer a data loss, you need to identify the cause, the extent of the impact, and how well you responded. Use those critical learnings to update your plan so you can respond even more effectively in the future.
2. Make Sure Your Data Is Always Backed Up: If your data is compromised and you don’t have it backed up correctly, you’re sunk. Avoiding that starts with solid backup practices. Our new take on the traditional 3-2-1 backup rule is a good place to start. In a nutshell, we recommend that you keep at least three copies of your data, with at least two in separate locations. And we highly recommend that a third copy, the “1” in 3-2-1, should be stored in the cloud. Cloud backups can also help make disaster recovery a snap, especially if you choose to bring on a disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) provider.
3. Test Your Backups: Planning is important. Backups are important. But none of those will be of any help if you can’t recover your data when disaster strikes. That’s why it’s just as important to test your backups. Can you recover all of your data? Where are the glitches? What needs to change so you can be sure of recovery? Testing is another area where DRaaS can make a dramatic difference for your business. Cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solutions like StorageCraft Cloud Services not only let you run your network in the cloud in the case of a disaster—just as you’d run it onsite—they also let you orchestrate your site-wide failover processes and then test them with one push of a button.
The 3-2-1 Rule was first concepted by U.S. photographer Peter Krogh. This was a rather important innovation for the photography world and has deep implications into other technology disciplines and stays timeless to this day.
“While my focus has been primarily on digital media, the 3-2-1 principles are pretty universal. In fact, the “rule” itself was simply a synopsis of the practices that I found among IT professionals, as I was writing my first book. I just gave it a catchy name. Over nearly 20 years, 3-2-1 has been a great tool to evaluate data risk exposure. It started in an era of 30GB hard drives and CD backups and has scaled nicely to a world of 18TB drives and ubiquitous cloud storage. With so much of our life and livelihood stored in digital form, and with the threats of malware increasing, it’s important for everyone to have a framework for assessing vulnerabilities.” Peter Krogh
The 3-2-1 Rule states the following:
- There should be 3 copies of data
- On 2 different media
- With 1 copy being off site
With this base rule outline, now we can upgrade it to work with modern critical data. However, let’s not forget the base rule’s best attributes:
- It does not have any specific technology or hardware requirement
- It can address nearly any failure scenario
Using the 3-2-1 Rule with Veeam
- Production data (Copy 1, media 1)
- Backup data on a Veeam repository (Copy 2, media 2)
- Disaster recovery off site (Copy 3, media 3)
This has 3 different media, so it actually exceeds the criteria. Some people don’t like to include the production data as a copy in the 3-2-1 Rule, and it’s worth bringing that up. This means of the 2 other copies, the different media is a must-have and the versatility to restore needs to be considered.
So many ways to achieve the 3-2-1 Rule
Veeam can dial up so many combinations of the 3-2-1 Rule. This is very versatile nowadays and each of the following implementations would count towards a 3-2-1 Rule configuration:
- Backups on disk (DAS, SAN, NAS and appliances)
- Backups on tape
- Backups on removable storage
- Storage snapshots (caution on separate media from production)
- Backups in object storage such as in the public cloud with the Scale-out Backup Repository’s capacity tier
- Backups in cold archive storage in the public cloud with the Scale-out Backup Repository’s archive tier
- Backups hosted or managed by a service provider, including Veeam Cloud Connect
- Replication to another host or site with Veeam replication
- Backup copy jobs to another storage location
Backup is the process of creating a copy of data to protect against accidental or malicious deletion, corruption, hardware failure, ransomware attacks, and other types of data loss. Data backups can be created locally, offsite, or both. An offsite data backup is a key part of any business continuity/disaster recovery plan.
Restore is the process of retrieving data from a backup. This might mean copying data from backup media to an existing device or to a new device. It also could mean copying data from the cloud to a local device, or from one cloud to another. Recovery refers to the process of restoring data and operations (e.g., returning a server to normal working order following hardware failure). Products aimed at rapid recovery of data and operations are typically referred to as business continuity and disaster recovery, or BCDR, solutions.
Restore and recovery times can vary widely depending on the backup format and data recovery methods you choose. Additionally, restore needs also vary (e.g., restoring a single file vs. an entire server). Finally, critical data may live on workstations, local servers, and in the cloud. These are important considerations when selecting a backup and recovery solution.
Types of data backup
Traditional tape or disk backup: Tape backup has been around in some form or another since the 1960s. Tape is still commonly used today for large enterprise system backup, archiving, and even for long-term cloud storage. The primary benefits of tape are massive capacity, low cost, and offsite data backup. Traditional disk backup solutions have the ability to offload data to tape or the cloud for disaster recovery and/or archiving. However, restoring a large amount of data (say, the contents of an entire server) from offsite tape or cloud is slow. Using traditional backup methods, recovery can take hours or even days. During this time, business operations are seriously compromised, which of course results in damaging revenue loss.
Direct-to-cloud backup, cloud-to-cloud backup, and SaaS backup: With direct-to-cloud, offsite file backups are copied directly to the cloud, bypassing the need for a local device. Cloud-to-cloud backup is the process of copying data from one cloud to another cloud. SaaS backup refers to backing up data created in SaaS applications such as Microsoft 365 or Google G Suite. Many organizations believe that because SaaS data exists in the cloud, there is no longer a need for backup. This however, is not true. Data created in SaaS applications is just as vulnerable to accidental or malicious deletion and ransomware attacks as on-premises data. Backup and recovery in cloud computing is still evolving and will continue to develop as more businesses migrate workloads into the cloud.
Business continuity/disaster recovery (BCDR): BCDR solutions are designed to enable fast restores that minimize business downtime. To do so, these solutions use snapshot and virtualization technologies to create and store bootable virtual server images on a backup device or in the cloud. In the event of a primary server failure or other outage, business operations are “failed over” to the backup device or cloud while the primary server is being restored, repaired, or replaced. Once the primary server is back up and running, operations are “failed back” to the primary device. BCDR recovery times are typically measured in minutes rather than the hours or even days required of traditional backup tools. BCDR solutions have become popular with businesses of all sizes, but are probably most beneficial for small to medium businesses (SMBs).
Types Of Data Recovery: Not all data loss scenarios are the same, so it is important to choose a backup solution that addresses a wide range of restore and recovery needs and reduces data recovery steps. As an example, let’s look at some of the data recovery methods available to Datto SIRIS users:
- File restore
- Volume restore
- Bare metal restore
- Local virtualization
- Cloud virtualization