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10 Critical "Must Haves" for Business Data Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

A data breach or loss of information can be devastating to any company, but at a small business it could mean the difference between opening up for business the next day, or shutting down for a week or more. Here, we offer 10 suggestions on how to move your business from wishing you had reliable backup, to having a tried and true data disaster recovery system in place.

Disaster Recovery and Cloud - When considering the most important business functions of your company, Information Technology (IT) often lags behind sales and customer service – and I admit, rightfully so. This is especially true for small-midsize businesses (SMBs). Even if you have internal IT Support Staff, you the business owner is likely paying more attention to productivity and administrative functions than to the Data Disaster Recovery System.

Businesses, both large and small hold critical data that must be protected. To prevent the loss of the most vital information, here’s a list of 10 critical considerations that small business can deploy to properly safeguard their data and avoid a data disaster with a Data Disaster Recovery System.

1. Disaster-Proof Your Data with a local Backup And Disaster Recovery System and cloud based Backups

The past couple of years have shown us that natural disasters – hurricanes, winter storms, floods and power outages – can wreak havoc on businesses if data is not properly secured. So what is the best way to protect data from the elements? Backing up to a local Data Disaster Recovery System AND remote, off-site data center.

2. Determine Your Data Loss Tolerance Level

In aggregate small business face millions of dollars in data loss each year. That much data loss can cripple some companies, especially small to medium sized ones. While some data loss is inevitable, determining the amount and what types of data you can lose without major consequences is key. It’s important to seriously consider a solution that automates backups according to your business’ schedule. Keep in mind that not all data is equal in value. See this post for more details on a Data Loss Prevention Strategy that takes the value of your data into consideration.

3. Make Sure Your Data Is Recoverable

When it comes to data, SMBs manage a lot of important information that needs to be properly protected and recoverable 24/7—just like Google and Apple. But with limited resources and small IT Support budgets, they often take a simplified approach to Backup And Disaster Recovery, which can lead to data recovery disasters when for example trying to recover from unverified media.

For example, a tape Data Disaster Recovery System often entails periodic full backups and more frequent incremental backups. With a weekly full backup, the data you need to recover might be on the last backup tape. To access it, you’d need to restore the last full backup and then each of the incremental backups until you have found the data in question. If any of those incremental backups failed, your data is gone.

Avoid all of this by making sure your backup approach and Data Disaster Recovery System that is failsafe and reliable.

4. Determine How Long is Too Long Without Your Data

The next step is to determine how long you can operate without accessing lost data. Most small business tell us that 24 to 48 hours is a good time frame. Your business might be different though.

Begin by sorting your data into three categories: 1) data you can live without; 2) data you need within 25 to 48 hours; 3) data you need within 24 hours. That will help organize and prioritize your data in the event of critical data loss.

5. Ensure Your Backups are Secure and Compliant

SAS 70, SOX, GLBA, HIPPA: To comply with these regulations, seek end-to-end encryption and certified data centers. Look for a solution that encrypts data during transmission and storage and one who moves backups to an offsite data center that’s SAS 70 certified. Make sure your data backup and disaster recovery vendor conforms to industry-specific requirements with their Data Disaster Recovery Systems.

6. Make Sure Applications Can be Backed Up in Real-Time

That seems like a no-brainer but it’s often overlooked. Every vendor can back up all the standard files and databases SMBs use, but can they do so when those files are open? Most likely, the data you’ll want backed up will be in use when backups occur, and if your systems and applications don’t support this function, your data won’t be safeguarded.

Additionally, applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Hyper-V images and VMware require specialized support, so be sure your Data Disaster Recovery System solution can support Microsoft Windows and other operating systems.

7. Protect Mobile Devices

A recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that of the 116 surveyed organizations, 62 percent of lost or stolen mobile devices contained sensitive data. Only 49 percent of respondents require employees’ mobile devices to be protected and a mere 39 percent said their organization has the necessary security controls to mitigate risk posed by insecure mobile devices.

That’s a lot of unprotected data on a lot of mobile devices, which puts an organization at great risk in the event of a disaster (or if that laptop, smartphone or tablet is lost or stolen). The Data Disaster Recovery System solution should secure on-site data as well as the information of employees who are using mobile devices on the go.

8. Identify Which Data Disaster Recovery System Technology is Best

Hurricane-Sandy-Disaster-RecoveryBackup to CDs, DVDs, local hard drives and tapes were once the industry standard, but that is no longer valid. None of those technologies truly protect your data against a major disaster, as your data won’t be far enough offsite to withstand a massive hurricane such as Irene and Sandy or the October Nor’easter which shut down Connecticut for a week. Today, online and disk-to-disk Backup And Disaster Recovery are the technologies of choice due to their flexibility and reliability.

9. Pick a Good Vendor for your Data Disaster Recovery System Implementation

Modern disaster recovery and business continuity solutions provide true disaster recovery and business continuity, eliminating downtime. When your servers go down, an appliance can have you up and running in seconds with Instant Virtualization. This type of product was specifically engineered to provide small businesses with cost-effective business continuity and disaster recovery. It was designed with ease of use in mind (it can be setup and backing up machines in under 10 minutes) and is competitively priced.

10. Go beyond cloud backup with a Disaster Recovery Appliance (BDR)

Any failed system should be virtulizeable instantly off-site in a secure cloud located on both the East and West Coast. All data stored on the local device is replicated to data centers.

Features such as message level recovery, screen shot verification of backups, and instant off-site virtualization make it easy to recover everything from a single message or document to entire mailboxes or folders. Incremental backups occur on the device as frequently as every 1 minute and are continuously sent off-site, ensuring your backup remains up-to-date. The goal is to combine ease of management with an advanced feature set to give you the most robust Data Disaster Recovery System solution.

Protect your Data – Ensure Business Continuity with a Data Disaster Recovery System

Data loss can cost more than just the loss of information for your Business. So take the steps to ensure that business continuity is never in question with a reliable, state of the art Data Disaster Recovery System and Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning.

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About the Author

Johannes Banck, Computer Systems Support & Design, LLC
Weston, CT 06883
(203) 216-9902

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