Everybody knows that horrible feeling when you are working on a document or file and you accidentally close it instead of saving it. The panic immediately sets in as you try to reopen the program to see if it might have been saved, if a draft is still available, etc. It is indeed a horrible feeling when a few hours of work is lost, but what happens when all of the work, data, and critical files for your entire company are lost. Unfortunately, this scenario is one that too many small to midsize businesses don’t think about until a disaster strikes their network, datacenter, or servers. The feeling of dread that comes over an individual when they lose or have lost a few hours of work pales in comparison to seeing every employee in an organization stand up at their desks and start talking amongst themselves, when nobody is able to access the files they need to continue in their roles.
We have seen the above-mentioned scenario play out way too many times, and the worst part is that permanent data loss is completely preventable as long as a few simple steps are taken. In this article, we will be taking a look at how a simple disaster recovery protocol can help protect your business from potentially going out of business in the case of a catastrophic system failure, breach, or hack. We will start by answering some questions we get asked in client engagement meetings all the time.
What causes catastrophic data loss in most small to midsize businesses?
Some of the most common scenarios are system failure where a server simply fails, a hack or intrusion such as malware or ransomware, the accidental deletion or corruption of data by internal staff members, and physical damage to the servers or the entire network. While these are the most common causes of catastrophic data loss, we also see unique scenarios that would be nearly impossible to prevent, which is why having a disaster recovery protocol in place is so important. We have seen server rooms catch fire, flood, or be destroyed due to faulty server room construction. It is nearly impossible to name every scenario that can cause catastrophic data loss, but it is easy to name the solution. That solution is having a disaster recovery plan and protocol in place.
How does a disaster recovery system/protocol get a business back up and running after a worst case scenario occurs?
When a business experiences a data loss event, the entire goal of a disaster recovery system is to get the business back up and running as if nothing had happened as quickly as possible. This goal is accomplished by harnessing a few different technologies and backup techniques. In many cases, our clients are able to login to a remote server which houses a redundant set of files that can allow their team to remotely access the files that they had on the primary server that failed. By having a remote backup most businesses can resume operations without sending their staff home while new physical servers are being replicated. When a business calculates the cost per hour of each employee that would have to cease work during a data loss even, times the length of time it would take to replicate the servers and restore backups (if they even existed), the loss can be substantial. Allowing workers to access the files they lost remotely makes it possible for businesses to minimize the negative financial impact of a data loss event.
If a remote backup was utilized prior to the data loss event workers are now able to get back to work, clients can be helped, and business can resume. While the business is running remotely, our team at ABSS Networks can either repair or replace the hardware that failed. Once the repair or replacement takes place, we can restore on-site, off-site, or cloud-based backups to the new hardware to fully restore centralized business operations for our clients. The above-mentioned scenario applies to just one of the many protocols and systems that can be employed to ensure a data loss event does not turn into a business loss event.
It is important to note that what happens after a data loss event occurs depends on the backup systems in place. The scenario we just discussed assumes that off-site backups and could-based backups were utilized; however there are also redundant on-site backups and systems that can be used to reduce the number of steps needed to rebuild hardware on-site in the event of a catastrophic failure. Each business is different, and their backup and disaster recovery solutions will reflect that.
What are the most important things to know about a disaster recovery system and protocol before making a decision?
There are so many important factors to take into consideration when selecting a disaster recovery plan and company that it could be an article all on its own (keep an eye on our website, we just may do a dedicated post). With that being said here are the most critical questions that should always be answered before selecting a company to help with your disaster recovery plan and systems.
- What is the average TTR (Time To Recovery) with the system being recommended?
TTR (Time To Recovery) is a critical component of any disaster recovery plan. This metric should give you a sense of how long you may be without your critical data between the data loss event and regaining complete access to your mission-critical data. If the time to recovery is longer than your business, customers, and clients can easily manage it is best to look for another provider or disaster recovery product.
- How secure are my on-site, off-site, and remote backups?
Most people think very carefully about how secure their on-site data is but rarely give any real thought to how secure their backups are. We’ve all heard the adage “out of sight, out of mind,” in our experience this is never truer than with data backups. The problem is that if you are a business that is taking significant measures to keep company and client data safe at your location but it is being backed up in a way that is not secure, all of your on-site diligence is wasted.
- Is my disaster recovery provider SOC-2 Type-2 Accredited?
This is a critical question that will allow you to see how far your potential disaster recovery provider has gone to ensure that they are meeting or exceeding industry expectations for data storage, security, and backup protocols created to protect businesses from imploding due to data loss or mishandling. SOC-2 accreditation is only provided to service providers who can prove competency by passing third-party testing and scrutiny. Without a SOC-2 certification, you would merely be taking the word of your potential provider on their competency and protocol in protecting one of your business’s most critical assets.
We hope this article has been helpful and as always if you have any questions related to data recovery for your business, please feel free to contact our knowledgeable staff anytime.