You’re backing up your business’s data – but are you doing it the right way?
In this edition of CXO Tactical Advisor, we’ll explain why you shouldn’t be backing up just for the sake of backing up. You need to have a data backup strategy that aligns with your practical business requirements, and you to need to plan and execute it with diligence and exactness.
James Elliott here, your Tactical CXO Advisor, with another in our practical series of [tips for] strategic IT deployments for your organization.
Wanted to start with a quick question: do you do backups? And the answer a lot of people give, yes, we have backups, but the real question is: do you have backups that work for your business?
And so today we’re going to be talking about a couple of real simple points:
- Practical business requirements
- The types of backups
- And, most important, restoration
Practical Business Requirements
First when we talk about practical business requirements, we don’t want to back up just for the sake of backing up, we want to back up and have meaningful backups that we can use for business.
A couple of examples of those is: one, we don’t want to lose time for our employees re-entering data, so we want to make sure that we have backups that cover day to day work.
We also want to have backups that cover potential loss where we have people at work but they can’t do their work because the system is down.
We also want to have what we call incremental backups and that’s going to deal with things like financial closings, operational closings for your ERP system.
Another consideration might be disaster recovery. So you want to have your data in a location where you can recover should something like an earthquake happen here in California. We definitely have a provision for that.
Just sit down and think about what realistically you can think of that you would need a backup for.
Types of Data Backups
So now move to types. We’re going to talk specifically about each one of the types that goes with those topics.
First type of backup: realtime backup. So realtime backup is where the data is as close to real time is backed up on a drive or a mirrored system.
That data is basically available for retrieval in, say, 15 minutes time. So take the system down, you would transfer over and bring it back up.
The next type we have is periodic. So that would be end of day, end of month. But it basically allows you to go back and select a period of time where you can go and restore the data and know exactly what data to put in subsequent to that.
And the last type is what we call geolocation data. And that’s the data that’s located in a different geographic region, usually different for kind of risk. So earthquake-type data in LA you would maybe back up in Dallas, be worried about tornadoes say in Oklahoma. You may want to have your data located on the eastern seaboard.
Data Recovery: Real-Time Backups
So moving down into our most important point, and that’s the restoration of data or what we call restore, very important.
The restoration of data is both planned for and tested. We want to make sure that you understand that restoring John Doe’s data because he lost a file last week is not what we consider a test of restoring data.
We want to actually write out scripts for each type of the data loss so that both the technical team and the employees on the floor know exactly how to resolve their work and get back to where they were prior to the event that occurred.
So have a script where we actually will pull the plug on the system and then we’ll want to restore over to the other data. And so we’re going to is basically simulate a drive failure for example on the primary database.
We’ll move over, switch everything over to the new system, and then we’ll bring it back up and then we’ll have users actually test their data.
So we’ll say, okay, we know at 1:10 in the afternoon, the system went down and we’re going to test our last entries and make sure that we capture exactly where we left off.
Data Recovery: Periodic & Geolocation Backups
Next we want to actually practice a periodic restore. So the same thing, at this point we’ll say we need to restore to last night’s data because we had a Bitlocker virus.
So we’re going to restore the system. Bring all the data backup online. Then we’re going to instruct our employees to gather all the information and work that they did so that we can reenter, basically recreate the day or part of the day or whatever the important part is.
And then the last is usually because of some sort of natural disaster, but it could also be an Internet outage or something like that. We want to test our geographical backup.
The most common way that geographic backups work these days is that we use a remote access solution where people that were in the building, say in LA, they had an earthquake.
They’ll be able to work on the system in Dallas, but there’ll be doing it from their home until we can restore business operations in LA. So it’s important that when we do that simulation, we make sure that we have already built a complete script.
We’re going to need to find a server. We’re going to need to turn on remote access, make sure that our Internet connection’s all up, test all that stuff, make sure that we’re ready for operation, and then turn it over to the remote users. You’ll want to test that process beginning to end.
Hope today’s information helps. Remember to reach out to your IT department and ask a couple of these questions and see what kind of answers you get back. Make sure that you include your questions down in the comments below, and I will get back to you directly. And of course we’d like you to like and subscribe to our future shows. We’ll see you next time.