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Why Systems Backups Are Not Enough.

Disaster Recovery planning is a lot like buying health insurance…you know you need it, but you’re not sure if you’ll actually use it, and when you’re healthy, it seems a bit extravagant. But just like health insurance, disaster recovery planning isn’t something you should think about only after the fact…when it’s too late. Set assurances now for the future so that if, or when, the times comes, the health of your business is protected.

Having your data backed up ensures that you have saved copies of important, mission-critical information, in case of an emergency where an outage, natural disaster or cyberattack occurs. And while it’s an essential part of your overall disaster recovery plan, it’s not enough by itself. Not by a long shot.

Here are some key tips and controls that you should consider putting into practice:

  • Inventory all of your mission-critical data assets to be backed up
    Make sure you inventory and document your hardware assets, software, license keys and systems crucial to your recovery effort.
  • Determine RPO and RTO goals
    Your recovery point objective and recovery time objective are critical in identifying how much data you can afford to lose and still have your business running and how fast you need your systems back online. RPO and RTO goals are different for every business which means they are specific to your organization and will need input from your leadership team to determine those objectives.
  • Ensure regular, automated backups are performed, based on business requirements
    What good are backups if they’re not reflective of your current systems and networks? Out of date backups mean you’re not where you need to be as an organization and a restoration process may be worthless if critical data is lost. For every update or new technology introduced, you should also be backing up.

  • Perform complete system backups, including “snapshots” to enable quick recovery
    Snapshots are only a point-in-time copy and only record data at the time it’s being taken. Schedule regular snapshots as an efficient way to thoroughly back up and replicate your existing data in between regular full backups.
  • Test data on backup media by performing regular data restoration processes
    Walk through your DR scenario(s) as if they are occurring in real-time to ensure that your backups are working properly. Perform a technology gap analysis after to gauge your recovery performance.
  • Protect backups through physical security and encryption
    Data backups vary from one organization to the next. If you are backing up to removable media, consider physically restricting access with a certificate-based encryption to ensure that even if the data is stolen, it is unusable.

In an emergency situation, you want your plan executed by your key operations personnel—who need to know who is responsible for performing which actions to get your organization running again. This should include an expert team who will actually restore your systems and a team who will test the restoration was successful. To keep things moving smoothly, appoint a recovery coordinator who will oversee the entire disaster recovery plan as it is set in motion.

Don’t forget, once you’ve established your team and architected a plan, you still need to test it. And when you’ve tested it…test it again and frequently. Need help with the next steps in designing a complete disaster recovery plan? We can help. Learn more about our customized Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning solutions today.