Data Safety: Backup Plan, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity : 3 part series: Business Continuity part 3

Business Continuity:

Business Continuity is being able to run your business with minimal interruption even during computer outages. Backups are a component of Business Continuity but only at a very low level. If you are backing up your data once per day you could lose up to 2 days of business should you experience a data catastrophe. One day for the time since your last backup and another day to recover previous backup files and to reconstruct the data lost between backups. You have to evaluate and determine what your acceptable down time is. If it is 2 days, then normal daily backups are your backup plan. The less tolerant your business is to down time, the higher your level of Business Continuity and cost will be. For instance; if you are a retailer and it will cost you $30,000 per day to be down then 2 days downtime may be to harmful. A quicker uptime plan may need to be devised with instant replication to a second source or site. Don’t confuse backups with Disaster Recovery. Backups are different because a business may be able to tolerate different downtimes during a true disaster vs a server failure. If the city is reeling from a hurricane, customers will understand your doors are closed for a few days. Your Business Continuity Plan may have low tolerance for downtime during normal circumstances verses a high tolerance for downtime for major disasters. In this “can’t be down for more than a few hours” scenario, a more robust plan will need to be in place with redundancies and instant recoveries. The quicker your defined recovery time, the more expensive your disaster recovery solution will be.

Knowing your tolerance for data loss and down time is the first step in designing your data safety strategy. However, it all starts with simple backups.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Define downtime tolerance for a physical disaster as well as a technical event
  • Have a contact list of all technical vendors and support staff
  • Make sure that you have gone over your continuity plan with your IT support staff and that they have geared your network toward this plan and recovery time
  • List what steps to do if the following happens:
    • physical destruction to server - local
    • physical destruction to server – regional
    • technical loss or down server
    • virus or malware attack
  • Make sure you run a yearly check on your continuity plan to make sure it is up to date and working.
  • Consider a virtual server framework

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