Data Backup & Disaster Recovery: Best Practices

Data Backup & Disaster Recovery

Data Backup & Disaster Recovery

Downtime, in particular server downtime is one of the worst things that can happen to your business. And astonishingly, the severity of the consequences can be mitigated. But, if you aren’t prepared with a strong data backup system and disaster recovery plan, it could be catastrophic.

An underprepared business hit by a breach and suffering downtime could be looking at multiple significant losses. This includes not only financial loss, but damage to your customer loyalty, revenue, and productivity. Ultimately, these combined factors could tarnish your credibility as a legitimate organisation. And unfortunately, nobody wants to do business with someone whose services are unavailable for long periods of time.

Typically, you will not be able to prevent a downtime event. However, what you can do is establish an effective data backup and disaster recovery strategy to overcome the issue and help you get back to work swiftly.

So, to give your business a headstart, we’ve put together a few key practices that you can implement:

Draft a checklist

A downtime event is nothing short of chaotic. However, with a detailed checklist, you can regain control and prevent things from spiralling into permanent damage. A checklist is a simple document that allows you to focus on what’s important and directs your attention to those items. When you’re focused, you don’t panic and that will reflect well on your business in times of disaster.

First and foremost, your disaster recovery checklist must determine your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). Your RTO will help you set the timeframe for your business’ recovery to ensure you know when things can be up and running again. As for your RPO, you will consider which data needs backing and what quantity. Together, these factors will help calculate how much loss is tolerable and if your current backup system is efficient.

So, create a checklist and share it with the appropriate people. Make sure your disaster recovery teams are trained to closely follow the checklist. This first step can go a long way in restoring order at a time of confusion and chaos.

Know your threats

There are a range of possible threats which can lead to a downtime event. However, being aware of what these threats are can benefit your business’ disaster recovery plan.

The most common and debilitating threats to business downtime are typically sudden and unforeseen circumstances. These can range anywhere from natural disasters (such as fires or floods) to human error and calculated cyberattacks. Despite the cause of your downtime, all these scenarios will exploit and expose your business’ data backup and disaster recovery plan vulnerabilities.

For example, some of the most destructive threats we’ve seen in the past include Spectre, Meltdown, and Ransomware.

So, it may be beneficial to sit down with your IT staff or IT support provider and discuss how these threats can be identified and responded to.

Train your disaster recovery team

Whether internally or outsourced, make sure you establish a core disaster recovery team. This is key for devising a strong disaster recovery policy and ensuring it is maintained, revised, and implemented across your organisation. Furthermore, a dedicated team will greatly minimise the negative impact of any downtime your business experiences.

Once established, they must be trained on what needs to be done in a downtime event.  This could include essential tasks such as restoring data to maintain business continuity. It won’t matter if you have a plan in place, as you require the right people to successfully execute the plan.

Alongside training your disaster recovery team, there should be staff in every department aware of the necessary procedures. Maintaining strong communication between departments and updating your staff on any changes in your policy will also encourage smooth recovery.

Remember, untrained staff is one of the leading causes of disaster recovery failure.

Backup your data

Data is your business’ most important resource. Therefore, efficiently storing and safeguarding your data must be prioritised as part of your disaster recovery plan. So, make sure you have a regular backup schedule apart from an emergency backup plan. Data is what’s going to help you achieve a strong recovery.

Your data must be backed up to a remote server and in multiple locations. If your downtime is caused by a physical disaster, any primary on-premises servers will be immediately destroyed. Therefore, a common mistake would be to rely on your office server for the safekeeping of all your key data.

In comparison, a remote server is generally protected from a downtime event because it’s located in a remote location. But you must also ensure your data backup plan includes storing multiple file copies in either (or both) data centres and office servers.

Nowadays, cloud storage is a growing option for businesses of all sizes. It allows not only more storage at a smaller cost, but a remote storage space monitored and controlled by a team of experts. Regularly backing up to the cloud can then provide you with a flexible and remotely accessible way of recovering lost data during downtime.

Have a budget in place

There will always be a financial component to your disaster recovery plan. But you have to be careful about how you spend your budget and ensure you distribute the costs efficiently.

There is no specific guideline we can give as it all within your organisation to decide. Nevertheless, it is always better to lean towards spending more, rather than too little on your disaster recovery plans and data backup.

The best option is then to spend wisely. Make sure you are confident and know what’s necessary before you make any important decisions.

Seek help from an expert

As you can see, data backup and disaster recovery can be quite challenging, especially if you’re used to operating in an industry that doesn’t deal with IT. So, how do you make sure you follow our best practices?

Well, the best option is to simply partner with the right IT service provider. As a growing small to medium sized business, you might not have the resources, time, or indeed expertise needed to develop and execute your own disaster recovery strategy.

This is where an IT partner can be of great help and take the reins on the complex areas. A dedicated IT team will provide not only expertise, knowledge, and resources that you may lack, but experience on these matters.

So, if you’re looking for IT Support in London, totality services can help steer your disaster recovery plans and mitigate risk during downtime. We also offer secure data backup services for a range of infrastructure to suit your business needs.

And, if you would like to find out more about best practices during business downtime, please reach out to one of our experts today!

Learn more about our cybersecurity services and data storage support options here.