The message to businesses has always been: backup; backup; backup! But is that enough anymore?
Backup technologies have improved immeasurably over the past few years – the days of organisations having IT admins taking backup tapes home at the weekend is long gone.
On top of this, there are technologies like bandwidth throttling, which allows IT departments to restrict the amount of bandwidth that backups can take up on a network.
This means IT departments can run backups constantly, even during the busiest periods of the day without slowing down critical systems.
>See also: IT disaster recovery: flooding lessons learned
The point is, for many organisations backup just happens. This is fine. Until something goes wrong and you need to get your files back.
In this situation, the question businesses and their IT teams actually need to be asking themselves is: ‘Just how long can we go without access to our critical data, applications and services?’ In today’s increasingly digitised world, the answer will likely be: not very long.
This is why there needs to be a shift in focus from backup to recovery. Yes, a business may have all its data safely backed up, but how quickly can it access it and get back up and running in the event of a disaster?
10 years ago, it might have been acceptable to sit down after a data loss scenario, such as a crashed server, and simply get the new guy in IT to spend the next day or so rebuilding that server.
Keeping your fingers crossed all along that it would actually come back online at the end of the process. Today that’s no longer an option.
Companies will start losing money quickly if their business-critical systems are down.
How much money and how quickly depends on the type of business. Chances are that because organisations so heavily reliant on our digital infrastructures, even 15 minutes could make things uncomfortable; hours could almost certainly be devastating.
>See also: How organisations can take a holistic approach to disaster recovery
While businesses can gain comfort from the ability to backup, they need to be able to see the real value in the ability to recover.
For this reason, it’s essential to understand a business’ recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO).
RTO is how long the business can cope without key data, while RPO refers to the maximum time the business can allow for lost data – how often a snapshot needs to be taken of the system. As the names suggest this is all about recovery, not backup.
The problem for many companies is that this requires a substantial shift in the way they view their systems.
They’ve been told for years to focus on backup, and have invested in the corresponding hardware and services to do that. However, if they’re thinking about recovery, their behaviour will change – in terms of both the infrastructure and services needed.
For example, very large organisations will always have a separate plan for disaster recovery that is distinct from backup.
That plan will likely involve multiple elements, including provisioning, remote access and physical desk space.
>See also: The 5 imperatives for disaster recovery planning
The future role of disaster recovery solutions is to make it as easy as possible for businesses to make the transition.
The answer to this is a ‘blended solution’, where you have the same console that enables you to monitor and take any actions needed for both your backup and recovery solutions.
This approach has a huge appeal for larger SMEs and lower to mid-market enterprises.
This is often where IT resources are at their most constrained, and a single solution with a single pane of glass to manage it can make a huge difference.
For the bulk of the SME market, recovery is a new idea since they were the last to really implement backup.
Even the smallest companies can suffer from failing to focus on recovery, the integrated ‘blended’ solution will get them thinking in the right way. It could even ultimately save their businesses.
Sourced by Nick Morse, business development EMEA at Acronis