Today is world backup day and back up is a topic that is very close to our hearts in Intuity Technologies. Never before has this issue been more topical or important for business and in my role as a sales manager with Intuity I work with our technical team to ensure we find the best solution for each customer.

Here are my top tips which might be useful to those of you responsible for the overall backup & BCP strategy within your company:

1. A Backup Process Is NOT A BCP Plan

You may have a particular backup solution currently in place but do not confuse this with having a business continuity plan. A backup process will prevent data loss but a DR / BCP plan is so much more: It incorporates all elements of the organisations IT network and systems and formulates a plan for a timely recovery in a disaster scenario. If you currently do not know a lot about your existing onsite backup process other than it’s a nightly backup and you are relying on this for disaster recovery then you may be in for a nasty shock. My advice:

  • Know what your current online backup solution is and what it does.
  • Speak with your IT provider about what your disaster recovery (DR) and Business continuity plan (BCP) delivers.

2. Take A 2 Pronged Approach

Quite often its best to start simple – look at your backup strategy and then move to implement a 2 pronged approach: an onsite backup and an offsite back.

An onsite solution allows you to back up large amounts of data very quickly and relatively cheaply, however, this solution fails in the event of a disaster where the building or IT equipment is destroyed.

Therefore it is important to also have an offsite backup solution, most commonly this will be in the form of an online backup.  The cost is based on the total amount of data you are backing up to the cloud so this option provides a solution for all budgets.

3. Be Ready For Attacks!

In recent times a new threat has invaded the industry which further highlights the importance of reliable backup. They are virus threats called Ransomware which trick the user into opening an attachment which will then encrypt all of the files on their network. Then the attacker will issue a ransom note requesting payment for the files to be decrypted. This is where your backup will really save the day :

  •  In the event of being infected & encrypted, the quickest and cheapest way to get back to your original state is if you have an onsite image backup copy from the past 24 hours.
  • The current versions of this ransomware threat do not encrypt your onsite backup. Therefore whatever you have backed up until the time of infection is safe.
  • Similarly, if you have an online backup solution deployed then also there is no chance of that being encrypted – whatever you had backed up until the time of infection is safe.

These ransomware threats are more and more prevalent. Technology companies such as anti-virus and firewall providers are constantly trying to fight this battle but ultimately no network can be 100% secure.

4. Make It Measurable:

When it comes to preparing your BCP plan, there are 2 key terms that you first need to know:

  • RPO (Recovery Point Objective) – i.e. how old is my latest full data backup?
  • RTO: (Recovery Time Objective) – i.e. how long is it until my servers, services and users are back running?

Identify your key IT functions and services and discuss with your IT provider what is currently in place in terms of RTO and RPO. Next, you must decide what your desired level of recovery is for each function or service in terms of time points – these may vary.

To get a real handle on the actual impact this could have on your business, use a handy downtime calculator – there are many available online

5. Make It Bespoke

As per the previous tip, you have to work out exactly what your business requirements are in terms of RTO and RPO before you begin. Once you have identified this, your IT provider will propose various solution option to meet your needs and budget. When I work with clients, I usually try to break it into 2 distinct parts; onsite and offsite redundancy solutions. At Intuity Technologies all our solutions are bespoke and tailor made to deliver the best possible solution for your individual organisation and its demands.

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