Disaster recovery: the most critical part to Data backups that most companies overlook

Bob Milliken

By Bob Milliken

Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Tornado season is upon us again and our US cousins have some serious problems on their hands (again).  A few years ago a massive tornado ripped through Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, Alabama causing loss of life, significant devastation and many business failures.  The fortunate ones only had to suffer through minor interruptions of utility services, while others paid a far steeper price. In fact, a colleague of mine, had his office in Joplin reduced to a pile of rubble.
Unfortunately, bad weather does not appear to have improved any in 2015 and this this has got me thinking about how important disaster recovery planning is to any business. No one expects terrible things to happen (fire, flood, employee malice, accidental deletion, virus infection), but when they do, having that plan in place can really save your monkey. And one of the most important aspects of this is the recovery part – how are you going to get that data back onto a working platform that allows you to continue serving your customers and operating your business.
The shocker for most business owners is that simply having a copy of the data does not guarantee a fast recovery, never mind the over 50% of small businesses do not have a working backup.
If you simply think having a backup is going to be your saving grace, you might be very unpleasantly surprised. I can’t tell you the number of businesses who ended up losing incredibly valuable, irreplaceable data because they didn’t think through the recovery part of the backup equation.
So what do you need to think about? First, beware that hope is not an option.  You either have the data you need backed up and it is recoverable, or you don’t.  It’s that simple.  Second, the way you backup your data should be based on how important your data is and how fast you would need to be back up and running in the event of a disaster. A good rule of thumb is to think about what you will need when your office burns down, and back that up.  Third, the time to recovery is an important part of the equation.  For some a couple of days is not an issue, for others lost hours are critical.
One of the best ways to protect your data and facilitate rapid recovery is to maintain an up-to-date copy in a high-security data center somewhere other than your office. In fact, it should be some distance from your office and ideally in a place that is not susceptible to natural disasters.
The bottom line is that the ability to restore your data from backup is the key process and if you can’t restore your data then you don’t have a backup.

Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group. Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call – 604.270.1730. Your comments are appreciated – ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com