safety management
Managing risk

Disaster recovery done right

Regardless of how small or large, your business is, the loss of data can have significant effects. It can halt the operations of your business, resulting in lost revenue. Depending on the time it takes to replicate the data, your business could face permanent closure.

KBIT Consultants has been a member of Business Australia since October 2020. 

The solution is to implement an effective data backup strategy.

Your IT support team can handle the disaster recovery plan. However, outsourcing it to a managed IT service provider can guarantee proper planning and use of the right tools. An outsourced company will also have vast experience in offering IT services and will have sharpened the skills necessary to ensure you are well protected from data loss.

An effective disaster recovery plan will involve a minimum of three backups. This is according to the golden rule for managing backups — the 3-2-1 rule.

The 3-2-1 Back-Up Rule

The 3-2-1 back up rule is a comprehensive data protection plan that involves having multiple backups. It advocates for having three copies, but the more backups you have, the fewer chances of losing them all. Have the copies in two different formats. One back up copy should be offsite, preferably with a reputable managed IT service provider.

Here is a deeper look at the three aspects of this data protection plan.

Have At Least Three Copies of Your Data

Data storage is prone to failure, and a major data loss can occur at the most unexpected moment. It does not just disrupt the operations of the business, but it can result in major financial setbacks The worst part is that you can never predict how it will occur. Some common causes are:

  • malware and viruses
  • crashes
  • user error, such as deleting files accidentally
  • theft of computers
  • damage of hard drive
  • damage caused by liquid spillages, such as accidental trigger of the sprinkler system
  • fire accidents
  • damage to computer systems due to extreme weather events 
  • industrial espionage
  • power outages.

For this reason, having one back up is not enough. You should have at least three copies of your data. This will provide a safety net in that, if damage, theft, or accidental deletion occurs to one backup, you can still recover your data from the two extra backups.

Use Two Backups in Different Formats

No matter how many backups you have, having them in the same format is still not safe. Use different storage media types. Things like drive failure can occur, causing the loss of your data.

Hard disk drives bought together, for instance, tend to have the same MTBF rates (mean time between failures). This means when one fails, expect another hard disk drive in the same storage location to fail around the same time. You could end up losing critical data.

Try to use different formats. You can store one of the copies in an external hard drive, cloud, optical disks, or digital tape. 

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Keep One Copy Offsite

Use an IT support service to back up your data in a different location or using cloud service. It will guarantee a quick recovery from a threat like malicious data attack or natural disaster that affects your entire company. In case of a natural disaster, you get to recover faster than your competitors, ensuring that you do not lose your customers to them.

Although offsite data centres or private clouds are great options, they are quite expensive to acquire and maintain. Using cloud services from a managed IT service provider is more affordable. 

Should You Bother Yourself With Multiple Data Backups?

Here are three main reasons multiple backup plans are necessary.

Data theft was a rare occurrence some years back, but currently, the cases are growing by the day. In the first half of 2020, there were 540 reported cases of a data breach in the United States. A total of 518 cases were reported in Australia in the same first half of 2020.

According to a report by IBM, the average total cost of a data breach in 2019 was a staggering 3.86 million. The report also states that it takes about 280 days to identify and contain a data breach. This translates to a significant amount of downtime as the company awaits data recovery. It can lead to decreased employee productivity and customers are likely to switch to the competitors. 

But by having one of your backups offsite, you can restore your data and continue operations as you resolve the breach. 

A proactive approach to cybersecurity for your business is a smart move, but a disaster recovery plan is equally important. A report by Ponemon Institute on SMB cybersecurity concerns indicated that 69% of SMBs experienced a cyber attack despite having an intrusion detection system.

Again, having a disaster recovery plan is not enough. You need to test it to ensure that it will work when it counts. According to a survey by Spiceworks, a quarter of businesses never test their disaster recovery plan. Without regular testing, a backup solution is next to worthless. 

If you are outsourcing your backup and disaster recovery, ensure that the company providing the managed IT service tests the recovery plan at least once per quarter. 

In the event that you lose your data, especially customer information, your reputation will be at stake. Your customers will view your business as unreliable. They are also bound to share the information on social media and online reviews, killing trust in your brand.

Moreover, top-rated employees, investors, and other stakeholders may be unwilling to work with your company. This, in turn, affects your businesses cash flow.

If your customers rely on you to store data on their behalf, the least you can do is ensure that this data is never lost.  

A comprehensive disaster recovery plan provides peace of mind, keeps your business’s productivity high, and protects your reputation. It could save you from losing your business. With at least three backups, you can recover fast from any human or natural event that causes loss of data, with little to no downtime.   

Ensure that at least two of the backups are in different formats. One should be in an offsite location, preferably cloud storage, using a reliable company providing IT services. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Business Australia. 

keegan-beikoff

Keegan Beikoff

Founder and Managing Director – KBIT Consultants

Keegan works with SME and Enterprise Companies in Australia with a focus on Private Cloud Server Hosting, Migrations and Management.

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