Creating a Data and Systems Backup and Recovery Plan

April 17, 2015
Backup, Disaster Recovery, IT Security, IT Services

In a report for the state of backup and recovery plans presented in a 2015 FEMA report, it was indicated that more than 30% of surveyed companies report major fails when it comes to data and systems recovery.

Don't be one of the 30%. Below is a list of the information you'll need to identify and understand to create and implement a smart backup and recovery plan for all your organization's data and systems.

Twelve Points To Data and Systems Backup and Recovery Planning

  1. Identify systems. Identifying and understanding your business' systems types, operating systems, physical and virtual servers, and hypervisors will frame the recovery devices needed.
  2. Identify important information. Know what and where your business' most important information is. It's critical to take the time to meet with leadership and key team members to identify what data and systems keep your business running every minute of every day.
  3. Schedule. After you’ve identified your systems, figure out how often data needs to be backed up. Remember that FEMA report in the last blog post? It said 58% of companies said they could not sustain any amount of data loss. Can your company afford data loss or down time?
  4. Cost pyramid. Clearly, data is an essential part of your infrastructure. When creating a backup and disaster recovery plan, determine how much budget to invest in this. Prioritize what must get done. As you can see from the diagram below, you have the recovery point objective and the recovery time objective, and as you increase and go toward the center with seconds, or even zero downtime, costs rise.
  5. Backup vs. replication. Review your goals to decide between backup and replication − and there are cases when a business requires both. Backup systems generally have a retention policy, which supports compliance requirements and granular data restoration. Backup involves making a copy or copies of your data, and your business can choose to do as many backups as it likes. Replication copies and moves data between a company's sites so in the event of a disaster you can quickly restore your systems and data.
  6. Retention. If your business involves healthcare or the law, retention is needed to adhere to compliance rules. Determine how long data needs be stored and what the legal requirements are.
  7. Infrastructure. Evaluate these items in your business's infrastructure to ensure your objectives are met: type of backup hardware; hard drive space; bandwidth charges; data deletion or segmentation to different locations to overcome space limitations; and data location.
  8. Geographic diversity. In case of natural disaster, you'll want to have a site replicated somewhere other than onsite to ensure diversity in backup.
  9. Communicate. Communicating your plan is vitally important. If needed, schedule an all-company meeting to devise or revise a plan together. Keeping everyone on the same page is essential to ensure data and systems aren't lost during a recovery.
  10. Define and implement roles and responsibilities. Determine the person or team managing backup and recovery. Also, decide what processes need to be in place and who needs to be kept informed throughout the process. Communicate your goals to your entire company so they understand how backup and recovery will be handled.
  11. Bandwidth. Know bandwidth requirements needed to effectively back up systems and data. If midday backups use all your bandwidth, then productivity is lost because employees can’t work. Also, learn how your bandwidth goes from one facility to another. If your offsite facility has slow internet or lacks bandwidth to accommodate backups, you'll experience slowdowns, and eventually miss recovery point and recovery time objectives because of it.
  12. Test and evaluate. How will you know if your plan works if you don't test it? Test at least twice a year, evaluate ruthlessly, adjust as needed.

Ready to implement? Start by talking to US Signal about its Data Protection Suite. Backup and recovery services from US Signal are customized to match your specific business needs. Your plans will not only be built by US Signal professionals, but they will also be tested and regularly reviewed. Contact us today to get started.