Friday, April 1, 2016

How to Keep Your Data Safe At All Times

By: Paul Oh   Categories:Storage and Data Management, Data Protection

How to Keep Your Data Safe At All Times

Most organizations today, both large and small, rely on their information technology systems for business to the extent that data loss and system failure would be devastating. To alleviate these risks, organizations have invested in data backup systems with the expectation that by simply performing backups, their data will be safe.

Risks associated to system failure and data loss:

While your systems are down, do you know how much money you’re losing?
Do you know how to avoid downtime and data loss?

If your most important systems crashed tomorrow, how would that affect your business?

Unfortunately, as many organizations have painfully learned, improper backup processes have little to no protection over the ability of recovering data in the event of a system failure or other event. The purpose of this blog is to provide you with best practices for mitigating the risks surrounding backup and restoration of data. This will likely interest SMB organizations that typically have fewer IT resources at their disposal and even leaner IT budgets.

Organizations recognize that in order to maintain business continuity, they need to make data and system backups as a safeguard to unforeseen issues or events. These can range from catastrophic events, such as natural disasters, to small scale requirements such as individuals who need to restore a single file due to the original being lost or corrupt.

But what do you need to include in your backup strategy to ensure that:

In fact, this list can keep going on. The point I would like to emphasize is that you need to step back and review your backup and restore processes to see if they are optimized and your organizations’ most important asset – your data– is protected.

High Risk Situations

Data Backups Reside Onsite: For many organizations, their data backup resides onsite because the company does not have a remote / secondary location or data center to send it to.  The high risk of this practice is quite alarming. The issues are many:

Data Backups Residing with an IT Resource: Some organizations entrust their backup disks to an IT Manager who takes the disks home at night. What if he has a car accident and the disks are destroyed, his car is stolen and disks disappear and are accessed by unauthorized people breaching privacy policies, or whatever else your imagination can come up with. 

Infrequent Data Backups: Some organizations have limited IT resources and do not manage their backups on a regular schedule. They may have one or two people who are also responsible for user support, business critical responsibilities, etc and data backups fall by the wayside or are incomplete.

Disorganized Backups: This scenario is a true nightmare.  Unorganized, non-prioritized data seriously impacts recovery time.  Imagine the IT manager is unreachable, on vacation, at a funeral, sick, left the company.  No one else knows where to find the backed up data is. What will you do then?

Best Practices

You can address these high risk scenarios and look for secure, economical ways to store your backups, improve how it is stored and its location for fast and efficient recovery of the data if and when required.  Here are a few important processes to prioritize:

Finding the Right Storage Partner

One way to address your backups is to outsource them. Look for a service provider that has a storage facility close to your organization and is built to a Tier III standard.  And, if it’s important to you, get a guarantee that the data will reside in Canada.

Benefits of a Tier III Data Center Storage Facility

Data Recovery

Since the data will reside in an “always on” facility, it will always be accessible. The data backups will be managed by the provider and you will be able to plan RTO’s and RPO’s.  Make sure to find a provider who will guarantee regular recovery testing too.

Benefits

You may have thought that outsourcing your backups would cost you more than you can afford, but you would be surprised if you investigated and compared costs of managing it yourself vs. having a provider handle it for you. And lastly, what is your data worth to your organization? Can you afford to lose it?

Feel free to contact me to discuss your challenges and I will give you the inside track on best practices that would best serve your business needs and budget.

Paul Oh, VP, Technical Services
905.508.8489, ext. 303


Paul Oh
Paul Oh

Paul Oh

Paul Oh is a co-founder of Sentia and responsible for the strategic direction of the company's technical services, incubating new offerings, and overall technology / solution planning.

Other posts by Paul Oh
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Full biography

Paul is responsible for Sentia’s strategic direction from a technology and services standpoint. He has 20 years of experience, specializing in data protection, back-up and recovery. With his extensive expertise architecting and implementing enterprise infrastructure solutions, Paul has implemented projects throughout North America and worldwide. He is a graduate of the University of Waterloo in Electrical Engineering.

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