Natural Disasters like storms, hurricanes, floods will occur irrespective of whether they are predicted or not. While disaster of this scale is not an everyday scenario, when it occurs it might lead to shut down of your business – temporarily or permanently.
These natural disasters are some striking examples, but there are a lot of other possibilities like human errors, hardware or system malfunctions, software corruption, malware attack, etc.
As there is a constant possibility for any of the above-mentioned occurrences, there are chances that something can go wrong in your business and cause disruptions.
That is why it makes sense to prepare for them.
You need a Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR) Plan in place to get back on track when something goes wrong.
Here is a simple Disaster Recovery Plan checklist which will help you be always available.
- RPO & RTO
- Verified backups
- Effective data retention policies
- Multiple recovery options with instant restore capabilities
- Multiple copies of data in different media at different locations
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) & Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
One of the critical factors in Backup & DR plan is defining the Recovery Objectives i.e, RTO and RPO, which varies based on the criticality of the machine or the data that you backup.
Recovery Point Objective
The Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the amount of data loss that you can afford before it impacts your business operations. Before defining the RPO for any particular system/application one needs to know the maximum acceptable downtime of it.
- Everyone knows that email is one of the business-critical application. If its unavailable for an hour or more productivity loss occurs
- Further, there are critical operations like online transactions. Even a few minutes downtime of these databases/applications can cause financial and reputational damage
Thus, depending on the nature of the business, and the criticality of the data the RPO could differ.
RPO helps you determine how often you need to perform backups. Considering the maximum acceptable amount of data loss, the RPO can be set every few mins, every few hours, once a day or even once a week and is referred to as the threshold of how much data you can afford to lose since the last backup.
Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the amount of time taken to recover a particular system/application to get your business back up and running.
In order to avoid unacceptable consequences after a disaster, a business process must be restored to its previous state as quickly as possible. But, not all data/applications/systems are as important for day-to-day business continuity and hence they don’t have the same RTO.
The lesser the RTO, the faster you can get back to the flow of normal business operations. Hence, it is important to prioritize resources to restore the ones with lower RTOs before the rest of them.
In simple terms, RTO is more about having the application or data available.
Verify your backups
Backing up the data is not the end goal by itself. We need to be able to restore the data when we need it.
At that crucial moment when every minute counts, what if an error is thrown that says your backups are not recoverable?
You might think if you have backups, your data is safe and you can access at any time. But there is a high chance of your backups getting corrupted and becoming worthless. You may not realize this until there comes a time to perform the recovery of your backup data.
Though you have backups, you will be left with nothing at that time.
This is why verifying the recoverability of your backups matters.
However, manually verifying your backups every time is not a feasible process. You need to set up automated verification. With this, you can rest assured that you are going to get your data back in the way it was before.
Effective data retention policies
Depending on the nature of the organization and the type of data, different retention periods are laid down by the laws of different countries. So to comply with the legal regulations proper configuration of a retention policy is necessary.
Aside from what is legally required to do, there are some compelling business reasons for retaining your data for a considerable time.
Hence, when you choose a solution you need to make sure that it allows you to meet both the legal data retention requirements and your own business retention needs.
Multiple recovery options with instant restore capabilities
Recovery is a game-changer when it comes to disasters.
When a user accidentally deletes a file/folder, you need to have a granular restore functionality. Performing granular file restores from the image-level backups without the need to restore the entire backed-up machine gives you the flexibility to instantly choose and restore what you want.
Similarly, if any of your critical machines goes down, you need to have the instant restore capability that allows you to recover within minutes of a disaster to have data and services back online.
To handle the above-said scenarios and more, you should have multiple recovery options that allow choosing how system/application/data can be restored based on your business needs, type of disaster, underlying infrastructure, and SLAs.
Multiple copies of data in different media at different locations
Imagine your entire production environment is at risk. In this case, your backup data in your local site is also prone to risk.
In order to keep your data always available in spite of a site disaster, it is recommended to have a copy of your data at offsite. An offsite copy can either be hosted in a remote location like remote/branch office or in the cloud.
Replicating a copy of your data to the cloud helps you to setup hybrid deployment for your business. This keeps you disaster-ready even if the onsite & offsite data stored locally gets compromised.
Thus, having multiple copies of data at multiple locations is one of the best practices to keep your data safe in almost any failure scenario.
To put this into practice, businesses need to follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy.
The 3-2-1 rule of backup means you must:
- Have at least three copies of your data
- Store the copies on two different types of media (Disk & tape)
- Keep one backup copy offsite (Cloud/Offsite data center)
Backup and Disaster Recovery with Vembu BDR Suite
All of the above points underscore the need for backup & disaster recovery solution that is able to provide minimum RTO & RPO, verified backups, effective retention policies, instant recovery options and that lets you implement the 3-2-1 backup strategy.
Vembu BDR Suite is a comprehensive Backup & DR solution that allows organizations to do all of the above effectively, and efficiently.
Vembu BDR Suite provides:
- Support for Physical (Windows, Linux, Mac), Virtual (VMware, Hyper-V) and Cloud workloads (EC2 instances, Azure VMs, Google VMs)
- RPO & RTO of less than 15 minutes
- Basic & Advanced Retention Policies
- Automatic backup verification
- Replicate a secondary copy of your data to an offsite location or cloud, thus ensuring DR
Backup to tape, thus satisfying the 3-2-1 backup rule
With these and many other features and functionalities, Vembu BDR Suite allows organizations to successfully withstand and recover from a major disruptive disaster and still effectively carry out essential business operations.