Data Backup or Business Continuity - They're not the Same

We write about backup system quite regularly.  Over the years, the backup systems have changed; from diskettes, to removable media, to various kinds of tapes, to today's cloud based backup systems.  However fundamentally there are two very different ways of looking at backups.  

You know you need data backup, but when do you need a business continuity solution?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ll know that massive global ransomware attacks are only growing in scale and frequency. These attacks and other threats and accidents that cripple, ransom, or destroy organizations’ data are a convincing argument for a solid backup solution. Restoring from a data backup is often the only reliable way to recover from these events. Even smaller organizations and businesses know that they need some sort of backup solution. But when do you need more than a regular data backup? 

Types of Data Backup

Roughly speaking, you can think of backup solutions in two flavors. The first type backs up your data (offsite, onsite, and/or in the cloud) and lets you restore it.

The second type does this too, but also provides the hardware and software to recover and run your servers or infrastructure in the case of much more catastrophic events. This second type is called a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution. Here are a couple of real world (yes it's happened right here) examples:

  • If a flood, fire, or tornado destroys your physical office and your servers, your data may be safe in the cloud, but you may not have machines to run on. A simple recovery of your files and folders isn’t enough. 
  • If a critical server fails unexpectedly on a Friday afternoon, how quickly will you be able to order a new server, get it delivered and set up, and then restore data to it and get your critical programs running again? It could take days.

    Backing up your data is not negotiable, but how you back it up is.

Do you need a business continuity solution?

You’ll know whether you need a business continuity solution when you consider two key questions of disaster planning:

  • How quickly do you need your data recovered? (This is your Recovery Time Objective, or RTO.)
  • What is the maximum period of time you can afford to lose data from? (This is your Recovery Point Objective, or RPO.)

Say, for example, that your answers are:

  • We need our data recovered within 4 hours to minimize business and productivity loss.
  • We can’t afford to lose more than a 2-hour chunk of data.

This is a high enough demand for availability and uptime that you need a business continuity solution. If you lose your server and have to wait a few business days to get a new one ordered and setup, you’ll be hurting because you’ve far exceeded your Recovery Time Objective.

By the way, your answer may be very different than the company next door. We have clients that can't have any downtime for day-to day transactional processing. That requires a very different operating and BCDR solution than a company that processes transactions monthly.

How does a BCDR solution help?

A BCDR solution will provide a way to failover and spin up your lost system. It can either do this on a physical on-site backup device or virtualized in the cloud. Instead of waiting days to recover a key piece of hardware, you can be up and running again in minutes or hours.

We've designed and implementd solutions with automatic cutover; others with manual cutover; still others where only part of the information is needed immediately; and those where a day or so of recover meets the needs of the organization. 

Taking care of your data is a number one priority!   It's your business or organization and these days, it's all about the data. Are you sure that you've got a plan in place to meet the needs of your organization. The Computing Center has been backing up client's data and providing Business Continuity solutions for nearly four decades. 


Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Comments are not allowed for this entry.