Backup & Disaster Recovery for Business

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1 Your complete guide to Online Backup and Disaster Recovery Backup & Disaster Recovery for Business 1 Doc V1.0 Jan 2014

2 Table of Contents 3 Hosted Desktop Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR) today 4 Different ways of backing up and restoring data 6 Cloud the perfect Backup and DR Plan 7 Choosing your Online Backup provider 8 Key features required for Business Online Backup 9 Summary 2 Doc V1.0 Jan 2014

3 Backup and Disaster Recovery Today Over the last few years, we have seen a number of high profile cases in the media about data loss and breaches in data security. Some data breaches such as those concerning personal details have led to amendments in legislations to enforce better storage and security for data, and improve the recoverability of critical information. Did you know? Recovery after hardware failures can take especially long, so it s particularly important to deploy a disaster recovery solution that gets employees working again in hours, rather than days. Therefore, it has never been more important for businesses and organisations of all kinds to develop a suitable and robust data Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution. Particularly today, when more businesses and organisations including education, the public sector and charities rely on software and applications delivered as a hosted service (SaaS). It s not just for data security why your business needs a BDR plan. You might not be aware of the fact that 90% of businesses losing data from a disaster are forced to shut down within two years. 1 That alone should be a key reason for you to secure your data. Especially, if your business has ever experienced loss of data due to: Hardware fault or failure Unexpected power cut Accidental deletion Virus infection or malware attacks Failure of a software application However, leaving aside the data loss itself for a moment, there are a number compelling reasons for and benefits to backing up correctly: Automatic backup and disaster recovery increases business productivity. Automation may reduce staff time spent on manual methods of storing, backing up and recovering data by 90% Cloud based BDR is more efficient and significantly reduces data and services downtime It saves money with the current drive for cost reduction that s another plus point It can support your compliance requirements for data backup and storage with encryption and UK ISO datacentres Without suitable backup in place, you risk being unable to recover this data. 1 Stagecraft, Doc V1.0 Jan 2014

4 Different ways of backing up and restoring data In today s world, information is everything and it makes sense for your business to take the right precautions to protect your important data. The truth is that with so many different backup methods and solutions available, it can be hard to decide what suits your business the most. You have heard all the terms like tape backup, external hard drives, offsite backup and disaster recovery but how do you achieve the optimum solution that not only works automatically so that you do not have to remember to do it manually but that it is also cost effective? Let s look at a few pros and cons of the most common backup methods. Tape Drive Backup For many years, this was the most common method of creating a backup for businesses. The onsite server will have a built in tape drive supporting data tapes of varying sizes, depending on the type of drive and data volumes you have. You would then purchase additional backup software such as Symantec Backup Exec or similar to create backup schedules for writing your data to the tapes each day. The idea is to store the tapes somewhere off-site and your data would be protected in case a server fails or even in case of a disaster such as fire. So that sounds good and job done surely, right? Not really! Although it sounds like a good solution, in reality the majority of businesses using tape backup often forget to even change the tape, so it cannot backup at all, or do the backup and leave the tape at the side of the server. It is even very common that businesses forget to put tapes in at all. Others who perform better and actually do the backups, remove tapes from the office very often let the data sit in a draw at the MD or IT director s house. Now add to this the on-going cost of tapes, the cost of the actual drive and backup software over say a three year period. Suddenly, you end up with a significant cost, for a somewhat cumbersome, manual method of protecting the most important asset you have. This is why very few new servers are built with a tape backup drive. The other key issue is the type of backup which you achieved is often only a backup of files, and in the event of a server failure the cost of recovering that data onto another server could be considerable as all you have backed up are your files. So, for example, if you wanted to restore an Exchange mail server, it would be very difficult if you only have a file level backup. External Hard Drives Initially, as external hard drives became bigger, faster and more reliable, they were seen by some as the natural successor to the tape drive. You could backup far greater volumes of data and that data was stored away from the local server. There was no requirement for the continual purchase of tapes and no need to remember to change them either. The issue with external drives though is they are often held onsite, next to the server they are backing up, so you have no off-site copy. That leaves it vulnerable in cases of a disaster at the premises, for example a fire. They are also very easy to steal with most drives now easily fitting into a pocket. Statistics show that today criminals breaking into 4

5 office premises are far more likely to be looking for your data than your computers. External drives give them an incredibly simple and quick way of walking away with that in seconds. Finally, with an industry standard failure rate still at around 9%, many businesses have fallen foul to external drives that have failed right at the time they were needed. When this happens, having your data recovered by a data recovery specialist can cost thousands. These are just a few examples of how businesses have so far managed the BDR plan. As technology has developed rapidly in the last few years, businesses have gone smarter and the expectations of IT Infrastructure have increased significantly. Regulations also change instantly and businesses need more sophisticated and secure ways of backing up and making sure data can be recovered that is why for many the Cloud seems to be the most suitable solution. NAS (network attached storage) Drives A NAS device is a storage server which holds multiple hard drives, often being configured in a number of RAID formats to help protect the data against individual drive failures. If an individual drive fails, a replacement can be installed and based on how the NAS is configured; the data that was on the failed drive can be recovered onto the replacement. This is by far a better solution for businesses and should be considered the minimum level of backup solution for companies as a data protection tool. NAS devices are able to store much larger volumes of data, have enhanced encryption and are more suitable for disaster recovery than tape or external hard drives. The drawbacks with NAS is its cost for purchase and maintenance and again they reside onsite with the server they are backing up, with many being smaller than the average PC, they are easy enough to remove. There is also the potential for multiple drive failures at the same time which can make data recovery more complex. 5

6 Cloud - the perfect Backup and DR Plan In a perfect world, the most successful businesses are operating with a backup solution that is fully configurable, automated and can provide a full backup, not just a file level backup, to enable recovery of applications such as Exchange or SQL to their previous state on another device. The ideal backup should not only be offsite but the offsite backup should be stored on a SAN storage solution mirrored to another at a third location for ultimate failover protection. For ultimate security, all data should be located within the UK in a minimum Tier 3 datacentre. Additionally, it should be stored in a datacentre that s ISO certified with high spec firewalls and security levels, by a provider that is a notified data controller with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) and have at minimum 256bit encryption. These are not only desired aspects of an ideal BDR solution for a number of businesses like yours but features that the Cloud supports. That is the main reason why Cloud Backup adoption has been growing rapidly because the cloud delivers what many businesses need. It is important that the chosen BDR solution stores at least a few months worth of previous versions of your data, so when there is a need to recover a particular word document as it looked three weeks ago, it is easily achievable. Finally, any BDR solution needs to be accessible and easy to use when you need to recover everything from a file to an entire database. 6

7 Choosing your Online Backup provider Online Backup is a rapidly growing industry and there are thousands of backup providers worth your attention. Many have strong solutions which will work and protect your business data cost efficiently. With so many of them out there, you need to make sure you know what you are looking for and most importantly which providers and products will meet your particular business requirements. It is critical to remember though that a business needs a business solution and not a consumer data storage product. That is the first thing you need to differentiate: cheap backup is typically just file storage or a consumer style service, whereas your business needs a managed business focused product and a strong service provider. Once you have established whether the solution and provider meet your needs, do not forget to ask for a free trial that can usually last up to 30 days so that there will be enough time to evaluate the product, try how it corresponds with your requirements and measure the level of customer support you get along with the product itself. Most providers will be happy to setup a free trial so do not hesitate asking for it. The few things you should pay special attention to when choosing an Online Backup provider are: Does the product provide a FULL, and not FILE level backup? (Especially for critical applications like Microsoft Exchange and SQL databases) Does it support local data encryption to a minimum 256bit prior to transferring data across the internet? Does it support previous versions of your data for up to 12 months? Is it a fully managed business solution which is proactively monitored? Is your data stored in the UK? Is the datacentre ISO certified Is your provider a notified data controller with the ICO? Can you read client reviews and speak to existing clients using the service? 7

8 Key features required for Business Online Backup Apart from those listed above there are lots of different features a quality solution should have which your business may need to support the type of hardware, data and applications you may use. Here are some of the additional features and compatibility you can get within some solutions for a single cost per gigabyte per month subscription. Multi-threading support Supports Virtual Machines, Databases and Apps VMware ESX & ESXi (Free / Paid version), with vcenter, VDDK & CBT support VMware Server / Workstation / Fusion / Player Microsoft Hyper-V MS Exchange DAG, database and mailbox levels MS Exchange Server at database level MS Exchange Server at mailbox level Microsoft Outlook / Outlook Express Windows System backup and restoration Windows System State backup and restoration MS SQL Server Oracle Database Lotus Domino / Notes MySQL Features for Backup and Restore: Continuous Data Protection Flexible backup schedules User configurable compression Password Protection 256-bit encryption 256-bit SSL transmission One time restore multiple versions Seed-load utility Multiple backup sets Flexible retention policy Open file backup Proxy server support 8

9 Summary Cloud Backup is becoming the leading method of securing the most valuable asset of many businesses its data. Compared to other backup methods, it offers much better automation, security and failover, along with improved tools and software agents to support full not file level backup of many applications and databases. Remember price is important but with backup, if it is too cheap you really only get what you pay for which in many instances will be a consumer grade product or just online file storage. Do your research, ask for reviews and speak to other clients if you can. Then try the product out, this is often free so there is no risk or cost attached. As a disaster recovery solution it is both efficient and reliable with some managed service providers even having rapid physical delivery services if you have a server failure and need to get all your data back faster than you can download 100 s of gigabytes across the internet. Most importantly, if you know you are not backing up properly or still using tape drives and external hard drives, do something about improving your backup to protect your business sooner rather than after you have suffered a data disaster. Cloud4 Computers is a leading provider of Cloud Computing, Business Mobility and IT Solutions in the UK and abroad since With over 15 years of technical and commercial experience, our main focus is to deliver reliable and effective Cloud Solutions to any business, charity or public sector organisation. Realising that no business or organisation is the same, Cloud4 Computers offers unique solutions fitting your specific needs and requirements along with high level support. Contact a team member today to get more information about Cloud Solutions and determine which Cloud Service would best fit your needs and requirements Helpline: Connect with us on: 9 Doc V1.0 Jan 2014

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