A common occurrence that the IT industry sees is people setting their disaster recovery solutions and then just forgetting about it, but how ready will you be when disaster actually strikes? There are many different ways that disaster can strike, including natural disasters, human error, hardware failure and many more. Ask yourself this, if any of the listed above (or even not listed) were to happen to you and your business, what would be your first step?

If you had to think about that, you may want to consider creating a written disaster recovery plan or revisiting an existing plan. A written disaster recovery plan can save you from making those impulsive decisions that can cause extra damage! It should be a map of your entire IT system, helping you find what is causing the problem and what necessary steps are needed to be taken to fix the problem. An IT infrastructure is a complex thing with many different elements, and should not be underestimated! Your staff will all have different areas of expertise and allocating certain steps of the plan to certain people will help keep things moving smoothly & swiftly throughout the recovery process. Every business will have different processes for recovery, so there will be no “copy and paste” plan you can use, and personalising your plan adds to the security of your business!

In one of my other blog posts (which you can find here), I talked about the idea of appropriately planning for risk rather than aiming for 100% security, as this allows for an open conversation on how you can stay secure and prevent disaster. Knowing that your business will have certain things that are more important to keep secure is a good first step, for instance a blog post from 5 years ago isn’t going to be anywhere near as important as corporate data. Storing backup images of everything can take up a lot of space, so are you sure you need that blog post from 5 years ago? Take the time out and actually figure out what data you want to have access to first in the case of total system failure, this will help you minimise the downtime of certain services that your employees or customers may rely on to keep moving.

Although it is important to analyse which data needs to be protected, it is also important to analyse different types of disaster and figure out which ones carry the most risk for your business. For example, if you have older hardware there is a higher risk of hardware failure, or if your office is in a place known for earthquakes there will be a higher natural disaster risk. When it comes to preventing massive damage from disasters like those listed, it is important that you have backups in multiple places and this is where the 3-2-1 rule comes into place (3 copies of files, 2 mediums and 1 off-site). Whether the disaster is just the loss of a few files or if your whole system gets destroyed, it is a good habit to ensure the safety of your systems. But it is also good to remember that backup images are just as important as the recovery process itself, so if you’re going to have a strong backup library you need to have a strong recovery plan.

Now that we have covered some of the more important aspects of disaster prevention, there are a few smaller things that you should be doing that can make a big difference:

  • Testing your backups – Although it may be a simple thing to do, it is important! Testing your backups regularly just ensures that they are ready to go just in case because if you don’t you are opening up the risk of failure. There isn’t a set amount of time you should wait to test your backups, but a good guideline is ensuring you don’t go longer than 2 months without testing.
  • The less people, the better – Giving limited people access to your backups is key, as this is where human error can come in. Whether someone has some “villain” like intentions of deleting all data, or just someone accidentally deleting data, giving too many people access will increase the chance of data loss.
  • Take advantage of vendor training opportunities – A lot of vendors now offer training around their solutions, so when your disaster recovery software vendor is hosting a training session make sure to go! They are the experts in this field and are always coming up with new ways for you to keep your data safe.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – It may come to a point where your internal resources are becoming strained and it may be time to consider outsourcing. This is not a negative, you would much rather be outsourcing than have your systems be pushed to their absolute limits. Another perk of getting help is using an MSP, who can help you with compliance regulations like the GDPR and NDB.

Although some of the methods mentioned may be simple, they are often overlooked. Sometimes you need to go back to the basics and build up from there. Brands like StorageCraft offer a disaster recovery software that can help you with many of the methods above and with their new easy to deploy software, ‘ShadowXafe’, you can now restore backups quicker than ever before! With backup images being able to restored onto a VM in just milliseconds, it can minimise the downtime of the system affected and keep your business going. When you become a StorageCraft customer you also have the opportunity to use SofSol Off-Site Storage v2 (S.O.S v2), our competitively priced off-site storage that is ready whenever you need it! You can read more on our S.O.S v2 here. If you want more information on ‘ShadowXafe’ make sure to contact our sales team.