Avoiding business disaster from data loss - Business Works
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Avoiding business disaster from data loss

Andrew Brewerton, Regional Director, EVault Let me start this with a quick message about data backup: itís not just big organisations that need to back their data up and backup should never be the last point on the agenda Ė considered by SMEs only if and when there is leftover budget.

Itís shocking how few businesses have a backup strategy in place. Surveys commissioned by EVault revealed that 56% of UK businesses didnít have a backup strategy in 2012, while 53% of small companies experienced data loss. On average, businesses with fewer than 250 employees lost 4.22% of their revenue as a result, while 41% reported a loss of employee productivity, 15% lost customers and 30% saw a delay in their product / service development.

organisations of all sizes need to back their data up

For companies that have never relied on backup technology, selecting a software solution or service provider may seem daunting; it doesnít have to be. You should aim to identify and work with a provider with a demonstrable track record. That trust should manifest itself in a service level agreement (SLA) that meets the specific needs of your business.

To identify those specific needs there are some simple points to consider. Once these have been established it will be much easier to invest in a solution.

Cloud or onsite or hybrid

Could your business be affected by fire, flood, burglary or some other disaster? The chances are it could, in which case youíll want to store a copy of your data off-site or in the cloud. This involves encrypting data and sending a copy of it over the internet to an off-site data centre where it will be securely stored.

Even if you store your data off-site, you might also want to keep your most important information backed up on-site so that it can be recovered at speed when necessary. Using on-site and off-site backup is known as a hybrid solution.

Recovery time and point objectives

Identify your mission-critical data and the timeframe in which you need it restored in the event of a disaster. This means taking a step back to evaluate which data is most important. Be realistic about recovery point and recovery time objectives (RPO and RTO) and ensure that service providers can help you formulate a strategy that recognises the priority of your data. The RTO is the duration of time you give yourself to restore data after a disaster and the RPO is the age of the files that must be recovered.

Your backup strategy is dependent on your RTO. For companies with a short RTO hybrid solutions are often the fastest and most reliable way to ensure the rapid retrieval of data. Alternatively, some service providers will even guarantee to restore your servers to a secure cloud environment in as little as four hours Ė ideal if your business is in a heavily regulated industry such as healthcare or finance.

Lost devices

Do your employees own portable devices (also known as 'endpoints') on which they store business data? If so, then your backup plan needs to cover these too. Your best option is to look for a cloud backup solution which will include comprehensive endpoint protection. Look for an option that will back device data up to a secure cloud and will allow authorised employees to remotely wipe and then recover lost or missing files in the event that the device is lost.

Rehearsals

Our survey found that less than a third (31%) of UK companies test their remote recovery environment as often as once a month: on average they leave five months between tests. This is a worrying statistic. It means that many companies are putting their data at risk. Testing is when errors and anomalies are picked up, and is the time when you identify if the recovery solution can meet the set RTO. You should therefore ensure that your service provider is willing to test your recovery environment at least once a month, if not more often.

Within the UK the trend for backup and disaster recovery is swinging in the direction of the cloud. Itís easy to see why. The cloud is a cost-effective, flexible and reliable solution, and, whatís more, it is suited to just about every business requiring data backup. Of course there are other options available and you will be able to determine which best suits you once you have assessed the above points. The most important factor is checking and negotiating all of the above with your selected service provider. That way you can guarantee a solution that best suits your businessí needs.


Andrew Brewerton is Regional Director of EVault, (www.evault.com/uk) a provider of backup and disaster recovery solutions



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