As a business owner, especially in the tech sector, you are almost certainly backing up your data regularly. Data disasters can happen at any moment, compromising the data you use to run your business and even destroying hardware and software. However, as much as the IT community focuses on making regular and redundant backups, the vast majority of data recovery companies fail to take into account one important element: time.
What Does Time Mean in Data Recovery?
The old adage, “time is money” means more in data recovery than it does in day-to-day life. This is because although you may have regular backups of your data, that data may not be immediately accessible following a data disaster. If you had to recover all of your company’s data right now, how long would it take, and how much time would you lose in the process?
Take a common data recovery plan as an example: If you create secure backup copies of your data every night after business hours are over, you can at least rest assured that the majority of your important data is safe. But if those backups are manually made on hard drives using widely available freeware, should something happen, then you will have to manually recover the data from every single disk, one at a time. Depending on the size of your business, this could take days, weeks or months to complete, and that doesn’t take into account the time-consuming process of recreating the data lost on the day of the attack.
To truly ensure business continuity in the face of a data disaster, it is necessary to shift focus away from backups and toward recoverability.
How Recoverable Is Your Data?
Typical backup solutions do not provide comprehensive solutions for data recovery needs. To understand why, it is necessary to think in terms of downtime, recovery point objects and recovery time objectives.
- Downtime costs money by the second; American businesses lose billions of dollars every year because of downtime. Preventing downtime is the key to a powerful, robust data recovery strategy.
- The Recovery Point Object identifies how much data can be lost when experiencing a data disaster. By identifying the age of the last good copy of your business’s data, you can determine how much data your business would lose following an unexpected disaster. Continuous replication achieves the ideal recovery point objective of zero.
- The Recovery Time Objective identifies how much time is lost getting your business up and running following a data disaster. With traditional backups, the RTO is determined by how long it takes to transfer all lost data to new systems and begin doing business as usual. In an ideal scenario, all your business workstations are being continuously replicated on secure hardware (or in the cloud) and are immediately available following disastrous events, producing an RTO of zero.
The only way to ensure that your data is fully and easily recoverable is by subjecting it to rigorous testing. This can be done by simulating data disasters and determining your actual recovery point and recovery time variables. Simulations and drills also let you discover compatibility issues and other time-consuming obstacles that may not be immediately apparent.
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