Backups are great start, but what is most important is the ability to efficiently restore lost or corrupted information. When was the last time you tested a restore?
What solution process and/or disaster recovery options have you tested?
If your server failed today, could you get replacement parts?
Perhaps the better place to begin is to figure out if you need to back up anything at all and the consequences of not doing anything. What happens when your information is all gone? How will your business operate? What happens when what you used to use breaks and is not available any longer?
The it-won’t-happen-to-me mindset simply does not work in today’s competitive world.
Data backup versus business continuity: What’s the difference?
Although overlapping, these terms represent uniquely different mindsets when it comes to data protection.
Data backup answers the question: Is my data safe? Can I get it back in case of a failure?
Business continuity, on the other hand, involves thinking about the business at a higher level, and asks:
How quickly can I get my business operating again in case of system failure?
Thinking about data backup is a good first step. But in case of failure, you have to get that data back and restore it quickly enough so your business doesn’t suffer. For example, if your server fails and remembering that hardware failure is the number one cause of lost data, you wouldn’t be able to quickly get back to work if you only had file-level backup.
In this scenario for you to start working again, your server would need to be replaced, all software re-installed, data re-installed and then the whole system would need to be configured with your settings and preferences. This process could take hours or even days and in the meantime, your users can’t get their jobs done.
If you’ve planned for business continuity, however, you’ve thought of all these things. You’ve thought in terms of Recovery Time Objective (RTO), and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).
RTO (Recovery Time Objective): The duration of time within which a business must be restored after a disaster or disruption to avoid unacceptable consequences associated with a break in business continuity.
RPO (Recovery Point Objective): The maximum tolerable period of time in which data might be lost due to a disaster.
By calculating your desired RTO, you have determined the maximum time that you can be without your data before your business gets into serious trouble. Alternatively, by specifying the RPO, you know how often you need to perform backups, because you know how much data you can afford to lose without damaging your business. You may have an RTO of a day, and an RPO of an hour. Or your RTO might be measured in hours and your RPO in minutes. It’s all up to you and what your business requires. Calculating these numbers will help you understand what type of data backup solution you need.
Once you determine your RPO and RTO, it’s time to calculate how much downtime and lost data will actually cost you.
Consider the following questions:
Simply add up the average per-hour wage, the per-hour overhead, and the per-hour revenue numbers and you have how much a data loss will cost you. Given that funding and budget constraints can be the top challenge (43 percent) for a business to implement a business continuity solution, calculating your RTO will give you the financial validation needed to justify its purchase and maintenance. Calculating the real costs associated with data loss gives businesses a better understanding of the risks relating to business failure. And thinking about your business in these terms puts your backup solution into perspective.