Backup and disaster recovery: why it's vital to have a plan

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You can get over it with the right plans in place

Developing a comprehensive data backup and recovery process is now a critical component of every business no matter what its size. The information that businesses now generate has to be stored and then analysed for commercial opportunities.

However, as businesses have evolved, they all too often ignore how they will maintain their data backups in the event of a crisis.

Backing up isn't just a matter of copying every piece of data to a remote server. Intelligent businesses today change their entire IT infrastructure to ensure their data is safe, but also only back up the necessary data, which reduces costs and minimises the risks.

Infrastructure question

Business recovery specialist InMage explains in a white paper on the subject that businesses need to think about their entire IT infrastructure when developing their data backup services.

It says: "IT infrastructure recovery generally revolves around application and data recovery, which translates to several separate types of products: backup software that is used for local backup and restore; shipping services to transport backup tapes to remote locations; replication software that is used to replicate data to remote locations for disaster recovery purposes; and clustering products that are used to automatically recover applications when they fail (regardless of whether that is due to hardware or software failures)."

Data audit

Before a comprehensive and robust data backup service can be put in place, it's important to audit how data is stored across your business. It can be on multiple devices and servers, all of which adds to data fragmentation.

A data backup service that can be used for disaster recovery needs to have a structure that is understood and adhered to. In addition, consolidating your business's IT (such as reducing the number of servers in use) into more manageable systems, will deliver efficiency boosts, but also allow more effective data backup and recovery.

Of course, no discussion of data backup would be complete without mentioning the cloud. It is important that your business's IT is set up to handle any cloud-based storage, but don't fall into the trap of thinking that the cloud is a panacea for all your data backup and recovery woes. Like any other service it must be related to your business's actual needs.

No delays

Analyst house Forrester concludes in its report into storage trends for Dell: "Awareness of cloud technologies has also served to reduce willingness to accept restrictions or delays on storage. These factors, as well as a simple desire for better results and fewer headaches, are driving storage decision-makers to prioritise simplicity and automation in their storage evaluation criteria."

Matching the software and hardware for data backup and recovery is also important. Dell's AppAssure 5 offers a comprehensive service, which can be coupled with Dell's SonicWALL and KACE architectures to offer an end-to-end secure data backup platform.

At a practical level, it makes it possible to move and replicate data across Dell's existing platforms – from an EqualLogic array in a remote office to a Compellent array at a data recovery site.