Everything you need to know for a successful backup and disaster recovery strategy

reasons for backup and recovery

Many businesses across the UK do not test their backup and disaster recovery procedures. They assume that because they pay for it, it will work. Sadly, they are usually wrong. I will cover the reasons why backups are important, why failing to prepare means you are preparing to fail, and most importantly, why it is critical to act now, and move your back up to the cloud. 

Everybody knows that backups are important. But why? In my experience, there are five main reasons why businesses need to back up their applications.

  1. Compliance and Regulatory
    Audits are commonplace in many industries, and financial data retention policies are a standard procedure worldwide. It is important for businesses to retain both customer and financial information typically for seven years after creation, to maintain these regulations and comply with GDPR and tax reporting purposes.
  2. Failures
    The most common reason is to prevent losing data through hardware or software failure. The hardware manufacturers do not want to tell you this, but the systems crash, and the hard drives fail. Not often, but when they do, panic sets in. The software can corrupt and bring core business applications to a halt. Running on High Availability can corrupt the data at both locations, rendering the entire process unrecoverable.
  3. Disasters
    Disasters can be anything from the extreme to the precautionary. For peace of mind, to ensure against these possible occurrences, businesses should look to backup off-site regularly and have a process in place that they can recover in an alternate location with a single phone call. If your business operations stop, you could lose thousands of pounds in revenue for every minute of downtime. A Gartner study suggested that the average cost to a business for a minute of downtime was over £4,000, equating to over £240,000 lost revenue an hour. The bigger the business, the harder they fall.
  4. Human error
    I am sure I am not the only one who has accidentally deleted an important presentation hours before a big meeting. We are all human and accidents happen, but it is how you pre-empt these occurrences and efficiently recover the data that can make you the hero of the day. Having hourly, daily, and weekly backups allow you to recover from the point to the nearest hour before the incident, meaning your end-user will not have to rewrite the presentation after all!
  5. Malicious attack
    I think we can all agree 2020 and 2021 have given us enough virus worries. The last thing your business needs in the event of a malware or virus attack is being unable to recover operations immediately. From previous customer conversations, IT departments have more than enough on their hands to be worrying about the recovery of the systems. Lost customer information, damaged business reputations, amongst others – do not let operations be added to this list. These backups can also be crucial to determine when, where and how the perpetrator entered the systems in the first place.

Why test before a disaster?

If you do not test your disaster recovery process, there is a high risk you will be unable to recover in the first instance. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

If you have no proven or tested path to recovery, the odds are not in your favour. The last thing you want to find out in the event of a disaster is that the current procedure has been underspecified or has more hurdles to overcome than you first thought.

I am not suggesting all businesses need to test their recovery every month, however, I would recommend all businesses to test their disaster recovery at least once a year. You would be surprised how many do not.

Another reason is cost. If your current provider charges you in the event of a recovery, you can bet there will be a long list of hidden fees or additional extras. You want your IT team to concentrate on recovering the business correctly, not just as quick as possible, because they are under the pressure of a charged per day contract. Test days are vital in any disaster recovery contract, and it should be a red flag if your current provider is not including test days in your existing costs.

Why choose cloud recovery?

Backing-up to cloud means that you are going to be recovered on the same or greater specification of existing infrastructure. This means you will not experience any performance issues whilst your end users are working from the new environment. As the cloud is continuously refreshed to the latest and greatest technology, you are future-proofing your backup and recovery strategy. Therefore, preventing the need to find Capex costs to refresh the recovery infrastructure.

On a consumption model, you are charged for what you use, so you do not need to specify the backup infrastructure to meet all current hardware capabilities, rather just the amount of storage you are currently backing-up and the daily change rate.

Past disaster recovery contracts include a hardware ship-to-site procedure; to which a team of engineers build the hardware off-site, recover the environment from tape backups and ship the hardware to your location.

As previously stated, every minute of downtime can cost thousands of pounds. In this procedure, the best case is that the most recent hourly tape backup can be delivered to the disaster recovery provider within 4 hours, built by the engineers in 4 hours, and shipped to back to site within 4 hours. Which means you are looking at around 12 hours of downtime. Ability to recover from an active cloud can reduce this recovery time significantly, typically for a much cheaper price.

Some businesses are still paying over the odds for workplace recovery; a service which provisions seats in an off-site location for critical members of staff to be able to work from in the event of a disaster causing them to be unable to work from the office.

There were not many positives to come from 2020, however, the roll-out of working from home have meant that 82% of employers say employees can work remotely in 2021. Businesses can recuperate some of the expenditure of these remote working projects by removing workplace recovery and transforming to a cloud recovery with employees working from home.

Server parts kept in stock at Blue Chip

How Blue Chip can help?

We can guarantee the backups are secure and are being proactively monitored 24x7x365. Being a UK-managed service provider, we are risk-averse and provision to meet the strictest compliance regulations. Our cloud backup runs in our privately owned tier III data centre, of which we own the land it vacates, employ the engineers within, and set the procedures to maintain full control of our supply chain, relying on zero third parties to deliver this service.

The backups are only part of the solution, the most important part is the recovery. We manage every aspect of the recovery process, utilising our UK-based engineers and infrastructure experts. We want to take on all the responsibility so that in the event of a true disaster you can concentrate on managing your internal and external customers.

With site-to-site VPN connectivity and two days testing per annum as standard, we encourage our customers to test the procedure and find the hurdles before the true disaster, not during. We provide certification upon each successful recovery test to give your board, compliance team or auditors the reassurance that the recovery procedure works and can recover critical operations quickly. We have an easy invocation process, utilising our UK-based 24x7x365 service desk to take your call, whenever you need us.

Lastly, our price. Blue Chip’s ownership of our data centres, our in-house skills and minimal third parties allow us to offer extremely competitive pricing, that we think you will be presently surprised with. We propose a solution to meet your needs, not boxing you into service groups. We do not hide the fact cloud providers make their money on the economy as a scale, so, with over one hundred UK businesses already using our services, we can keep your costs down. We believe in upfront pricing with no hidden or additional invocation charges, meaning you can budget accordingly and not be left with a surprise bill at the end of an already difficult experience of recovering from a disaster.

Handling server parts at Blue Chip

Summary

Backups are the backbone to the continuity of your business, however the way you manage the recovery process from these backups is what is critical. If you are not already scheduling regular tests for your disaster recovery process, then schedule one today.

Test your current process, review your contract, and ask yourself: What would be the impact on the profitability and reputation of my business be should I not be unable to recover critical operations in a secure and timely manner? Our whole ethos is to keep you operational and profitable when it is needed most. Get in touch today.

Disaster recovery from tape

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