What may seem like a no-brainer for larger organizations and corporations, for the small or midsized business, setting up a disaster recovery plan can often be deprioritized in favor of what may seem like more pressing concerns. However, this can be a very dangerous mistake. According to an estimate from the Small Business Administration, 43 percent of small businesses never recover after an IT disaster. This is hardly surprising; if you lose the contents of your customer database, for example, you have effectively lost your entire business. The stark fact is that no SMB can withstand a major data loss, particularly the loss of vital client information.
Good security can help but it’s simply not possible to guard against every conceivable type of incident or act of God that might affect your IT resources. If there’s a natural disaster, for example, it’s quite possible for all of your in-house IT systems to be destroyed beyond hope of recovery — data and all, putting your business and its customers in a very bad place.
It is essential to have a “plan b” that involves backing up all of your company’s vital information. At the same time it also must be kept in mind that a data recovery plan doesn’t just mean making these backups. If your company’s backups are inadequate (for example, if they don’t contain sufficient data, or if they are too infrequent to keep the information up to date) you may not be able to restore your information completely and effectively, as well as sustain business continuity. One of the most important aspects to keep in mind is if your backups are located in the same physical location as the rest of your IT resources (e.g. on-premise), they are then vulnerable to the same disasters and accidents that could take down your network.
To recap: an effective disaster recovery plan needs to include backups with adequate amounts of data and needs to be regular and frequent. In addition, it also needs to involve online back-up to an offsite location.
An increasingly popular solution to the problem of how and where to make and store backups has been to virtualize back-up solutions, moving them to the cloud. By storing data on cloud-based systems, a company can ensure that it is in a remote physical location where your data is safe and secure. Most cloud storage solutions also offer automation to ensure that backups are made with sufficient frequency on a daily or hourly basis.
There are other advantages to cloud-based backup solutions. Your IT systems are more than the contents of your databases; more and more SMBs are recognizing the advantages of creating virtual mirrors of entire systems. In this kind of model, an entire computer, whether a standard desktop or a virtual machine running on a server, can be duplicated and stored in the cloud — not just data, but the entire operating system and all installed software, complete with settings. Should anything happen to that computer, the last known good version of the backup can be immediately loaded either onto the same hardware if it’s still functional, onto different hardware, or onto a virtual machine if not. The same can be done for whole networks of computers, meaning that a company’s entire IT can be rebuilt in a matter of hours.
This type of disaster recovery makes a great deal of sense to businesses of all sizes, but especially to small and medium-sized businesses. No business can afford massive data loss or lengthy periods of downtime. While some are still leery of the cloud in general, other large businesses and SMBs are wholeheartedly embracing cloud-based solutions as a cost-effective way to meet their disaster recovery and backup needs.
Get in touch with us to learn more about online backup solutions.