Henrik Larsen
Henrik Larsen, Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

Managing risks

What Backup Recovery Measures Do You Have For Your Business?

Reading Phil Joel's post about how he does backups got me thinking that the notion of having to do backups and consider Disaster Recovery (DR) for your company probably is one of those "please go away" issues that most people would rather see the back of.

So that got me wondering... What do you have in place in terms of continuity measures? For example, Backup & Recovery, DR, Business continuity processes (BCP) and how often do you actually test your recovery procedures?

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7 Answers

Peter Jones

Peter Jones , Founder at LinkSmart

Hi,

I agree with the above comment.
I used to work in systems support for Telstra and Australia Post. We missed the most important point of backups. It's not the backup that's the issues (thats simple, see above) the real issue is restoring tha data. We found:
1. We did not backup all or correct data (including drivers etc)
2. We could not restore the data (corruption and/or access)
3. If your operating system goes how can you get access to the data. That is, do you have a boot disk, will it allow you access to the cloud or even your USB drives.
The porblem is most of us are to scare to delete current data and restoring from backup to see if it works:)

Regards
Peter

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Andrew Tucker

Henrick,

You do have a point about data sovereignty. We come across it quite a bit for companies that are using either Office 365 or Google apps who deal with personal data. These companies tend to be in the financial and medical fields where personal data is their business. Dropbox is a great tool to synchronise between the number of devices, but is definitely not secure and I would not suggest you leave your data in Dropbox especially if it is sensitive. Box.net is in my mind more designed for businesses but is a lot more pricey. Another alternative is to look at a EMC offering called Carbonite (http://www.carbonite.com/ ), the pricing is extremely competitive and very easy-to-use as a true online backup. The last option is to have everything running in a local cloud, one that you are able to see and touch with inside Australia. All you need is a device, iPad, Google pad, notebook or desktop as long as it has a web browser as everything runs in the cloud. All your backups and DR are taking care of,  so if your computer is stolen or lost all you need to do is get a new one and log back on. No downtime at all. So you can see that there are a number of really good alternatives and options but understanding your tolerance to downtime or loss of data should drive your decision.  And always remember to do a fire test, in other words run a test restore to make sure that you can in case of emergency actually get your data back :-)  

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David Solomon

David Solomon , Business Performance Strategist at Quiddity

I back everything up to an external drive on a weekly basis. It takes a while but I've had too many computer meltdowns to risk not doing it. It's like brushing your teeth - you resent the time whilst doing it, but you wouldn't not do it. It's mostly automated but I make sure the key files are done by me. I also use Dropbox for shared files, and sometimes Google docs. 

Remember though, whatever backup system you use, you need to check that what gets backed up is useable!

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Micha Wotton

Micha Wotton , Head of Development at SavvySME

For my personal data, a lot of the information I access regularly is in the cloud with a Google account (including Google Drive), Dropbox and Sugarsync. Information I access less regularly, or large files like photos and videos, I have stored on several drives. My biggest concern here is the lack of an offsite option. I am considering Amazon Glacier to store my critical digital photos and videos.

When it comes to data retention in the cloud, there are 3 primary concerns:

  • Reliability - the most important.
  • Availability - Having your data backed up is no help if you can't retrieve it
  • Affordability - Depending on the amount of data you need stored, cloud based backup can get quite costly.
  • One interesting newcomer to this space is the Amazon Glacier service I mentioned above. It meets the first and third requirements very well. Amazon's AWS is known to be very reliable, and Glacier is extremely affordable - storing 100GB of data for 12 months will cost in the vicinity of $12 depending on which region you choose. However, where Glacier might not meet requirements is when you consider availability. Glacier is described as a 'data archiving service', with a retrieval time of 3-5 hours before you can even begin downloading your data. In addition, Glacier looks like it will require a moderate level of technical knowledge to set up and retrieve data.

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    Phil Joel

    Phil Joel , Director at SavvySME

    That's a very good question Henrik. From my experience, this usually falls into the too-hard basket as there are always other higher priority issues to deal with.

    At SavvySME, all of our Applications are hosted which puts the responsibility back with the providers such as Google, Dropbox, Xero, Github.

    We pay them a subscription fee for this feature which I think people will only appreciate when a disaster occurs. If we were to build this feature ourselves, it would have been costly and detracted us from our primary focus. 

    Other businesses that have on-premise systems that cannot be hosted would need to seriously look into this otherwise they are leaving themselves exposed.

    Will be interesting to see how others are approaching this.

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    Henrik Larsen

    Henrik Larsen , Director at IePlus Pty Ltd

    Good points Micha, To add to the cloud concerns, I guess security in the cloud is still debatable, Also call me paranoid but when shifting large amounts of potentially sensitive data to the cloud I would like to be sure it is not in any way shape or form being "mined" by the cloud providers..

    Lastly there is that issue about bandwidth getting that initial full backup into the cloud if you want to use it as a DR solution you potentially could rebuild a full server from.. but... allegedly that will be fixed by the NBN rollout.... soon...ish! 

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    Wendy Huang

    Wendy Huang , Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

    I actually just put everything in a dropbox or google drive so to me that is a back-up recovery solution. 

    This is because I use multiple devices like mobile and laptop and desktop across different operating systems like windows and Mac so cloud is pretty much my best solution.

    Don't know what I'd do if dropbox or google crashes! Fingers crossed!

    Hadrien Brassens

    Hadrien Brassens , Co-founder at Reef Digital Agency

    Been doing the same, but I find both services to be extremely slow to synchronise. We have them installed on several computers in the office and there is always... read more
    Been doing the same, but I find both services to be extremely slow to synchronise. We have them installed on several computers in the office and there is always a lag (of several hours!) for all computers to be updated. Looking for a different service now with real time sync.
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