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How to devise a data recovery plan that will save your business

If your business suffered a catastrophic data loss, would you be prepared?

Many businesses fail to plan for such a possibility. In fact, the statistics are quite worrying; with nearly half of business who are victims of complete data loss never recovering after the disaster.

That's what makes putting an excellent data recovery strategy in place so important. Failing to plan is planning to fail after all.

To help you on your way, here are some top tips on how to put together a fool proof data recovery plan (DRP) for your business.

1. Work out what your data recovery needs are

To start, you need to think of data recovery as critical for your business. It is likely that your data is what separates you from your competition, and so if data loss did occur you might feel the reverberations across your business.

Think about how your business would survive such a disaster. From there you can work out what provisions you have, and want to put in place to ensure your business can continue running smoothly and efficiently after a catastrophic loss.

2. Consider and understand the risks involved

Thinking about all the potential ways data loss could occur is a good way to start working out how you are going to protect yourself from the threat. It could be something as simple as the files being accidentally deleted, or your entire data centre could collapse for no easily apparent reason. The failure of IT is one of the most common threats to most businesses, and you need to be prepared.

From electrical, software or hardware failure, to the threat of natural disasters and fire. Make a note of the ways in which data loss could occur and then move on to ensuring you are covered.

3. Ask how critical your data is and how easily it can be recovered.

Make a comprehensive assessment of how critical your data is and use this to create a recovery strategy that is tiered to ensure all infrastructure levels can be recovered.

You'll also need to know just how easily you can recover files. Data backup is a standard requirement for all businesses, and traditional tape backup is no longer a good option as it is neither cost effective nor reliable. Cloud backup will allow you to instantly access files in case of data loss and will save resources and lower costs.

5. Assess the impact of a server failure and how systems would be recovered

When looking at data recovery you need to think about the maximum amount of time you can afford to be down before the effect on your business operations is considered critical. In your DRP you should define how important systems are, what the possibility of failure is and how much you will spend to lower downtime.

You'll also need to look at the process of re-installing your system, along with its updates, packs, applications, and device drivers. This could take anywhere from hours to days, which is very likely to impinge on your recovery time. Real talk? You could be down for over a week, and you need to prepare for that possibility.

6 What impact does downtime have on your business?

Loss of business is a common effect for those who must try and run without a system. Consider if your emails went down what would happen? Or what if your website fails, and customers are faced with an inactive site? The longer things are not working, the more potential there is for your company to lose customers and money.

As part of your data recovery plan, look at all the possible impacts of downtime. Once you've got this, you can move onto how you will reduce downtime and limit loss.

7. Work out which system recovery method is best for you

To back up your entire system you need bare metal recovery. This will allow you to retrieve your OS, application software, and data in a single go. This will reduce your recovery time by a substantial amount. It also allows you to recover both similar and dissimilar hardware. Online disk backup [link] enables you to increase the number of times you backup, which will ensure you keep on top of ever changing data. As this is a real-time protection solution, with tiered recovery architecture, you will maintain a high level of flexibility and, in the long run, save money.

Another potential backup method you could employ is Continuous Data Protection (CDP), which will improve the amount of time it takes to completely recover a system after a failure. CDP will backup data extremely quickly across a LAN to your onsite vault, while also backing up to a vault offsite at the same time. This gives you an extra level of protection for on-site disasters. 

8. Think about how your network and telephony would survive a catastrophe

While creating a fool proof data recovery policy will ensure your data against disaster, have you considered what would happen if your network or telephony fails?

Network infrastructure is generally of vital importance to keep your business running, and a failure on site will knock out both data and network. You can mitigate the risk by hosting your network with a service provider [link] that gives you a complete managed solution for recovery of your network.

In fact, managed hosting is your best bet to ensure business continuity after data loss. You can host your systems, information, and network offsite in the cloud, and keep your telephony systems protected in the same way.

At Xenace we offer a completely managed IT solutions to keep your entire business infrastructure safe, as well as helping you 24/7 and providing extra resources where needed.

Talk to the team via telephone or email to find out more.

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