Where is your backup?

Backup, DR (disaster recovery), recovery as a service – all terms that most of us in the DC metro area are intimately familiar with after the last few years of weather anomalies such as the hurricane, earthquake and derecho.  We all know we need to put our valuable data somewhere and service providers are lining up at our doors with their version of data protection and business continuity.  So, we have to ask ourselves which one is the best fit and where on earth should that service live?  In order to better answer that question let’s looks at what the different options are. First of all, you can use an online backup service where agents are loaded on servers to back up the data to a repository that lives somewhere in the Cloud.  This solution can be very cost effective and gives you a level of data protection that you would not have if you were backing up on premise.

The next option is very similar to what was just described but has the added benefit of a system restore.  This means you not only have your data available but you also have a snapshot of the operating system and programs.  So now if you need to restore your data you will have everything your need – except the physical or virtual home for it.

Lastly, we have a virtual replication of your servers that lives in the cloud.  You determine the backup schedule in order to meet recovery point and recovery time objectives.  This recovery service can be tested at will and typically includes a local device that houses a copy of the data that can also be failed over to in the event you experience a hardware disaster.

No matter which option you decide best fits the needs of your organization it is important that you not only know where you are backing up to but that you also have a plan to retrieve your data.  Think about a regional disaster where hundreds or thousands of customers are trying to restore from a backup service.  Will they have enough bandwidth to accommodate everyone or can they provide a copy of your data that is seeded to a physical hard drive?  And probably the most critical decision you will make is not to house the backup on the same platform as the primary, or even better, go with a completely different service provider for an added layer of redundancy.