Backup Strategies Need to Consider Recovery
Why do you create backups? So that you can restore them when necessary. That means a backup process is about more than simply creating a duplicate copy of your systems and data; it means having those duplicate copies available when you need them. The backup process needs to keep copies available and allow you to restore them safely and efficiently when you need them.
To do that, your backup process needs to incorporate these features:
The criticality of backups means you don’t want to rely on a manual process that is vulnerable to errors. Manual processes may mean errors in mounting backup media or typing the commands to create the backup. Manual processes also mean that errors may go undetected until the absolute worst moment for discovering them: when you need to restore from a backup that isn’t there.
Part of making the backup process automated means making the backups scheduled. The schedule you use should match the requirements of specific workloads and not be a simple end-of-day strategy across all your systems. Critical systems may need to be backed up more frequently, whether through snapshots or other methods. The schedule you create needs to define not just when you create backups, but what kind of backup. Full versus incremental or differential backups affect both the time to create the backup and the time to restore from the backup.
Automation and schedules don’t mean that you don’t need the ability to perform backup tasks manually. There may be a special situation that requires intervention. In particular, the ability to restore from backups needs the flexibility to manually select the scope of the backup. Restoring the minimum amount of data necessary to recover the lost data should be quickest, but isn’t always simplest.
It’s sometimes overlooked, but backups are valuable resources—they contain all your business’ data! This means they need to be treated with high levels of security. They should be physically protected, to ensure no one can simply walk off with backup media, and they should be encrypted, to ensure that no one who obtains access can simply read their contents. Access and use should also be controlled to ensure backups aren’t used to destroy current data or to corrupt their contents. Find a way to keep data secure that doesn’t conflict with obtaining rapid access to them when they’re needed in a crisis.
There are two future-facing considerations to keep in mind when you create your backups. First, how long do you want or need to retain each backup? This may be driven by regulatory considerations as well as the business’ sense of how much data it can afford to lose. Second, make sure you can continue to create backups in the long-term by doing appropriate capacity planning and making sure you have the media and physical space needed to backup data sets as they grow over the years.
Does your backup thinking stop once the data is copied to backup storage, or have you thought through these issues around using and restoring data from them? Prescient Solutions offers disaster recovery solutions that ensure backups are usable when your business needs them most. Contact us to learn how to create a backup strategy that ensures backups support data recovery.