Backup and recovery is one of the most important tasks that fall to the IT service desk. Everyone in the company looks to those backups to save them from those “oops!” times and to protect the business’ interests if something serious happens. Is your team up to the task? Here’s what you need to keep in mind when backups seem redundant, routine, and more of a waste of time than a critical undertaking.
1. Where Backups Fit Into the Disaster Recovery Plan
Backups are not an entire disaster recovery plan, and the disaster recovery plan is just one part of the overall business continuity plan. While backups are essential, and can get your company and its workers out of more than a few binds, you can’t simply back up your systems and assume you’re covered for everything that business continuity and disaster recovery entail. Review your continuity and disaster plans regularly. Update those as circumstances and technologies within the organization change. Then update and revise your backup solutions to match the latest version of your plans.
2. Onsite Backups Aren’t Sufficient
A stack of tapes or a few external hard drives stacked in the back closet of IT does not constitute a good backup plan. Offsite backups are essential, because the very disasters that might threaten your network will also pose a threat to your backups. Cloud-based backups are the ideal offsite backup solution because cloud storage is inexpensive, scalable as data sets grow, and convenient to use.
Also, make sure you’re backing up extras like your IT asset management systems, which will be crucial if a disaster recovery process is required. A thorough backup allows the recovery team to get your systems up and running hours quicker than a backup of the data only.
3. You Have to Limit Access to Backups Just Like Your Other Systems
It’s easy to forget that backups are essentially another set of your data — and require the same levels of security. For example, if data on your systems is encrypted, use encryption in your backups. If data access within the system requires two-factor authentication, the backup should as well. No one who doesn’t have access to your networks and systems should be able to get to your backups, either.
4. Don’t Forget Backup for Remote and Offsite Devices
Do you have a backup plan for remote devices and any devices used and kept offsite? Remote workers’ devices carry sensitive information that also needs to be stored along with your internal data. Technology is available to allow you to access those remote devices, copy and back up the data, and even wipe data remotely in the event a device is lost or stolen.
5. It’s the Little, Everyday Issues That Usually Get You
Another common mistake when developing a backup solution and disaster recovery plan is thinking only in terms of ‘worst case scenario‘. Usually, it isn’t the devastating disaster that gets you, it’s the everyday mishaps. Someone deletes a critical file, or perhaps saves one file over another by accident. Or, a worker leaves the organization, his emails get deleted, and then a subpoena arrives demanding copies of all those old emails. Make sure your plans cover the little daily mishaps, not just the seriously devastating disasters.
Has your team thought through all of the potential needs for accessing your backup? Knowing why and how you usually use backups is an excellent way to prepare plans for future needs and situations.