Safeguard your company with business continuity and backup plans

Protection of your business’ data is critical to the life of your business, no matter its size, industry, or location. To fully safeguard your data, you must not only perform consistent back ups, but also ensure business continuity with reliable solutions to eliminate costly downtime in the event of a disaster.

Among the many different types of data backup solutions out there, it is imperative you find the right one for your business and make the implementation of data backup and a business continuity plan a priority for your organisation.

No Backup Plan? It’ll Cost You

It can cost an organisation anywhere from $9,000 - $700,000 per every hour of downtime due to network outages. A business will lose an average of roughly $164,000 for each hour of downtime. Downtime is caused by network outages (50 per cent), human error (45 per cent), and natural disasters (10 per cent).

Looking at the cause of downtime by data volume, human error ranks number one at 58 per cent. This means companies need to worry less about natural disasters and more about their own employees. (So don’t avoid data protection just because your business is located in a sunny climate!)

What Do You Stand to Lose?

Even with all of the education that has been published on the importance of data protection, a whopping 75 per cent of small/medium sized businesses still have no disaster recovery plan, and a mere 25 per cent say they are confident in their ability to restore any lost or compromised data. Some businesses continue to back up less than 60 per cent of their data. The other 40 per cent of that data is not protected at all.

Because of this inadequate protection, 35 per cent of small/medium sized businesses have lost around $500,000 thanks to downtime (3 per cent lost over $1 million). Sadly, 40 per cent of all businesses permanently shut down after suffering data loss, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that within two years of a debacle, over 90 per cent of businesses fail.

Even with today’s superior technology and solutions available, more than 60 per cent of small/medium sized businesses are still shipping data tapes to a storage facility or another location, a highly antiquated and cumbersome process. On the other hand, 20 per cent of small/medium sized businesses are backing up via the cloud.

Cloud or Local Backup?

Local backup for business continuity is a fast and easy method for restoring data. But if there is a power outage, the device fails or is stolen or damaged, then the cloud is the better bet. However, there are risks using only the cloud for backup. Restoring data from the cloud, which isn’t always failsafe, can be laborious and touch, and you can’t control the bandwidth.

Luckily there is a hybrid-cloud solution to consider. This has the advantage of both local backup and cloud security. Hybrid-cloud solutions first copy and store your data on a local device so you can do a fast and easy restore from that device, while also duplicating your data in the cloud. So if something were to happen to that device, your data is also copied off-site in the cloud. You’re covered twofold.

The Difference between Data Backup and Business Continuity

Data backup keeps your data safe and allows you to restore it in the event of a system failure, while business continuity looks farther into the future – it’s a plan to continue operations if a physical place of business is affected by disaster whether a short term disaster or a kind of devastating catastrophe that can cause permanent loss of a building.

Business continuity is just as important as backing up your data, since it’s a plan to get your business back to normal operations in a timely manner in the event of a disaster. Your business could be down for a large amount of time if you have to replace a server with file-level backup, as well as re-install software and data, and configured the entire system with your settings and preferences. It’s highly unlikely your business can afford to be down for such a significant time.

Business continuity involves a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The calculation of your desired RTO (duration of time within which a business must be back up and running to avoid disastrous repercussions) helps you understand the maximum amount of time you have to restore your data before putting your business at risk. The determination of the RPO tells you how often you must perform backups. The calculations will help you determine the right type of data backup solution for your business.

After you figure out your RPO and RTO, you must calculate what your costs will be from any downtime and data loss. This calculation requires you add the average wage-per-hour, overhead-per-hour, and revenue-per-hour. There is also a free online RTO Calculator that will give you RPO, RTO and downtime costs. Knowing these costs will confirm your need to purchase a business continuity solution.

Image vs. File-Only Backup

A file-based backup lets you pick and choose exactly which files you want to back up and save to an on-site device or to the cloud. This pick-and-choose method can be risky because it’s easy to miss or forget to save files you meant to save.

Image-based backup captures a picture of your data, providing exact replications of what is stored on a server. A server can be restored in minutes vs. the hours or days required to get a new server, and install and configure the operating system.

Conclusion

Consider what a good business continuity solution includes:

  • Hybrid cloud backup - strengthens the vulnerabilities possessed by a cloud- or local-only
  • Superior RTO and RPO – Consider a business continuity plan and calculate RTO (how much downtime your business can stand to survive) and RPO (how much data your business can afford to lose)
  • Image-based backup - Ensure your backup solution takes pictures of all data and systems rather than simply copies files.

Implement a business continuity plan and data backup solution, and save your organisation thousands of dollars by avoiding potentially devastating (and possibly permanent) downtime.

Brent Whitfield, CEO of DCG Technical Solutions, Inc

Image source: Shutterstock/Maksim Kabakou