Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Do You Have an Effective IT Back Up Strategy?

Most business owners who have any sort of significant investment in information technology will have an understanding of the importance of what are called "data backups".

Broadly speaking, those backups entail making sure that regular copies of all of your key data are taken and stored somewhere safe and secure. The logic behind that is simple - if your installation or site suffers a catastrophe and you lose most of your data then you should be able to quickly restore it back to a specified point in time from your off-site backups.

In the old days, that was a fairly tedious process involving things such as tapes and separate disks but today it can be done almost entirely transparently online through things such as cloud backup services etc.

However, what some organisations are less aware of is that their IT back up strategy needs to include more than just data provisions. For example, if a disaster hits your premises and largely lays waste to your office environment, having lots of copies of your data may not count for much if you have nowhere to install them because your PCs and file servers have all been destroyed.

Couldn't happen to you?

Well, let's hope it doesn't but it most certainly could do. Things such as fire, flood or storms can all devastate your business premises or equipment and everything needs to be thought about in totality rather than just focusing exclusively on your data - important as that is.

Your IT backup strategy should be an integral part of your overall business continuity plan. So, it should contain headings relating to just how your business would cope in the event that some form of disaster removed your:

  • File servers, PCs, laptops, routers, communication equipment, office cabling, printers, scanners and just about any other item of IT hardware that you can see sitting around your business premises.

  • Physical premises. After something like a fire or flood, your offices could be physically unusable due to health and safety restrictions. So, even if your IT equipment wasn't actually destroyed, you would need somewhere else to put it - and quickly if your business was to continue operating.

  • Applications environment. Remember that your day-to-day IT operations may be driven by things such as applications software (e.g. programs) which you may have purchased off the shelf or which were built specifically for you. That is all going to need to be backed up somewhere in addition to your data.

  • People. Yes, it is a horrible thought but remember that a disaster could result in the death of or injury to, some of your key technical personnel. If they and they alone have the specialist knowledge to keep your IT environment running, then their absence may well bring your operations to a grinding halt.

Covering of all of these eventualities is within the scope of a full IT backup strategy or as it is sometimes called, a disaster recovery plan. This is really about far more than thinking simply about Cloud backup services to protect your data.

Preparing such a plan is a specialized task the one that requires somebody with significant experience in this domain. If you have previously done little or nothing to protect your interests in these areas, it might be worth thinking about doing so now.

By V. Sood

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