Disaster Recovery: When the Cloud Beats Physical Backups
Much has been written about how to plan for disaster recovery, but why do you need to consider disaster recovery at all? What is so important about it to a business? Why can’t you just copy everything to a secondary device and stop worrying? IT departments often get caught in the trap of relying on physical backups, thinking, “I back up everything on external storage and our systems are in a safe area. What more do I need?”
When it comes to disaster recovery, you can never be too prepared. I worked for one company—we’ll call them Company A—who thought that they were ready for the worst. But even the best laid back up plans can go wrong when you rely only on physical media:
Company A religiously backed up their servers on tapes every night. After the technician ran the nightly backup, they placed the tapes next to the server, locked the doors, and went home, comfortable in the knowledge that their data was secure. One night, after everyone went home, an electrical fire broke out, destroying the server and the backup tapes. All of their data was lost, despite their diligence.
This story is very similar to businesses that have lost important data or even had to close their doors due to not preparing for unexpected catastrophes.
These are all reasons why it is highly recommended that you backup your files and systems offsite and the cloud is the most cost-effective and the one of the safest ways to do so. The mistake that Company A made is easy to overlook; they stored their backups in the same building as their server. While this will be useful if they lose the server due to a technical issue, it does nothing to protect them if they lose the building and the backups themselves.
There are three main things that you need to prepare for when it comes to disaster recovery; loss of location/workspace, loss of personnel, and hardware failure. Ask yourself:
- What will I do if I lose access to the building I work in or it is damaged/destroyed?
- What do I do if my staff leave suddenly?
- What do I do in the event of hardware failure/destruction?
The cloud can help answer questions 1 and 3. If you store your backups online, your data is safe and accessible no matter what happens to the physical components of the business.
Posted by: Service Coordinator Alexa Medhus