There are numerous backup strategies. Some are attractive for their affordability, some for their comprehensiveness, but regardless of the strategy you use, it will need to fit the kind of work that you do. Some businesses need to make considerations for the amount of data that is created, and what would happen if it were lost. This is where an operational backup strategy comes into play. Let’s take a look at what that means.
Let’s start at the beginning. You know your data, and you know what data you need. One thing that your average employee will not consider in the course of their work is what would happen to it if their workstation--or your company’s server in which they store the information--suddenly fails. They take for granted that you have that under control, right?
But, can you?
Can you guarantee that your workstations and servers are protected from unexpected power surges? Can you guarantee that a component in your server doesn’t just go kaput, leaving you scrambling for contingency?
You can’t, and that’s why you need to have an operational backup strategy in place. Operational backup is using incremental and differential backups to ensure that when something does happen--including system failure, user error, and everything in between--that your organization has a copy of the data that is, at least, close to current. This strategy doesn’t just speak to production data either, it can literally save business communication, marketing data, you name it. For this reason it is a major part of any realistic business continuity strategy.
The best way to explain why operational backups are so important is to talk about the context where a restore would be most needed. While we don’t have any statistics to throw out at you, you’d have to agree that the cause of most data restores is human error. Once we can agree on that, it explains succinctly why operational backups are so important. The times when data is restored isn’t from a flood washing away your entire server room, it’s from a member of your staff deleting a file, or a folder, or a VM, that they shouldn’t have deleted and you have to restore from backup to get it back.
Another crucial component of your business: email, needs to be covered by an operational backup strategy. Many people use their email to store important files; and, it’s fairly common to delete a message that you end up needing. By having an up-to-date backup of your email server, deleted messages can be restored quickly.
An operational backup strategy can also protect settings through systems like Active Directory. Administrators have some pressure on them to ensure that the data represented there is 100 percent accurate, as it plays a huge role in access control and security. For this reason, information can get deleted and lock employees out of certain things. Since Active Directory is such a crucial system, however, operational backups are needed so the entire platform doesn’t have to be restored and reconfigured.
One major problem that businesses have with their operational recovery strategies is the speed in which the data can be recovered. Some backup platforms make it difficult to back up a single file or folder if it is deployed in a virtualized environment. With many businesses using partitioned hardware, it’s crucial that the Virtual Machines running on the hardware are able to be backed up and restored the same as they would be if they were simply hosted directly on a network-attached machine.
With disaster recovery being an important consideration for any business with dynamic backups, sometimes operational backups are relegated to conventional restoration methods rather than the more dynamic methods required to keep data contingency systems agile. To counter this, it is important to set up your backup system in a manner that values fast recovery of operational files/folders.
To learn more about how to keep your backup and recovery strategies working for your business (and not against it), call MERIT Solutions today at (757) 420-5150.