Businesses and organizations quickly realize three things in the course of their daily operations: any computer system can fail; anyone can make mistakes; incidents seem to happen when you least expect or are least prepared for them. As a result, data backup and recovery are critical to a company's success. Businesses need to plan and have data backup systems in place in case the worst happens, long before it does. Data backup systems that work well use an off-site server or separate drives to store your massive amounts of information. Without these systems in place, data recovery becomes difficult, resulting in a loss of information when the worst happens.
What are data backup and recovery?Data backup and recovery is the process of backing up your data in case of loss and setting up security systems that allow you to restore your data accordingly. Data backup involves copying and archiving computer data to make it accessible in the event of data corruption or deletion. You can only restore data from a previous date if you have backed it up. Data backup is a form of disaster recovery, making it an essential part of any sensible disaster recovery plan. Data backup cannot always restore all the data and settings on your system. For example, computer clusters, database servers, or Active Directory servers may require additional types of disaster recovery because a backup and restore may not fully reconstruct the data. Today, you can back up a significant amount of data using cloud storage; therefore, archiving your data to a local system's hard drive or external storage is not necessary. In addition, you can configure your mobile devices using cloud technologies to enable automatic data recovery.
Off-site servers or independent drives
Backup and recovery in the cloudCloud backup, or online backup, refers to a data backup strategy that involves sending a copy of your primary data over a public or proprietary network to an off-site server. The server is typically hosted by a third-party service provider (CSP) that charges you a fee based on bandwidth, capacity, or number of users. Implementing data backup in the cloud can help you strengthen your organization's data protection strategy without adding additional workload to your IT staff. The cloud backup process copies data and then stores it on various media or on a separate storage system that allows easy access in the event of a recovery situation. There are several options, including:
- Backing up your data directly to the public cloud. This involves saving data directly to a cloud infrastructure provider.
- Backing up your data to a service provider. In this case, you register data with a CSP that offers backup services in its managed data center.
- The cloud-to-cloud backup option is for data that lives in the cloud in SaaS (software as a service) applications. This method copies your data to another cloud.
Backup or restoration
- Physical Backup: This is a copy of the physical database files such as data, control files, log files, and archived redo logs. It is a copy of the files that store the database information in another location and forms the basis of the database recovery mechanism.
- Logical backup: It contains the logical data extracted from a database and consists of tables, procedures, views, functions, etc. However, keeping a logical backup alone is not recommended or useful because it only provides structural information.
Types of data backupWhile the idea of data backup may be simple, implementing an effective and efficient strategy can be difficult. Backup software applications are developed to reduce the complexity associated with backup and recovery operations. Remember, backup is not the goal. It is simply a means to an end, which is to protect your data. The most commonly used types of backup are:
- Full Backup: This is a basic, full backup operation that makes a copy of all your data onto another set of media such as a disk, tape, or CD. Therefore, a complete copy of all your data is available in one set of media. This takes longer to perform and requires a lot of storage space, so this type of backup is usually used in combination with a differential or incremental backup.
- Incremental backup: This operation copies only the data that has changed since your last backup operation. A backup application will record and keep track of the time and date that all backup operations take place. This operation is faster and requires less storage media.
- Differential backup: Similar to an incremental type, this backup copies all data that has changed from a previous backup, but each time it runs, it continues to copy all data that has changed since the previous full backup.
Importance of data backup and recoveryThe purpose of a backup is to create copies of data that you can restore when your primary data fails. Primary data failures can result from several issues, including software or hardware failure, human-induced events, data corruption, malicious attacks, and accidental deletion of data. Therefore, backups allow you to restore your data from an earlier point in time to help your business recover quickly from an unexpected event. Storing a copy of your data on separate media is necessary to prevent corruption or loss. The alternate media can be as simple as a USB flash drive or external drive, or more substantial, such as a tape drive, disk storage media, or a cloud storage container. You can either place the alternate media in the same location as your primary data or store it remotely. If you are located in an area with a high possibility of weather-related events, using a remote location is warranted. For best results, make your backups regularly and consistently to minimize the amount of data lost between backups. This means that the more time that passes between your backups, the more data you are likely to lose when restoring after a failure. So don't wait months to make your backups. In addition, keeping multiple copies of your data gives you the flexibility and assurance to restore your systems at a time when they were not affected by malicious attacks or data corruption.
What is disaster recovery backup?In IT, disaster recovery (DR) is part of security planning and is developed in conjunction with a business continuity plan. It refers to policies and procedures that focus on protecting an organization or business from any significant effects in the event of an adverse event, which may include device or building failures, cyber-attacks, or natural disasters. Disaster recovery is critical in designing strategies that can help your organization quickly recover its hardware, applications, and data to ensure business continuity. It is sometimes considered a subset of business continuity. Designing an appropriate disaster recovery plan requires the preparation of a thorough business impact analysis and risk assessment. These steps help identify the specific IT services that can support your organization's critical business activities. They also help define recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives. Incident recovery measures can be classified into three categories as follows:
- Preventive measures: are designed to prevent an event from occurring.
- Corrective measures: are put in place to correct a system in the event of a disaster or negative event.
- Detection measures: focus on the discovery and detection of negative events.
The importance of disaster recovery (DR)Disaster recovery enables your organization to maintain or quickly resume critical functions after a disaster occurs. Today's businesses have become more dependent and accustomed to high availability, while tolerance for downtime has decreased dramatically. As a result, a disaster can have devastating effects on your business, especially in today's highly competitive markets. Since businesses will likely fail after experiencing a significant data loss, disaster recovery has become a critical component of operations. Recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) are two metrics used in DR and downtime.
- RTO: refers to the maximum time after a disaster for your organization to recover its files from backup storage and return to normal operations. In other words, RTO is the maximum downtime your organization can handle. If your organization's RTO is two hours, it can't afford to be down any longer.
- RPO: refers to the maximum age of files your organization must recover from its backup storage to resume normal operations after a disaster. The RPO will determine your minimum backup frequency. For example, if your organization's RPO is five hours, your system must back up data at least every five hours.
Why do you need a data backup and disaster recovery plan?
- All data is a target: whether you're a lawyer, dentist, pet store manager, or Fortune 500 company, your data is always vulnerable to threats. Accidents, viruses, malware, and hackers don't mess around. They'll attack your business for any number of reasons, such as settling scores, acquiring sensitive data, or just because they can.
- It's easy to lose data: many data losses occur as a result of hardware malfunctions or human error, as opposed to natural disasters. This means that your data is very easy to lose.
- Some data is priceless: some of your business data cannot be restored once it is lost.
- Downtime is no fun: data loss causes downtime because, without that data, it becomes extremely difficult for your employees to work. It's hard to manage customers without their account status and contact information or work without any of your critical business applications. Without a good recovery solution in place, your recovery efforts automatically become rebuilding efforts.
- Your reputation is critical: downtime and the loss of your data will affect how other stakeholders perceive your business and their relationship with you. A tarnished reputation can significantly hinder your business, especially when stakeholders cannot trust you with their data.
Backup and recovery softwareDatabase management system (DBMS) refers to a software package that helps you manage databases easily and efficiently, allowing you to organize your data properly. DBMS has many advantages, for example, it allows you to store, manipulate and retrieve data from databases. It also allows you to perform transactions and protects your data. You may also need a good backup and recovery software such as Veritas NetBackup.
ConclusionDisaster recovery and backup and recovery are not mutually exclusive. Best practices include both approaches. You need to have a regular and consistent data backup and recovery plan in place to protect your business and its data from unexpected loss. Remember, data backup is a form of disaster recovery plan while disaster recovery is part of an overall security plan. Preparing for worst-case scenarios allows you to ensure business continuity and quick recovery times for your critical business data.