Today’s technology enables a lot of automation – 24/7 network monitoring and updates, alerts and Cloud backup. Unfortunately, one of the most crucial, yet often neglected, pieces of automated IT management is the backup.
A full system backup of your computing network is no longer a discretionary operation—it is absolutely essential to your profitability. And today, backup is not just about recovering systems and files in a few days, it’s about business continuity and limiting downtime to a few hours or minutes. In order to achieve this level of business continuity, automated backups must be performed routinely and monitored proactively – not to mention tested on a regular basis to ensure they are working correctly. Finally, you must have a plan about when and how your backup system will be used in order to limit the disruption of your daily operations and to ensure your company does not lose data.
A key concern is costly downtime; proper backup management helps avoid downtime caused by a number of problems, among them the loss of data and user access created by a ransomware attack. Be advised, not all backup systems will prevent data loss due to a CryptoLocker attack; your IT services provider might not be able to recover all the newer data since the last backup was completed. Or it may take days to recovery data – all the while, your business is down and revenue and profits take a nosedive. If backups are not done often enough, and therefore not storing a sufficient amount of restore points, your business will end up paying an expensive ransom. Oh, and by the way—60 percent of businesses hit by a CryptoLocker never retrieve their data.
Managing your system backups
To avoid costly downtime, be sure that you discuss these key issues with your IT management firm or staff:
- What is your recovery time objective? A recovery time objective is the length of time that it will take your backup system to get up and running and get your employees back to work. One of the first things that you need to determine is how long your systems can be down – and most small/medium sized businesses typically measure their RTO in hours or days (Can your company really deal with a full week of waiting for the system and all files to be restored and running?) The backup system that you select then must be able to meet your RTO.
Many consumer backup products cannot meet corporate RTO’s. These “home” products simply cannot restore the large amount of data in a reasonable amount of time over the Internet. In these situations, the only practical way to get your files to you in a more timely fashion is to have a drive mailed to your location. Again, this is not only inconvenient, but time-consuming … and therefore costing your NJ business a lot of money.
- Where are the backups being stored? The best practice is that your backups should be saved in two locations – and the more geographically disperse these locations, the better.
- Determine the frequency/schedule of backups. Are these happening on an hourly, daily or weekly basis? The frequency is key – the longer between backups, the more data that can be lost when a problem occurs. If the system backups are not occurring often enough, you might not be capturing all the data; if a disruption occurs, that means you might not be able to restore all your files, wreaking even more havoc for your operation.
- Are backups being monitored? It is vital that someone is checking those backups for reliability … and ensuring that they are really occurring on schedule. Individual backups must be checked to ensure that they are valid and can be used in an emergency. We often find that backup systems are setup and then forgotten –until they are needed, and then if there is a problem, it’s too late! In addition to monitoring you backup, when a problem is detected, it must be immediately followed up with remediation. This ensures that the backup will continue working as designed (and ensure your data is protected).
Managed system backups and more
At IND Corporation, New Jersey companies rely on our team to handle automated IT monitoring and backups to keep systems running with minimal downtime (and associated soft costs) to the company. That’s because our backups are fully managed along with the rest of your corporate IT systems – whether they are in your office or in the Cloud. Even better, we can perform image-level backups, which take a snapshot of your entire hard drive at regular intervals, enabling our engineers to not only restore individual files but also entire systems in order to get all of your systems operational quickly and efficiently.
Our comprehensive TotalCare managed service plans include backup management and monitoring, network monitoring, business continuity protocols, disaster recovery planning and management, and much more. How much more?
- In the event your server or desktops are inaccessible, IND will handle replacing your devices much more quickly than most businesses can achieve.
- Our consultants will work with you to define a specific RTO, and confirming that your current backup programs meets it—or find one that does.
- Should a problem arise with your backup system, our engineers take immediate action to solve the problem. In fact, at IND Corporation, we have a dedicated IT professional who reviews all backups that we monitor to look for and correct errors. Does your current IT partner do that?
- We do a live test of the backup system to make sure system recovery will happen according to your stated RTO. These tests are typically performed at night or on a weekend to avoid disrupting business operations.
Don’t wait for your system backup to fail to discover it wasn’t doing its job. To find out more about full system backups that take care of business, contact IND Corporation at 973-828-0843; we are a leading New Jersey-based managed IT services provider and work with businesses throughout the state.