Do you Really Need Data Backups?
This is a question so many people ask when it comes to protecting their networks and the resources on it. In most cases the answer is a resounding YES, but let's look at the reasons why...
What needs to be backed up?
Primarily, there are two categories of eligible backup targets: data and systems. In most cases, data is more crucial than systems for the simple fact that for most organizations, it's the data that's unique rather than the systems, which are less unique and less costly to recreate.
Data is the raw information that is stored on network computers, especially servers; and includes databases and files/folders that contain the information critical to your business.
Systems include the operating system, applications, and other configuration settings that make up a running computer, especially a server; essentially the functional part of a computer and therefore the network.
How do you decide what to backup?
The general rule about what to backup is that you should backup anything that would cost more to reconstruct from scratch than to restore, as well as anything that would cause your company extreme pain and/or lost business opportunities. Determining this does take two things: knowledge of what data you have and where it is, as well as the ability to imagine what it would be like if you suddenly didn't have it around.
What would cause the need to restore from backup?
There are several reasons that a restore is needed, and not all of them are as catastrophic as you might suspect. There are two primary types of causes that would require a restore: hardware failure and the need to revert to an earlier version of a file.
Hardware failure, which is fairly self explanatory, is the unexpected failure of a component of a system. As computers have gotten increasingly more dependable, and hardware more resilient, it might seem as though computers don't fail; but they certainly do. They may fail less frequently now than ever before, but try to keep this in mind: all hardware fails eventually, and rarely with warning.
In exactly the same way that automobiles are more dependable now than ever but that in spite of that every single one will break down eventually due to age and use; so too will every computer eventually experience hardware component failure. The question is: "do you have data critical to your business on that system, and if so, how do you recover it so your business can continue to operate?"
One scenario that's considered a hardware failure of sorts, but that many organizations overlook is a facilities catastrophe. Few people consider the possibility of a natural disaster, like a fire, destroying the building. If it did happen, and you lost all your systems, how would you re-establish your organization, even if you found another location quickly? You could certainly purchase new systems, but what data would you have? How would you function?
Let's take a seemingly less catastrophic, more likely scenario. Say there was a small fire in the building, even something as simple as someone burning lunch in a microwave, and the sprinkler system goes off, ruining all your electronic equipment, especially your computers? Same effect as if the building was lost as far as your computers are concerned, so what about your data, your customer contact information, your emails, your electronic documents?
In the case of a hardware failure of any type or scale, backups help you get back on track by preserving your data and/or systems.
The need to revert to an earlier version of a file is a more common and more frequent cause for a restore. Sometimes, files become corrupt because of a bad block on a hard drive. These things happen. In this case, the only recourse is to go back to a previous version of the file kept on backup.
Another cause is when a virus infects a file that cannot be cleaned. When this happens, the file must be deleted. Even with good anti-virus measures, and even if the virus is caught in time, it may have infected the file to the extent that it cannot be recovered. Backup is the only answer in this case.
What can be done to protect your data?
So, as you can see here, there's a lot of ways to lose your data. The good news is that there is a way to protect your organization's data against permanent loss, and that's backups.
Contact Equitous to find out how you can protect your organization's data and systems, or if your current backups are meeting your needs and performing as you expect, so that you're not caught without your critical information when you need it.