disaster recovery 0

Disaster Recovery

Any network can fail. Even parts can fail that have grave consequences. When any of this happens, it is time to move on to the next step. You better have a plan for when it happens.

Introduction

The methods of disaster recovery can vary. They are just as important as network security. There are as many types as there are disasters. Consider what would be best or feasible for your business. Examples of disaster include fire, floods, theft, loss of electricity, and ransomware. When anything like this happens, your first thought should be your data. A loss of your data could be the ending of a business. It is that important.

Backing Up Your Data

The most complete solution is a full backup of all your data. This should be done occasionally if you are able. It includes all your files and settings that will copy over. The biggest issue to doing a full backup is the time it takes. If you are a gigantic business, it could take ages. The deciding factor is how much data do you have. The traditional method is using tapes. This is because they are the most cost efficient.

Your next option is doing a differential backup. It is a lot faster than a full backup. A differential is also a lot quicker to restore. Both are significant factors in your backup plan. A differential backup only handle data that has changed since the last full backup. This assumes you do a full backup occasionally. Restoring requires both the full and differential backups.

The other fundamental type of backup is the incremental. They are like a differential. However, they handle data that has changed since the last full or incremental backup. While this can be convenient, restoration times are much longer.

Backup rotations are also an important topic. They are networking essentials. This means rotating through media so you can restore days, weeks, or months in the past. It can be as complicated as you want it. The most used solution is to use 4 pieces of media for daily backups, 5 different ones for each day of the week, and 3 for monthly backups. You have a lot of options if things go wrong if you do this.

Backup Locations

There are many ways to back up your data. If you have small amounts of data, you could put it all in the cloud. There are many places that you can pay to do to this. Security is usually pretty good and you can grow quickly in the right environment.

Direct Attached Storage

Direct attached storage is another strong option depending on your needs. This is easy and inexpensive. However, it is not as secure and it should not include important data. It is also easy to lose these small electronics.

Networked Attached Storage

These devices have gained in popularity over the years. They are easy to use and setup. Security is built in. There are many configurations and sizes to choose from. They are good for the home and some small businesses. They often include raid and encryption. Price becomes a factor here. These devices can get expensive quickly. Evaluate whether they are a good fit for your organization.

File Server

This is the ultimate option. Buy an enterprise server with the same operating system and you will have a great option. You can also use a server for many other things too. The drawbacks are that it is much more expensive for this kind of hardware and a server requires specialized knowledge to set up and maintain. If you can handle this, a server is the best way to go.

Best Practices

You should have at least some of your backups offsite. It won’t eliminate bad luck, but it will help. Make a labeling system and stick to it. This will make it much easier to find what you need. If your network is down, you will not want the added stress of having to figure out where a certain tape is. You also need to test your backups occasionally. This needs to be done because you will not understand if backups were successful until you need them. That is not the time to find out that something failed. Communication is key, so if your unified commuications are down, you have a big problem.

Managing Power

All servers and other important pieces of equipment need to be attached to a UPS. Start with your server and network racks. Everything there is important and should be plugged in to alternate power. This keeps you going if you temporarily lose power. It also lets you shut down equipment to prevent data corruption. Power suddenly going off is the quickest way to lose your data. Drives dislike losing power, and everything on them can get corrupted in a flash.

Terrible power is also a major factor in protecting your data and equipment. Whether at home or work, low or high power will kill electronics. So it is imperative to have good consistent power coming to your systems. Examples of bad power include blackouts, spikes, and brownouts. Most of the time you will not even know if you have bad power. It is very common in almost all businesses and home. When your electronics suddenly quit working, it is almost always bad power that killed it instead of the device just failing.

Policies and Procedures

These must be set in place well ahead of any disaster. There should be plans and policies set so you know what to do in any situation. This is collectively called a business continuity plan. These plans are in place to protect against a system failure. Business plans can be categorized. Processes that must always be up will be the first ones brought back. These are critical business functions. These are the ones that cost business money by the minute they are down. No one wants that! Network management is key here, everything must be monitored so the health state of your systems is always known.

On the other side of things, businesses will often get SLA’s from their providers. This is a service level agreement. This is what companies pay lots of money for. They are being guaranteed a certain amount of uptime or service from their product. A company will pay a lot for these. These companies themselves can also have an acceptable use policy. This states what can or can’t be done with company equipment. Since network communications includes so much, you need to specify usage. This is so users won’t abuse equipment or services too much. Another popular policy is the famous byod, or bring your own device. Companies can state its policy for users that want to use their personal equipment. This is very important as company often ends up on these personal devices.

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