Disaster Recovery Issue: How Far Apart Are Your Backups?

Health Data Management recently reported on an organization that had been hit with a ransomware attack. Ransomware, which has extracted hundreds of million of dollars from numerous organizations, is a kind of malware that encrypts files and blocks access to your system, holding it hostage. Your choices are to either break the encryption – a costly, incredibly difficult feat – or pay the cyber criminals who have deployed the ransomware.

What can save you from either choice is a strong practice of backing up your data. If you’ve made continuous backups of your data and saved them on a separate system, untouched by the malware, you can avoid having to pay off the hackers. In the Health Data Management article, the organization that had suffered a ransomware attack was able to recover relatively quickly, because of their habit of continuously backing up critical data. Relying purely on nighttime backups for their most valuable data would not have been sufficient.

How far apart are your backups?

IT Disasters can come in a variety of forms, ranging from malware to equipment failure to violent weather phenomena that destroy parts of your office. Businesses are increasingly realizing that they need copies of their data saved in multiple locations, in case one location gets hit with a disaster.

However, multiple copies saved on different systems aren’t enough to ensure rapid disaster recovery. Another factor you need to consider is timing. Especially for critical files and applications, your backups will ideally be continuous. If you sustain an IT disaster, you’ll have up-to-date copies for restoration. You want to avoid getting stuck with outdated files or suffer a complete loss of any version of your critical data.

Files that are less critical don’t necessarily require continuous backups. A key way to determine how often a file or application needs backing up is to measure its Recovery Point Objective (RPO). For some data, the RPO could be three hours, meaning that you’d need to back it up at least once within that time frame. For other data, the RPO could be a few minutes or seconds, calling for continuous backups. Failing to back up the data within the appropriate time frame can lead to irrevocable financial losses.

Critical Data should also be easily recoverable. Your disaster recovery measures are effective only if you can restore the data as quickly as possible. Your most important data backups shouldn’t exist only on tape cartridges stored off-site; it would take too long to retrieve them.

Please contact us to determine the best data backup and recovery methods for your company. We will help you minimize downtime in the event of a disaster, in part by determining the appropriate time frames for your backups.