Disaster Recovery Workflow and Planning
Michael D. Baxter
Note: This is meant as something to get you thinking about disaster recovery. Consult with an IT professional to have them help you devise a disaster recovery plan for your business.
A disaster recovery workflow can be complicated depending on the types of systems you are backing up. If the site in question is a small office that can be a challenge. Small business use peer to peer networking and file sharing as opposed to a central file server for their data in most cases. Disaster recovery in that case can actually be a bigger challenge than a large office or enterprise with a central file server. With the small office you might want to deploy a NAS or small PC/linux system to act as a central repository for local and shared files. Then implement a backup solution that takes that data and securely replicates it off site. In a large enterprise environment you have more options to easily manage the data that is used on site.
Are You Really in Compliance?
In an enterprise environment you would hope that the IT infrastructure that is in place has followed best practices. In theory the data files should be stored on a central server and then that server should be backed up regularly. It is alarming how many IT shops do not have a proper backup plan in place. Often they think they do and check it off on their business insurance that they do. More often than not they don’t and are shocked to find out that they are not in compliance with the Sarbanes Oxley or HIPPA standards. Most businesses have to rebuild their disaster recovery workflow from the ground up following IT best practices. That is the only way to make sure they are in compliance with federal regulations and have the proper redundancies in place to ensure data consistency and security. For enterprise environments a solution like Bizinuity offers a variety of all-in-one products. The Bizinuity product line offers tools that back up one or multiple servers locally and off site as well to a secure cloud.
Small Business Solutions
For the small business or the home office that operates on the peer to peer level the Bizinuity solution may not be the best fit. There are ways to set up a disaster recovery workflow that would solve the needs of the small business. Often email is one of the biggest issues. A lot of small business firms use POP or IMAP services from their web hosting provider or ISP. Almost always there is not a good backup of the email in place within small businesses. For the small business that can’t afford a domain or exchange server there is hosted exchange. That allows for data redundancy because the email is stored locally on the PC and also in the cloud within the host’s server. The host is also responsible for making redundant copies of the email data more often than not. That data is stored securely and usually meets HIPAA and SOX requirements.
Affordable Off-Site Storage for Small Business
User data itself can be handled in a lot of different ways. The easiest way is using someone like backblaze for offsite file level backups and central shared point for local pc backups using windows backup. Backblaze is affordable and in some cases scalable depending on the data load. For Windows backup you would need to set up a pc that has an extra large hard drive, preferably in a raid configuration, that will allow those backups to be stored with some redundancy. Then do a backup of those backups to a medium that you can store securely somewhere off site for redundancy and security. It adds a layer of complication but for the small business without a server that is one of the easiest way to get data off site. But it does open you up to risks as well because everyone’s opinion of “secure” is different and some have a very laissez faire attitude about it. In the end it is up to the IT professional to educate the end user on information security and the importance of disaster recovery.
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