What to Look for in a Corporate Data Backup System

by | Jul 23, 2019 | Business Continuity

Why you need a corporate data backup system

Deploying a corporate data backup system is a must for businesses of all sizes. But with so many types of backup technologies to choose from these days, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Should you be expanding your on-site infrastructure? How about the cloud? And what the heck is a hyper-V virtual backup, anyway?

Choosing a business continuity solution doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Here are some of the most important features and capabilities to consider.

 

1) Hybrid cloud backup

This is arguably one of the most valuable things to look for in a corporate data backup system today. Hybrid cloud backup means that your data is backed up in to two locations: on site and in the cloud. This provides added protection against disasters that could compromise your on-premise backup systems.

Why do you need it?

·      If your on-site backups are destroyed in a fire, you can still access your critical data from the cloud.

·      Replicating your data to the cloud allows you to recover from virtually anywhere, on virtually any device.

·      On-site backups will typically offer the fastest-possible recovery, but off-site replication ensures you’re never keeping all your critical data in one vulnerable location.

 

2) Dedicated backup device and/or software

Don’t be fooled by the plethora of file-sharing apps like Google Backup, Box and OneDrive. These are NOT intended for corporate data backup. Companies should use a dedicated backup and disaster recovery device (BDR) to process and store their backups, and/or business continuity software to power this backup process.

Why do you need it?

·      File-sync and share (FSS) apps like OneDrive are intended for just that: file syncing and sharing. These platforms are vulnerable to all kinds of data-loss events, including accidental deletion, overwritten data and ransomware.

·      A dedicated backup device and/or software will efficiently store all your data, including operating system files and application data, which is crucial for maintaining business continuity.

·      A business-grade backup solution will enable you to quickly recover and restore your lost data – often via multiple recovery options.

 

3) Infrastructure backup – not just files

When looking for a corporate data backup system, you need to be sure that all your data is being backed up, not just individual files and folders. After all, what good is your massive-super-duper-important spreadsheet if the application itself won’t open up or the operating system doesn’t even boot properly? Look for BC/DR solutions that provide a full backup of OS data and applications, so you can recover your entire infrastructure.

Why do you need it?

·      When ransomware locks up an entire machine, you need a way to restore everything – not just your critical files.

·      While the files themselves may contain your most valuable data, those files are worthless if you can’t access them within the applications that power your business – or if your computers aren’t working at all.

·      A complete infrastructure backup ensures that you can truly get back to business after a catastrophic data-loss event.

·      Today’s best BC/DR solutions can protect a wide range of infrastructure deployments: physical, virtual and cloud, running on Windows, Mac or Linux. Make sure your system can accommodate your business’s specific needs, whether it’s a single physical server backup, virtual machine backups (Hyper V), or a diverse range of systems.

 

4) Image-based backups

When we talk about a complete infrastructure backup, we’re typically referring to image-based backups. This is an efficient process that takes a complete “snapshot” of a protected machine, including all files, OS and application data, and stores it in a single file, referred to as an “image.” Some example file formats for image-based backups are VHD and VMDK, which allow for virtualization (which we’ll return to in a moment).

Why do you need it?

·      For true business continuity, you need to have a complete snapshot of an entire protected machine – and that’s exactly what image-based backups provide.

·      An image backup provides an efficient means for storing all data in a single file that allows for multiple recovery options, including virtualization.

·      Good BC/DR solutions will allow you to export the image file, so you can boot it on other machines (on top of the other recovery methods).

 

5) Backup virtualization

Virtualizing a backup lets you access a protected machine, including all its data and apps, in a virtual environment on another machine. This provides near-instant access to the applications that power your business, so that your critical operations can resume immediately after a disaster. Look for a corporate data backup solution that allows you to virtualize locally and in the cloud (or a combination of both) for greater protection.

Why do you need it?

·      90% of small companies go out of business if they can’t resume operations within 5 days after a disaster, according to FEMA. Backup virtualization ensures that your teams can continue moving forward, even if the protected machine is toast.

·      Even a single hour of downtime can cost businesses more than $10,000, and that number continues rising with each additional minute. Being able to instantly recover your data and apps can literally save your business.

 

6) Backup verification

If you’re using image-based backups that can be booted as virtual machines, then they better be bootable when you actually need them! In the past, backups were notoriously prone to failure due to data corruption. But today, many BC/DR solutions feature a verification process that automatically checks backups for problems and test-boots them to make sure they’re viable.

Why do you need it?

·      You don’t want any surprises when it’s time to recover a backup. Verification ensures that the backup can be booted without problem.

·      Verification is especially important if you use a high backup frequency. Make sure that every new backup validates the integrity immediately after completion.

·      Some systems also offer advanced verification settings that allow you to customize the checks for specific issues that you identify (and/or remove scripts that cause false positives).

 

7) High backup frequency – as often as every few minutes

Not every business needs to back up their data every few minutes – but a shocking number of small companies are stuck on the mindset of nightly and/or weekend backups. That’s a whole lot of data that could be lost forever if disaster strikes in between backups. If your business depends on data (files, order data, customer records, email, calendars, etc.), then your backup system needs to be able to perform backups around the clocks.

Why do you need it?

·      A larger data loss will always result in a longer, more costly recovery. You need to make sure you’re backing up data as frequently as you’re creating it.

·      A high backup frequency will ensure that you’re able to meet an aggressive recovery time objective (RTO), as identified in your business continuity plan.

·      If you handle large amounts of constantly moving data, you’ll want your backups to be performed hourly or even as often as every few minutes. (The Datto SIRIS, for example, can perform backups every five minutes.)

 

8) Fast, dependable recovery options

We already mentioned the need for backup virtualization, which gives you near-instant access to your data. But what about other recovery methods? For most small businesses, restoring files, folders or an entire backup should NOT be a lengthy, complicated process. Look for a backup solution that enables multiple methods for rapidly recovering data, so that you can be protected from every possible disaster scenario.

Why do you need it?

·      Backing up your data won’t have any benefit if you can’t recover it when you need it. Multiple recovery options ensure that you’ll always be able to restore the data, no matter what the situation.

·      Different disaster scenarios will require different recovery methods. Beyond a fast file/folder restore, you’ll be better prepared with a greater variety of recovery options, whether it’s restoring a whole volume, virtualizing locally or in the cloud, virtualizing via hypervisor, performing a bare metal restore or a diskless restore via USB drive.

 

9) A reputable provider

This last point has more to do with the company behind the technology, rather than the BC/DR system itself. When you’re talking about deploying a system to protect your business’s most valuable data, you probably don’t want to deal with a no-name company from Russia, right? By sticking to reputable BC/DR providers and managed-service providers, who are widely regarded for dependable, well-rated backup systems, you can be sure that your data is getting the protection it needs.

Why does it matter?

·      Poor-quality backup systems will put you at a greater risk of data loss and possibly other cybersecurity threats.

·      Reputable providers like Datto are known for developing innovative disaster recovery technologies that make enterprise-level data protection accessible to small and medium-sized businesses.

·      Whenever you’re investing in a business continuity solution, it’s important to keep this in mind: Better technology (and technology partners) will nearly always result in stronger protection for your data.

 

Take a closer look

Request a free demo to take a closer look at today’s best corporate data backup systems from Datto. For more information, call our business continuity experts today at (646) 395-1170 or email success@invenioIT.com.

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Tracy Rock is the Director of Marketing at Invenio IT. Tracy is responsible for all media-related initiatives as well as external communications—including, branding, public relations, promotions, advertising and social media. She is one busy lady and we are lucky to have her!