9 Problems with Older Corporate Data Backup Systems

by Feb 26, 2020Business Continuity

Corporate data backup is the bedrock of any business continuity plan. With backups, businesses can recover lost data after a ransomware attack, hardware failure, accidental deletion and numerous other incidents.

A good backup system enables businesses to quickly resume operations after a disaster, minimizing costly downtime and thwarting service interruptions.

The problem is – traditional backup systems are just not that good anymore.

IT managers know first-hand that older backup systems are notoriously inefficient and unreliable when it matters most. If your organization has been using the same BC/DR solution for the past decade or more, then you’re putting your data (and your business) at risk.

Here’s why:


1) Recovery failure

Let’s get right to the most serious problem. Traditional backup systems are simply not reliable enough to guarantee the continuity levels that today’s businesses require. The reason is that these backups are notorious for failing during a recovery (due to reasons we address below).

Imagine a hypothetical scenario in which ransomware has locked up your servers, effectively freezing your operations. The good news is that you have a backup. By rolling back to a recovery point before the attack occurred, you can get your data back and kiss the ransomware goodbye.

The bad news is: it doesn’t work.

When you actually try to restore the data, you can’t. You run into a host of errors that ultimately mean the backup can’t be restored because of this dreaded problem:


2) Data corruption

Data corruption during backup recovery is extremely common in traditional systems. In best-case scenarios, the bulk of data on the backup can still be recovered, though you probably lose the corrupted parts. In worst-case scenarios, the entire backup is unable to be restored, rendering it useless.

Corruption occurs when unintended changes happen to data, even in small amounts, such as a single bit. Below, we address how and why this typically occurs during the backup process, but the key thing to understand is that it only takes a little data corruption to comprise the integrity of the whole backup.

Data corruption leads to failure during the restore process, making recovery much more challenging and time-consuming.


3) Broken backup chains

Problems occurring in a backup chain are common culprits for data corruption and recovery failure.

What does this mean exactly?

Consider how traditional incremental backup systems work. The first backup is a full backup that captures all data on the protected machine. After that, each new backup is an incremental, adding only new or modified data. These incrementals, and the underlying full backup, are what form the backup chain.

In traditional incremental backup chains, all those pieces are dependent on each other, like a stack of dominos. If something happens to any one piece, the whole thing can fall apart. If data is corrupted anywhere in the chain, it can prevent the backup from being restored.


4) Infrequent backups

Many businesses are still operating under the assumption that their overnight and weekend backups are enough to safeguard their data. And indeed their aging backup systems may not even be able to handle a higher backup frequency without causing a drain on server resources during the workday.

But what happens if a backup is even one day old? If a full restore is needed, any data that was created or modified in the previous 24 hours would be gone. For most businesses today, that would be a massive loss.

We live in a data-centric world. Even the smallest businesses today are creating and editing data around the clock, in the form of email, application data, documents, O/S updates and so on. The loss of an entire day’s data (or more) can be catastrophic, perhaps even threatening their survival.

Businesses need BC/DR solutions that can back up their data much more frequently, ideally several times throughout the day.


5) Slow recovery

Aside from the frequency of backups, businesses should also be concerned about how long it takes to restore their data. At a time when ransomware is costing small businesses around $10,000 per hour in downtime alone, yesterday’s backup systems simply don’t cut it anymore.

To be fair, a slow recovery is better than having zero backups at all. But in today’s fast-paced business environment, it may not make much of a difference. Data from FEMA shows that businesses who are unable to restore critical operations within 5 days after a disaster are extremely likely to shutter permanently in the following year.

When data is lost, restoring it from a backup should take minutes, not hours or days. If your backup system is not capable of that recovery speed, then it could be due to another key problem with older systems …


6) Limited recovery options

One common reason for a slow restore is the limitation in how data can be recovered from the backup. IT managers know that each data-loss event is unique, requiring its own specific protocol for retrieval and restoration.

How so?

Consider, for example, the loss of a single folder that a user has accidentally deleted. With most BC/DR solutions today, a simple file-level recovery can restore that data back to its original location in seconds, without affecting any other data. That’s a far cry from more widespread data-loss events like ransomware, which can take out entire servers.

If your system doesn’t offer a wide range of recovery options to accommodate every possible scenario, then the impact could be far more devastating.


7) System inefficiency

Even incremental backups, which have clear advantages in speed and efficiency over old-fashioned full-backup processes, can be slow and resource-intensive. This is why we all used to schedule our backups for nights and weekends (as many businesses still do). Some backup systems divert server resources, causing system slowness across the organization. This slowness results in reduced productivity and it can even cause service disruptions.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Newer technologies have made backups much more efficient, in practically every way. As we outline further below, today’s most dependable BC/DR solutions perform backups much faster, while requiring less “effort” from your infrastructure. Also, innovations in the incremental backup process have removed dependency on the chain, so that you no longer need to wait forever for all the incrementals to be processed during a restore.


8) Vulnerability to ransomware

Ransomware has become a nightmare for businesses in every industry. Infections get past firewalls and antimalware systems, locking up data on every networked machine it can find.

That’s a big problem for businesses relying on outdated corporate backup systems. For starters, if the BC/DR system isn’t properly separated from the network, then the backups could be infected too, leaving you with nothing to restore.

Secondly, with limited restore options, businesses may not be able to adequately recover from a widespread ransomware attack – if they can restore the data at all.


9) Vulnerability to on-site disasters

Many businesses are still storing their backups in the same location as other on-premise infrastructure. This is especially true for smaller companies that don’t have resources to rely on data centers or simply don’t know how to properly replicate their data off-site.

That’s a problem, because if the on-site infrastructure is wiped out, then the backups are gone too. Fire, natural disasters and flooding are all realistic threats that could destroy everything.

Today’s backups need to be stored in at least one additional location, in addition to on-premise devices. Mirrored cloud backups, for example, are a simple and effective way to ensure that data can still be recovered from off-site, even if on-site infrastructure is toast.


So, what’s the solution?

Each of the challenges above are easily overcome (or outright eliminated) with newer business-continuity solutions, like the Datto SIRIS.

The Datto SIRIS has redefined corporate data backup, making it faster, more efficient and more dependable. So businesses can trust that their backups are happening around the clock, and that they’ll be able to recover data quickly when they need it.

Here’s how Datto’s systems resolve the problems addressed above:

  • Datto’s Inverse Chain Technology removes dependency on the backup chain. Each recovery point is stored in a fully constructed state that is instantly bootable. This results in greater backup speed, resiliency, efficiency and a more dependable recovery.
  • Backups can be performed as often as every 5 minutes.
  • Numerous recovery options provide a failsafe for every data-loss event, including full-level restore, bare metal restore, hypervisor uploads, diskless restore, Rapid Rollback and others.
  • Backup virtualization provides access to protected machines and applications within seconds by booting the backup as a virtual machine. So critical operations can continue almost instantly after a disruption.
  • Built-in ransomware protection scans each backup for infection, allowing admins to act sooner in an attack.
  • Hybrid cloud backups store backups in multiple locations for greater protection against on-site disasters. Backups are stored on the on-site backup device and in Datto’s private cloud via geo-redundant datacenters.


Together, these capabilities help ensure continuity through virtually any disaster scenario. So you can get back to business right away, instead of being sidelined for days or weeks.


Having Problems with Older Corporate Data Backup Systems? It might be time for a new backup? Let’s schedule a demo

Request a free demo to take a closer look at today’s best data backup solutions for businesses. For more information, call our business continuity experts at Invenio IT today. Call (646) 395-1170 or email success@invenioIT.com.

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Dale Shulmistra is a Business Continuity Specialist at Invenio IT, responsible for shaping the company’s technology initiatives -- selecting, designing, implementing & supporting business continuity solutions to bolster client operational efficiencies and eliminate downtime.