Data is the lifeblood of a business. In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as hardware failure, malware attacks, or human error, having a well-designed backup and data recovery strategy in place becomes paramount. Today, we try and guide you through the process of creating a robust backup and data recovery strategy, ensuring the safety and accessibility of your data.
Coleman Technologies Blog
We often discuss data backup and disaster recovery on our blog, and you may even be familiar with some of the terms and practices we throw around. Today, we want to take a closer look at the 3-2-1 rule and how it impacts your business’ ability to recover in the face of a disaster. Let’s dive in and see how the 3-2-1 rule can make or break your company’s data infrastructure.
A disaster can take many forms, from a raging snowstorm to deleting the wrong file. Regardless of what kind of disaster you face, you can know that it doesn’t take much to impact a business, especially if the business doesn’t have a business continuity plan in place. How does your business recover from such a devastating scenario? How can it get its data back and in proper working order? That’s what we want to tell you about today.
The Importance of Testing Data Backup and Recovery Systems
Data backup protects a business from catastrophic data loss resulting from hardware failures, natural disasters, cybersecurity attacks, system outages, or network disruptions. Backing up data involves replicating it and storing it in different places. Such as the cloud, backup servers, and dedicated backup devices. This way, you can recover your data and information from a previous state and time in case of system outages. However, the efficiency and effectiveness of data backup are reduced drastically when you do not test them regularly and routinely. Data backup and recovery testing is the process of assessing the effectiveness of the systems, procedures, and methods that a company uses to replicate, store, and retrieve data in times of need.
Why Do You Need Data Backup?
This is pretty self-explanatory. Your business is constantly under threat. You may not realize it because you’ve been fortunate enough not to have any threat be bad enough where your operational and financial data is actively at risk. That may not always be the case, however. Consider how important your data is and think about all the things that could happen where you would have to deal with data loss. Situations that stem from natural disasters, scams and hackers, hardware failure, and human error can all trigger data loss. That’s a lot of variables to cover to keep hoping that nothing will happen.
If you want data redundancy for your business in the information age, you need to get a BDR. Not only is your data backed up locally, it is also pushed to the cloud. Having data on site is great if you need to quickly restore something, or if your server crashes and you need a substitute server, while cloud backup is great for protecting the data in case of a major disaster that knocks out your onsite hardware.
In reality, it takes several different tools to make a network as secure as it needs to be.
Why a Firewall Isn’t Enough
A firewall serves only one purpose, and that’s to monitor traffic that goes in and out of your network for any security issues. However, it’s important to remember that there are threats that can bypass firewalls, and that there are other components of network security besides monitoring traffic.
Protect Your Backup
Your business’ backup can be viewed as an insurance policy, but if it isn’t secured, it could be just another piece of a string of errors that takes your business down. In order for your backup to be a reliable contingency, you need to protect it. In order to do that, we suggest using the 3-2-1 rule as a base. That is: three copies of your data, with two being stored and attached to your network, and one saved offsite.
A Little Background
One of the biggest risks a business owner needs to address is what needs to happen if there is a situation where their business is disrupted. There has to be a series of actions taken that will allow for a thorough assessment of the situation and a return to productivity. These tasks don’t just solve the problems surrounding an issue, they are a strategy to ensure operational resilience.
As more and more people are dealing with the virus and its effects on commerce, supply chains are failing and distribution patterns are completely disrupted. This has had a devastating effect on the world economy. It isn’t like a hurricane or a flood, but an outbreak, like most other disasters, hit business’ suddenly and has led many to enact their disaster recovery strategies. Today, we are going to discuss how IT fits into disaster recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly thrown us all for a loop, with many businesses wisely choosing to close their office doors, either scaling back their operations or choosing to utilize a more mobile workforce. While this clearly qualifies as a disaster, it isn’t one that holds too many risks against your data; at least, not when compared to some others. This gives us a chance to consider how well-prepared we are for other disasters that could pose more of a threat to the information and files your operations depend on. For instance, how would you respond if something were to happen to your actual business infrastructure (and, by association, any data you had stored there)?
While not all of your data may be equally valuable, data loss is a bad thing across the board. This is precisely why Coleman Technologies offers comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery solutions.
Backing up your data allows you to sidestep the potential catastrophes that would come with the loss of your most critical information. Here, we’ll review a few situations that could put this data at risk to demonstrate how crucial having a backup really is.
Situation: Actual Disaster Event
Just about every business on Earth could potentially be impacted by some kind of weather event. Some deal with hurricanes, some deal with high winds and tornadoes, others with earthquakes and floods… you get the picture. Unfortunately, whichever one impacts your business, there isn’t very much you can do in the moment - which is why it is important to prepare now, so you can reopen again after the fact. Many don’t prepare, and therefore, don’t reopen.
Acting proactively and maintaining a backup allows you to more quickly bounce back after disaster has struck, allowing your business a second chance.
Situation: Data Corruption or Theft
Cybersecurity is a huge topic today, as there are many, many threats out there designed to target businesses. Take ransomware, for example: all it takes for you to lose access to your files is for an employee to click on the wrong thing. Not good.
However, using a BDR (in conjunction with a comprehensive business continuity plan) to keep your files safely backed up enables you to quickly restore data from an onsite backup copy of your data, while keeping another copy offsite for redundant protections and simplified migrations. This keeps you safe from a variety of threats, including ransomware and many other forms of malware.
Situation: The Classic Office “Whoops!” Moment
The BDR is supremely useful in that it gives you an on-demand resource to pull your data from, on demand, as it is needed. This is particularly handy if a team is collaborating on a project, and somebody accidentally deletes something absolutely critical to the project. With a backup, your progress won’t be lost to bad luck.
A BDR allows you to breathe a little easier about your files and their security. To find out about adopting one for your business, reach out to Coleman Technologies today. Call (604) 513-9428 to get started.
Keeping Your Strategy Simple
One basic strategy to sorting out your data is to backup the files that you can’t feasibly replace otherwise. This simple, yet effective approach could easily save your business… but, why go through the effort of sorting through your data at all?
Seeing as your data is one of - if not the - most important resources that your business has, why not just back up all of it?
This endeavor becomes much easier with the Backup and Disaster Recovery appliance that we offer, as it can easily map out and replicate your data stores. Now, it must be said that not every business generates enough vital data to justify a large investment into a data backup. However, as we mentioned above, today’s threat landscape means that what data you do have needs to be protected.
Your Backup Options
There are several different varieties of data backup for you to consider, keeping in mind what it is you are backing up and when you need those backups to be ready. These backups include:
As you may have gathered, a full backup copies all of your data and configurations and saves them to a single platform, whether that be a NAS (network attached storage) device, a cloud backup, or tape (pro tip: don’t use tape backup).
This has the benefits of offering a comprehensive backup that you need, with quick restoration times for single files or folders. A full restore takes a much longer period of time to complete, and full backups are more expensive due to the greater need of storage space. Any backup strategy will typically start off with a full backup.
This kind of backup keeps track of any changes that are made to data, which allows it to be used for data that is continuously updated. The costs of an incremental backup are quite reasonable, making it a good choice (despite not being totally comprehensive) for a business that generates large amounts of data.
Similarly to incremental backups, a differential backup keeps track of changes that are made between the times that a full backup is run, keeping their backups more up to date.
This kind of backup is best for redundancy, as it creates a mirror image of the system that is being backed up. While these backups are the fastest to restore, they also take up the most storage space.
Depending on your business’ particular needs, a backup can be run weekly, daily, or even as frequently as every 15 minutes.
Following the 3-2-1 Rule
The 3-2-1 Rule is a simple way to remember what you need to maintain if you want to keep your data protected enough. Here’s how it breaks down:
- 3 copies of your data
- 2 stored on different media types
- 1 copy offsite
This strategy makes it so your data is both secure, and convenient to you.
To learn more about data backups and best practices concerning them, reach out to Coleman Technologies at (604) 513-9428.
You may be one of those small or medium-sized business owners that believe that anything labeled “enterprise” is overkill for your business. This may be true in some other cases, but when you start talking about data backup solutions, enterprise is a good thing. To protect your data--and effectively your business--you need a solution that will handle all the data you need to backup while keeping that data available for restore at the drop of a hat. If you don’t have this, any situation that could separate you from your data could seriously negatively affect your business’ ability to deal with adverse situations.
The Problems That Are Solved With BDR
The main problem the BDR immediately solves is the one that is caused when your business depends on its data. If that data somehow gets altered, corrupted, or destroyed, having copies of it will keep your business in the game. A BDR can also keep lengthy periods of downtime to a minimum. Some of the options the modern BDR presents include:
- Frequent data backup (as low as every 15 minutes)
- Onsite and offsite copies of data
- Fast restoration to reduce downtime
- Archiving and other server-level functions
- Bare-metal restores for drive-to-drive data migration
With our experienced staff behind your BDR, you get the strong continuity, efficient restore speed, offsite cloud storage, and the ease of implementation that allows for backups to start almost immediately. To learn how our BDR can help you protect your business reach out today at (604) 513-9428.
Downtime is Crushing
Any time your organization isn’t operating under normal circumstances (i.e. any time it’s simply not functioning, or functioning at a loss) can be considered downtime. This takes multiple forms, including employees unable to access critical software or data, the office being shut down due to a power outage, or even technology problems that result in devices not working as intended. Whatever the reason--and data loss disasters are a big one--you can bet that downtime has a considerable impact on both your wallet and your organization’s long-term sustainability.
Data Loss is Challenging
What a lot of businesses might not understand about data loss is that it equates to lost progress, or work that needs to be done over again. Think about it this way; your organization has to collect all the data again, assuming that there is no way to actually restore it. This is why so many businesses have a data backup and disaster recovery solution, as retracing your steps can be costly, time-consuming, and, quite frankly, a waste of time that could have been avoided with the proper foresight.
Considerable Fines for Security Risks
In many cases, a data disaster can involve a security breach, where personally identifiable information or sensitive corporate data can be stolen or exposed to danger. When this happens, certain industries that are supposed to adhere to various security thresholds may be subject to fines based on the specific types of data affected. It’s needless to say that this kind of disregard for security compliance can lead to crippling fines and legal repercussions.
In all of the above cases, having a data backup and disaster recovery solution from Coleman Technologies can offset the challenges and difficulties of operating at a loss. To learn more about the solutions we offer, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.
Today, many of the largest and most lucrative companies in the world, Google, Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Verizon, Facebook and Microsoft are all, more than manufacturers of computer-based goods and services, data brokers. These data brokers create services that they then sell to advertisers that allow them to target you based on the information these companies have of you, which can accurately tell how and what to sell you.
Since nearly everyone has a near-ubiquitously-connected experience there is a lot of data collected, bought, and sold every year and it’s big business. Facebook, a company whose main revenue stream is from selling advertising, made a net profit of nearly $16 billion in 2017. This tells us that if you have people’s data, you have people’s hopes, fears, and dreams, which means you can pretty easily get someone to pay you for access to that information.
For small businesses it’s much less lucrative. In fact, all the data your organization needs to keep, is probably necessary to simply do business, not to sell to advertisers. Facebook voluntarily gets a lot of personal information from every one of their users, as where the typical small business often has to strategize to just get a name and a phone number. The information that is sensitive (mostly customer information that you collect) has a lot of value to the people looking to steal it. So while you aren’t making billions of dollars selling consumer profiles, it is still a mightily important part of doing business, and needs to be secured.
Is Data a Commodity?
Technically speaking, it isn’t. Since a commodity’s value is based namely on its scarcity and the amount of capital that needs to be put up to create it, in both resources and labor, the data that is being purchased isn’t really a commodity. In lieu of the dissolution of the U.S. Net Neutrality laws, this has created the argument in the U.S. that since now it’s up to the telecommunication companies how they want to manage (or more accurately bill) data consumption, that they would throttle and tier service, something that isn’t possible with a true commodity, where there are laws prohibiting those types of practices.
On the other hand, Internet access is something that a majority of the commerce requires, and delivering data is in itself an expensive endeavor (infrastructure spending, development, utility costs, etc.) so telecoms, who are seeing their would-be profits syphoned by over-the-top content providers, and publicly demonized as a result of a very public lobbying effort to gain control of the ability to implement some sort of prioritization strategy, have to find a strategy to sustain their ability to get a workable return on their investments.
Securing Your Organization’s Data
Regardless of what your view of data is, it’s an important resource for your organization, and as mentioned above, it needs to be secured. For one of your company’s most important resources, data can be lost relatively easily, so there needs to be a concerted effort to keep your network and infrastructure free from the threats that could put your data at risk. At Coleman Technologies, that’s what we do. We ensure organizations like yours get the professional IT expertise you need to work efficiently, effectively, and securely in what is the most turbulent time in computing history. With the litany of threats your business faces everyday, you need experts that have your back. We offer:
- Backup and disaster recovery: With a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery system in place, all of your organization’s data is safe, redundant, and able to be restored on demand.
- Proactive monitoring and management: By keeping a dedicated eye on your network and infrastructure, our technicians can be proactive.
- Patch management: By keeping all of your organization’s software up to date with the latest threat definitions, you can ensure that your software isn’t going to be a problem.
- Access control and threat detection: By having full control over who can access what, and a complete view of the entire network, we can keep people who aren’t supposed to see certain information from accessing it.
- Training: Most times, your own staff is responsible for data breaches and malware. We can train you all on what to look for to ensure that you are doing your best to keep your network and infrastructure free from threats.
- Around the clock support: If three out of every four businesses deal with phishing emails, and over 95 percent of all phishing emails deliver ransomware, chances are that if a mistake were to be made, you will need immediate IT support. Our support and help desk can remediate a lot of your security issues to keep downtime to a minimum.
With data such a major part of doing business today, ensuring you have the right solutions and support in place to be confident that any situation you face will be managed before it becomes a problem is in itself a benefit. Call Coleman Technologies at (604) 513-9428 for more information.
Imagine, for a moment, just how much you have to lose from a data loss incident. Your business depends on its data, and if it suddenly loses access to it, you could be in a position where downtime significantly impacts your bottom line. In situations like this, you have no time to waste. You have to get back in the game as soon as possible or you risk losing so much traction that it could be hard to keep the doors open.
With this in mind, you can’t possibly achieve this goal without data backup. You have to think of it in terms of a potential loss incident--essentially it is professional risk management. While it’s true you don’t want to make decisions based solely on the what-ifs, it’s hard not to justify it in this case. What it boils down to is this: if you don’t have data backup and suffer from a disaster, your business will, more likely than not, fail. Therefore, the best way to ensure the possibility of success is to implement data backup and prevent a potential loss incident from surfacing in the first place.
Basically, the sheer fact that you know you need to back up your data is enough to justify having a solid backup solution.
The point that we are trying to make is that we shouldn’t have to convince you to go all-in on your business’ data backup and disaster recovery solution. It should be common sense. After all, you’re trying to preserve your business and its future against the possibility that a disaster scenario cuts its life short. You have no reason not to invest in something that could potentially save your business. It doesn’t matter whether it’s from a natural disaster, user error, or hardware failure--there is always the chance that an unforeseen event could spell the end of your organization.
The right data backup solution can go a long way toward keeping your business afloat, even in a worst-case scenario. To find out more about BDR, reach out to Coleman Technologies at (604) 513-9428.
The Types of Backup
Here are four of the most common types of backup that you can expect to see in an office environment:
- Full backup: This type of backup makes a copy of all selected files in their entirety. Most backup solutions will have to initially go through this process, and since this is such an intensive process, it will take longer than other data backup types. If this is your preferred method of backup, it will likely have to be done after-hours, as it takes a long time and could tie up processes that are needed during the workday.
- Differential backup: This type of backup only backs up changes made to the data. This allows for faster backups, but the process of recovery is much slower.
- Incremental backup: This type of backup is much like a differential backup, with the main difference being that an incremental backup will always back up the data regardless of if a full backup was completed or not.
- Mirror backup: A mirror backup makes a real-time duplicate of the source and backs it up. This creates complete redundancy, but it also comes with various issues. For example, if the material is deleted by mistake, the mirror will also be deleted. This reason alone dissuades IT technicians from using mirror backups as a viable solution for their backup needs.
Now that the types of data backup have been explained, we’ll go over some of the backup-related terms you might want to know.
- Business continuity: A business continuity plan is designed to help your business get back in proper functioning order if you’re ever hit by an unfortunate situation. All organizations need to have a business continuity plan in place.
- Disaster recovery: Disaster recovery is specifically there in the event your business suffers from a disaster involving data loss. This includes cyberattacks, sabotage, user error, and even weather-based disasters that destroy infrastructure.
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO): RPO is a benchmark that represents which data will be recovered by your business if it wants to get back to normal business operations following a disaster.
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO): RTO is a benchmark that represents the time needed for your business’ data to be restored. Minimizing this number is critical to keep downtime as low as possible.
Coleman Technologies can help your business by equipping it with a comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery system. To learn more, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.
What Makes a Good Backup Strategy?
It’s easy to underestimate just how valuable data is for a business, especially in today’s modern office environment. Protecting your data by any means necessary is critical to your continued success. The best way to do this is by using a comprehensive data backup solution that also has a disaster recovery component. While it might be tempting to back up all data on your network, it’s worth remembering that some data isn’t as valuable as other data. You’ll have to decide which data is worth more and design a strategy around making sure this is always available.
Resolutions for 2019
You should always strive for excellence in everything your business does, and data backup is one way your organization can improve itself for 2019. If you’re not sure how you can improve data backup and disaster recovery for your business, try following some of these guidelines:
- Implement a backup platform that lets you back up the data necessary to the operations of your business, minimizing downtime to keep costs low.
- Work with your IT administrator to plan your data backup solution based around specific factors like your recovery point objective and recovery time objective.
- Test your backups regularly to ensure that they work as intended. This means that any time you have to actually deploy a backup, you can know with certainty that they will work.
If you don’t have an IT administrator available who can help you with the process of implementing a data backup and disaster recovery solution, reach out to Coleman Technologies. Our professionals have seen their fair share of nasty situations that have led to the demise of unprepared business, like natural disasters, hacking attacks, and even user error; we don’t want it to happen to you as well.
We can help your business minimize downtime and expedite the restoration process with a data backup and disaster recovery solution from Coleman Technologies. To learn more, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.
Statistic #1: 75% of Small Businesses Don’t Have a Continuity Policy
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run. It could be a small mom-and-pop shop or a large business, the importance of continuity is still the same. Ultimately, it comes down to the possibility of a major setback. If you don’t have continuity, you might have to close down for a few days until conditions have improved (if they improve).
Imagine the following scenarios:
- Let’s say you run a deli or other similar small business. The hardware on your payment card system crashes and you lose your customers’ financial information. How do you think they would react to this? It might not be stolen, but the situation doesn’t help anyone.
- You run a small retail business with several employees. What if one of them checks their email and clicks on a link, installing malware on the computer in the process? Something simple like this can be devastating for a business.
A comprehensive data backup strategy can help you combat threats to your business’ continuity. Everything from hardware failure to employee sabotage should be considered for this plan. In other words, you’re preparing for a worst-case scenario, and no stone should be left unturned.
Statistic #2: Over Half of Companies Have Experienced Downtime Lasting Longer Than a Full Work Day in the Last Five Years
Downtime can end even the strongest business. If you experience operational downtime on a regular basis, you’re not producing anything during that time. This also means that nobody is making sales, and you’re paying people to do nothing. From the perspective of data recovery, if you don’t have your data backed up and ready to be restored, downtime is a business killer. If you don’t have data, you can’t get much done.
Redundancy is a key factor for business continuity. A BDR solution provides a network-attached device that can both back up local data and push it to the cloud. This means that it can be found in either location in the event of a disaster, improving the odds of recovering swiftly.
Statistic #3: Nearly 77% of Malware-Compromised Organizations in 2017 Were Hit By “Fileless” Malware
It’s no surprise that the spread of malware has evolved over the past decade, growing more sophisticated and more difficult to handle. There have been times in the past where antivirus solutions and firewalls have failed to handle some of the more recent additions to hackers’ repertoires of threats, resulting in stolen data and corrupted systems.
That being said, fileless attacks aren’t anything new. These types of attacks don’t leave behind executable files, making them more difficult to trace back to their sources and remove. Here are some of the more popular fileless techniques used:
- Registry-resistant: Attackers store malicious scripts in the registry to help them survive system reboots and make it hard to remove.
- In-memory: Attackers utilize exploits and code-injection to load and execute malware straight from a system’s RAM.
- Living off the Land: By injecting malicious code into legitimate admin tools, an attacker can disseminate malware throughout a system without any warning at all.
Regarding data backup, malware attacks can complicate the recovery of your business. If malware manages to infiltrate your network at multiple endpoints, it can be difficult to root out the issue and get it resolved quickly. A data backup and recovery solution can make it much easier to recover, as long as the malware hasn’t managed to corrupt your backups (hence why you store them off-site). You can effectively eliminate downtime and the costs associated with it, since the network-attached device essentially acts as a server until you can get your hardware replaced or repaired.
Coleman Technologies can help prepare you for even the worst scenarios. To learn more, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.