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Your data backups are setting you up for Disaster!

Have you answered the one important question that WILL save your business in a disaster? What most companies fear, just happened. Two weeks ago one of our “clients” servers failed. I put quotations around the work clients, since this is one of those clients that only call us when there is a problem. They neglect server maintenance, backup monitoring as well as the value added services we provide – such as Disaster Recovery Planning.

The client’s hard drive controller was failing and was causing issues with the raid functionality, basically their hard drive setup was failing causing an un-bootable server. Luckily, for the quick thinking and skill of my staff, we were able to get the server up temporarily and capture a virtual copy of the server. This allowed our client to get back up and running.  They were lucky, very lucky and were still down for over a day.

Too many business take a false security in just “having backups”.  Just having backups does not prepare you for an actual failure, unless you are comfortable with a 2 day to 2 week outage.

There is one question that so many IT Service Providers fail to ask their clients. This one question serves two purposes:

  1. It provides the IT Service Provider with direction on what type of Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) system to put in place.
  2. Helps Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) recognize the value of their data and establishes legitimate confidence in their systems and ability to recovery from disaster.

Answering this one question is the key to preparing for companies to sustain their business.

How long can your business run without access to your data and computer systems before negatively impacting clients and costing you more money than you are willing to lose over an outage?

Take a minute to think about what happens when your server/computers go down:

  • No access to financial applications (Invoices, bills)
  • No access to your POS system
  • No access to your key applications, such as inventory or database applications
  • In some cases, your staff can no longer work and you are still paying them.
  • No remote access for employees on the road or clients that access your systems directly.

Most companies “have backups”, but the majority cannot recovery quickly enough not to impact their business permanently. If you just “have backups”, here is your likely time frame of recovery. This is, of course, subjective based on your equipment, reliability of your existing backups and the skill of your IT Service Provider:

  • Fill Loss, accidental deletion – 1 Day
  • Major Software Failure (bad security update, major virus infection, data corruption) – 2 Days
  • Major Hardware Failure (failure of motherboard, hard drive controller, hard drive(s)) – Up to 5 days
  • Total site disaster (Fire, theft, flood) – Up to 10 days, assuming there are reliable offsite backups.

If these are not acceptable outages, then your business is not prepared.

Invest in Contingency, Don’t “insure” Against Data Loss

Backups are not insurance. Hard drives and computers systems in general have a 100% failure rate.  Yes, eventually 100% of computers will fail.  It is just a matter of time. If you are thinking that these failure are just a part of the risks of running business, you are wrong.  The technology in this area has progressed to amazing levels. For example, there are technologies out there that can have you back up and running in 10 minutes, even is someone takes a sledge hammer to your server.  There are even services in place that will have you up and running at a remote location if your entire building burns down or there is a theft of equipment.  At a more than reasonable price.

First, know your tolerance for an outage. Next, call your IT Service Provider and if they can’t put a solution in place, find someone who can.

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