Business is built on data. There was a time when having copies of data was hard – a few strategic fires in the ancient world and middle ages wiped out detailed records of untold generations of human history.
With digital data and networks, our options for making copies, in different ways, and putting them in different places, are many, affordable, and available to meet virtually every need.
Backups (and Data Recovery), are one of the few truly proactive defences against cyber attacks, physical disasters, human errors, and hardware failures.
Creating accurate data in the first place is expensive; having to recreate data (if such a thing is even possible), while keeping on top of new business, is usually much harder; Pund-IT believes that the order of priorities is Backups, then Operations, then everything else.
Backups are a part of Business Continuity Planning, in which one holistically considers how to respond to risks that might otherwise halt business; this post focuses on keeping data safe, there’s a lot more that can become part of the risk mitigation conversation!
Principles of Backing up Data:
Backups are cheap insurance against misfortune – whatever the costs to backup are, they are lower than the costs and stress of having no backups when you need them.
The goal is to have as many independent copies of your data, in as many places, and ways as is possible and sensible. Overlapping layers of protection drive down risk.
A common rule of thumb for how many copies to have, at minimum: 3 copies – Production, Onsite Backup, Offsite Backup.
At Pund-IT, our backup goals are:
- Backups in at least two different ways – “Images” of systems both onsite & off and copies of Key Files storage directly offsite.
- Automation: Key goals need to be met without depending on humans; we have supplementary tasks (e.g. clients doing month-end extra copies). Automation both backs up daily, and tests backups daily.
- Oversight: Humans monitor daily, and do by-hand test restores monthly – proving that the systems truly work, and our team always knows how to restore.
- Recoverability: Restores of system Images should be instant, not hours. When we store client system images offsite, we partner that data with VM Host resources, so even if a client site is destroyed, booting the infrastructure from our data centre is an option.
- All Data, not just In-the-Office Data: Key SaaS applications, like Office 365, Google Workspace, QuickBooks Online, Salesforce – they all store critical business data; none of those providers provide backups (if push comes to shove, they have the right to ask you to restore from your backups). Pund-IT recommends both Cloud-to-Cloud and Cloud-to-Premise solutions for various Cloud products.
- Retention: Keeping as many restore points as possible for as long as possible; generally for system images, our goal is 3 months (we often achieve a year or more), and for files, indefinitely (or a year after they’ve been deleted).
- Encryption: All backup data needs to be sent and stored encrypted, and every client needs to have unique, carefully guarded encryption keys.
- Separation between Systems: RansomWare attackers need to both destroy your data and your backups in order to succeed – making certain that backup data is truly separate from production systems is critical.
- Extra Copies! Extra testing! At Pund-IT, we encourage extra copies. Everything clients send into our data centre, for example, we in turn send to a secondary site. We support our clients in having manual week or month end processes for having extra manual copies of portable drives. If we have an opportunity to restore, we take it. We configure extra snapshot processes, and recycle-bin settings opportunistically.
- Compliance: Some folks will have regulatory compliance needs, or simply need to be sure that they have copies from the past to protect themselves in case of a dispute.
The Risks of Data Loss:
Data loss comes in many forms; mitigating the risks starts with knowing what they are. Broadly speaking, we consider these major risks:
- Hardware Failures: Hard drive crashes, power surges, or faulty hardware components.
- Cyberattacks: Malware, ransomware, and other malicious attacks can encrypt or destroy critical data, making it inaccessible until a ransom is paid or a recovery process is implemented.
- Human Errors: Accidental file deletion, formatting the wrong drive, errors in cloud services management, or unfortunately timed inattention can result in significant data loss.
- Natural Disasters: Fires, floods, earthquakes, or other catastrophic events can physically damage hardware and storage devices, making data recovery a complex task.
- Regulatory/Business Issues: Data loss can come from loss of control, or because of “cloud” vendor rules that are not in your favour (such as a service being discontinued, or rules that make restoring impossible in certain circumstances).
- Cascading Failures: One failure may not cause a loss, but sometimes, “when it rains, it pours” – ensure a resilient combination of measures, such that it doesn’t all unravel just because more than one problem happened at the same time.
Pund-IT Data Recovery & Backup Solutions
At Pund-IT, we offer three different backup solutions designed to meet the different needs of businesses. Our lineup includes: Kopi File, Kopi Image, and Kopi Collab.
- Kopi File: Tailored for safeguarding files and data, allowing scheduled automated backups while ensuring the secure preservation of important documents.
- Kopi Image: Provides image-level backups, capturing complete snapshots of systems for quick and comprehensive recovery.
- Kopi Collab: Designed to protect collaboration documents from platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
With our backup solutions, you can confidently protect your critical data, mitigate the risks of data loss, and ensure the resilience and continuity of your business operations.
Data recovery and backups are vital components of any business’s disaster recovery and continuity plans.
By investing in robust data protection strategies, be it via our Kopi products and processes, or by analogous practices, you drive down risk, protect your ability to operate, your reputation, and generally spend more time running the business rather than worrying about what may be.
We’re always happy to be a sounding board on any data protection questions. Stay safe out there friends!
Looking forward to more years of serving you well,
- The Pund-IT Team