This is part 2 of a 5 part series where we reveal what we think are essential computer support services for your small business. Please check out the following links where we describe some essential services that a good computer support company will provide:
Let's look at the importance of:
One of the very first things you MUST put in place in your computer network is a reliable, automatic, and TESTED backup system. A computer support services provider will be very aware of current network technologies and will make recommendations to protect your server and your data so that you suffer no data loss or lost time for your business.
Backup is one of those things that you don’t think about until you actually have a problem and you need it. Is your business data really and truly backed up? How do you know?
Don’t wait until your business computers crash before you verify that you have a good backup.
Your backup provider should be able to send you regular backup job reports that you can review. Periodic testing of your backup is a MUST so you know that if you had to, you could resume business operations in an emergency.
What are the risks and why do you need a backup?
You need a good backup solution because there are a lot of risks out there. Have you heard of Ransomware? It is a malicious file that you may inadvertently open. The file will encrypt your files on your computer and on your network and demand you pay a ransom to decrypt it. Click here for some more info on ransomware and how even US police departments have fallen victim to this crime.
There are other threats from viruses, human error, or even malicious employees like this genius:
What kind of backup should we put in place?
Long gone are the days of saving valuable information to an external USB drive, or a thumb drive. If you don’t get these drives off-site, they are bound to be destroyed in the same catastrophe affecting the computer or server you are trying to protect.
One of the best backup solutions is a BDR.
What’s a BDR?
A BDR is a backup and disaster recovery device which looks just like a server, or a computer. This “appliance” is housed at your site allows you to backup as much data as you would like, depending on the BDR size you have planned for.
The BDR makes an actual copy of your server and stores it on the appliance, as often as every 15 minutes. The appliance is then replicated to an offsite, geographically distinct datacenter like the one we use.
Some terms you should know
RTO and RPO
What are RTO and RPO?
A simple way to describe these terms is this:
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is how long it takes you to get back to business if you have to resort to a backup.
For example, if you are okay with it taking 24 hours to get back to business after a catastrophe where you had to restore your systems from a backup, your Recovery Time Objective, or RTO is 24 hours.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is how recent you want your backup to be, ie; 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, a day, etc.
If you are also okay with losing a day of work because your backup is only run once per day, this is the Recovery Point Objective or RPO. With a modern BDR however, there is no reason to limit the backup to only once daily.
Would you prefer to only lose 15 minutes of work, or a whole day’s worth of work? Perhaps no loss at all? Bottom line, you want both RTO and RPO to be as short as possible if not real time.
What if my server crashes?
Your first line of defense for your DATA recovery is with the local appliance. Not only can you restore individual files and directories, you can actually restore a crashed server, either to a replacement server or you can “spin up” a copy of the server and run it right from your BDR. You will be able to continue to operate your business in a very short period of time, usually less than 30 minutes.
What if both my server and BDR are destroyed?
Your second line of defense, if you should lose both your local server and your BDR would be to spin up the replicated copy of your server in the off site data center. This can be done rather quickly as well and your company can be operational in minutes, as opposed to days or weeks without a BDR system in place.
What does a BDR cost?
When you determine the size requirement, or how much total data you would need for a copy of your server and any key workstations that you would like to backup, the BDR can choose the proper size of BDR. The cost would be somewhere between a high-end computer and a entry-level server.
You may consider a BDR solution as a service from your local computer support services company. You should be able to get a predictable FLAT-RATE pricing model that works well with your small business budget. With this model, you pay a monthly fee for both on-site appliance and off-site data replication. Click for more info on a FLAT-RATE BDR solution for your small business.
If you have the right solution in place, you will greatly minimize if not eliminate your risk of data loss for your small business.
A network technologies company will help you to determine the proper sized system for your data footprint (how much data you have to protect), as well as the amount of risk you are accepting based on the solution that you choose. Fortunately, there are very affordable options that you may put in place that have a fixed monthly cost so that you will know in advance what to budget for.
If you are interested in hearing more about a BDR to protect your business solutions, please click this link: