Backups & Business Continuity. What's the difference?

September 19, 2017 by
Backups & Business Continuity. What's the difference?
Lighthouse IT Solutions, Matthew Almendinger

What would happen to your business if it lost all its data?

What is Business Continuity?

More and more our businesses depend on data. Data that is primarily stored electronically – and why wouldn't we? We can easily automate, search, share, and access data that is stored in a computer system, but what happens when faced with the unthinkable?

That's where Business Continuity steps in. This is a set of plans, processes, and audits structured together that will allow your business to keep going when a catastrophe strikes. This can all be managed by your MSP.

What about Backups?

Backups are copies of data that can be used in the event of data loss or disaster, but backups do not involve a plan on how to restore your network in times of catastrophe – they are merely a piece of the Continuity pie.

Thinking that having a backup strategy might be good for your company?

Obtain IT Harmony

What do I need for a Business Continuity Strategy?

A great Business Continuity Strategy involves these major concepts:

  • Automated Image-level Backups: Are backups that capture an entire server's storage system. These backups are exact replicas of the disk structure and include system state information for restoring the backups to alternate hardware. These backups should occur very frequently as your restore process will cause you to lose any information added after that backup was taken.
  • Off-site Replication/Storage: Backups should be frequently copied to offsite storage or a set of the storage media be stored off-site in case of catastrophe to your physical building.
  • Flexible Recovery: Your recovery should enable you to restore with ease to dissimilar hardware or be exported to a virtual machine image, in case your physical equipment cannot be recovered or is destroyed.
  • Documentation: A successful business continuity strategy includes documentation and description of how you plan on rebuilding your network in time of catastrophe. It should outline how often the backups are being done, where they are stored, how you intend to restore them (such as to Microsoft Azure or Amazon), and how you plan to allow clients to access the temporary network (such as Remote Desktop Services).
  • Auditing/Verification: The most neglected item is verification & auditing. Your plan should be tested at least 1-2 times per year to make sure that it is still functional. Backups should be tested at least quarterly to ensure integrity.