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What Every Business Owner Must Know About Data Backup, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity (Part 4)

October 24, 2012
Reading Time: 3 mins

Problems with Disk Backup & Disk Imaging Systems

In Part 3, we explored one of the techniques that you probably have in place right now and the weaknesses that you should keep in mind when planning for the impact of a business failure or disaster.

In Part 4, we will further explore another of the techniques that you probably have in place right now and the weaknesses that you should keep in mind.

External Disk Backup or Disk Imaging Software.

We have progressively moved our customers to this in recent times so as to overcome the limitations of tape backups. One new great advantage of Disk Imaging software is that we can rebuild an entire server quickly from a disk image in case of a total server failure.

They are a step in the right direction, but I still haven’t been totally satisfied with this approcash as it still has some shortcomings:

Problem 1 : What happens to the data that was created since my last backup? Ever heard of a system failure conveniently occurring right after the backup was finished? Disk backups and Disk Imaging software all use a ”snapshot” approach. They backup the data as it existed at the time of the backup. It is a snapshot of the business then. It has nothing to do with the business now. You will always lose some data in case of a system failure. Do you know what you lost ?

1. If your server died at 3pm today and your backup was last night:

1. How many email-based deals / quotes / customer discussions could ALL of your staff re-create from memory?

2. How much goodwill would you lose if you couldn’t recreate an email from an important customer. Is there a chance you could lose business / goodwill / productivity?

3. What was the last invoice or quote or supplier payment keyed into MYOB ?

1. Solution 1a – Run backups all day long – every hour, etc. The reality is you can’t do this

Problem 2 : Time To recover. If your server itself is damaged/lost you have to wait for new hardware to arrive before you can even start the recovery process! How long can you really be off the air or without key data ?

Problem 3 : Our customer’s data is now also outgrowing the capacity of the portable external disk drives. Just because you’re business is not a household name doesn’t mean that you don’t have huge amounts of data!

1. Attempted Solution 3a – Buy a bigger portable USB disk drive – The reality is that USB disk drives still only have a maximum capacity of a couple of Terabytes.

Problem 4 : The backups are still slow. Backups are still taking hours and still running in business hours slowing down the network!

1. Attempted Solution 4a – Buy a faster disk drive. Problem is, these newer technology USB drives are more up to date than our customer’s servers. So we can’t even take advantage of the speed o f these new disk drives. Does your server have an eSATA, Firewire or USB 3 port! Probably not.

2. Attempted Solution 4b – Delay the backups . Let’s put the backup off until the weekend ! So, what happens if a failure occurs during the week. We have lost that data completely ! Same problem as tape drives.

Problem 5: What happens if the disk drives fail. The reality is that most external drives only have a 12 month warranty. They are mechanical devices and they actually last a shorter time than tapes! There is no real protection against this.

Problem 6: – Human Error. Did your staff member rotate the USB disk drives and store them off-site as they should? External Disk drives are not exactly as portable as tapes.

Sensible Business Solutions has developed a Sensible Recovery System which will help your dramatically reduce the impact of any Business Interruption or failure . Contact Sensible for more details.

In Part 5, we will discuss the Sensible Recovery Solution which is designed to overcome the issues that we have found in the real world.

Email Kevin Spanner: info@sensible.com.au

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