In the event of a natural disaster or malicious data breach, do you know how long it will take your business to recover? This is a question that keeps many CEOs and business owners up at night. If you don’t have a plan for returning to business after a catastrophic event that takes your system down, you’re running on borrowed time.
With the rise of cybersecurity threats due to social engineering it’s more important than ever to be prepared. This August, Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City paid an undisclosed amount of money to hackers who were holding their entire system hostage with ransomware. Unfortunately, these attacks are becoming more sophisticated and adept at bypassing security. Companies not protected by regular data backups and a detailed disaster recovery plan are putting themselves at a dangerous level of risk.
There are different levels of disaster recovery, with regular data backups being the absolute minimum. From there, you need to decide what level of risk you can tolerate and how long your business can run without critical data.
Business Continuity vs. Disaster Recovery
It’s important to differentiate between business continuity and disaster recovery. Disaster recovery is the ability to restore your data and replace your infrastructure after a catastrophic event damages or destroys it. Typically, during the disaster recovery period, your focus is on the restoration of your data and internal system.
Business continuity is the plan you put in place to maintain your normal business operations during a period of disaster recovery. When coming up with a business continuity plan, your managed service provider (MSP) will likely ask how long your business can operate without data. Depending on your answer, they’ll be able to craft a solution for your business that balances recovery speed with your available budget.
Balancing Disaster Recovery Speed and Budget
Your approach to disaster recovery and business continuity is always going to be a balancing act between speed and cost. Every business wants to return to normal operations as quickly as possible. Depending on your industry, there may also be compliance standards you need to follow.
RTO and RPO
The two most important metrics to consider when thinking about your disaster recovery and business continuity plans are RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective).
RTO is the amount of time your business can survive with all systems down. An RTO of three hours is going to cost a lot more to achieve than an RTO of three weeks.
RPO is the amount of data you can afford to lose before your backups kick in. This dictates how often you should back up your data. These two metrics can help guide your decision-making process as you find the optimal data backup plan that gets your business back on track after a disastrous event.
Finding a Plan that Protects Your Business
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about disaster recovery. Many people emphasize the need for regular backups, but the primary focus of your plan should always be on recovery. What good are regular backups if takes two weeks to get the rest of your system back online?
It’s extremely difficult for a business to take care of this process independently, so many turn to MSPs. The right IT partner will work with you to customize the best possible disaster recovery plan for your business.
Your MSP should continually test your backups, and you should feel empowered to ask for your data at any time. If they’re not willing to do this for you, start looking for another provider.
At Network Tech, we start every new partnership with a Business Impact Analysis to determine which applications are most important to your business. This drives the creation of your disaster recovery plan. From there, we determine solutions – typically, a combination of hardware, software and replication technology – that can update your backups as often as you require.
Contact us today for a personalized backup or disaster recovery assessment.