When it comes to disasters, many small businesses and some enterprises like to believe they aren’t vulnerable. Unfortunately, no business is completely immune and should consider disaster recovery from the perspective of not if a disaster will strike, but when. Disasters come in all shapes and sizes, and whether it’s a natural disaster such as a hurricane, fire or flood, or a ransomware such as WannaCry or NotPetya that struck businesses around the world in recent years, businesses who prepare for disaster can bounce back more efficiently with little or less downtime than those who do not. With digital technology impacting nearly every aspect of the way we do business, we are generating and using more data that is spread across a range of physical, virtual and cloud platforms. Therefore, it’s critical to not only have multiple layers of backups, but also different forms of protection for each type of data.
Data Availability vs Data Durability
Ensuring high availability and durability of data are two priorities when it comes to disaster-proofing businesses. High availability refers to system uptime and technology that minimizes disruptions by providing IT continuity through hardware and software redundancy so that if a system falters, data can still be accessed. Data durability refers to long-term data protection so that stored data doesn’t suffer from corruption or disaster and focuses on data redundancy so data is never lost. While high availability and data durability serve different objectives, both are key components of data recovery.
When a disaster such as a hurricane or fire strikes, you risk losing not only physical assets like infrastructure, computers and hardware, but also data that’s stored on-premise. That’s why it’s important to secure data by sending copies off-site as a strategy called data vaulting. Data vaulting enables data to be automatically backed up to off-site servers that allow data to be accessed quickly and easily after a localized disaster, minimizing company down time and data loss.
Business solutions such as ERP applications hold a large amount of sensitive business data. If this data is lost in a disaster, the downtime would be detrimental. This is why many ERP vendors, such as VAI, offer multiple levels of backup for customers, utilizing N+1 redundancy. There are additional offsite backup copies provided at various cloud locations.
Carbonite, a VAI partner for five years, provides complete data protection with multiple levels of backup, including data vaulting. Rather than using tape or media for vaulting, Carbonite vaulting is done disk to disk, making it easily transportable to various locations and ensure minimal to no downtime.
The cloud has changed the way businesses operate, and one of the most significant applications for disaster recovery is data protection. Historically, data vaulting used to take place in customer data centers in different locations. Today, the more cost-effective, agile way to data vault now is through cloud providers.
Cloud backup is used to store business data and applications, whether from virtual systems or physical servers, and can be implemented through public cloud services, private clouds or a mix of both. Public clouds are offered by third-party providers usually over the public internet and often have pay-as-you-go scalability, a cost-effective benefit. Public clouds also offer greater reliability and scalability; if one data center is unavailable, the network can redistribute the data among remaining data centers.
Private clouds offer nearly all the same benefits of public clouds but with an added level of security. Private cloud servers work within the business’ own network, which also allows for more control over performance and the ability to tailor it to your own preference. A disadvantage of private cloud is that scalability is often limited. Because there are pros and cons to both options, some businesses choose to build a cloud strategy that includes their own private cloud and the use of a public one.
The cloud has many benefits over physical backups that can save businesses in the event of a disaster. Cloud storage means data can be accessed from many places across the globe. In the event a disaster strikes, businesses with high availability and data vaulting don’t need to worry about data loss and downtime, as they have prepared for this situation. In an environment where mobility is now the nature of business, employees can also do cloud backups, access data and perform effectively from wherever they are.
VAI uses its data centers and cloud backup to secure customers’ data. VAI's backup copies include multiple hot copies and multiple cold copies distributed across its and Carbonite’s data centers. In addition, VAI utilizes Carbonite as an on-boarding tool where they backup data from on-premise servers and restore to VAI's cloud.
As business applications such as ERP systems are collecting more valuable data than ever before, having a disaster recovery plan in place with a strong backup system is crucial to operations. Whether it’s a cyberattack, natural disaster or human error, no business is immune to a disaster and the recovery of business data is only as good as the levels of backup implemented.