Tech Thursday: How To Develop a Backup Plan

Tech Thursday: How To Develop a Backup Plan

Threats to your company’s data are very real, and are increasing at an alarming pace. Whether it’s a hacker, malware, or a physical disaster like fire or flood, as a system administrator, you need to be sure that your data is protected and that it can be recovered quickly and easily in the event of a disaster.

This article will walk you through the ins and outs of deciding what data you need to protect and from what threats. Next week, we will look at various backup solutions, their pros and cons, and how to layer them to effectively protect your environment from a range of threats. Finally, we’ll examine how having a disaster recovery plan can bail you out should the unspeakable happen.

Decide What Needs Protection

The first thing you’ll need in order to create an effective backup plan is to determine what exactly you need to protect, and to what extent you need to protect it. This would include things like file servers, groupware and document management applications, plus the infrastructure necessary to run these services.

For example, if your business uses SharePoint to manage documents, one way to back them up would be to mirror the entire library to a directory, and then back those files up. But in the event that something happens to your SharePoint servers, not having the data available in the form that your users need for their existing workflows can be almost as bad as not having the data at all. The same goes for email, shared calendars, or custom web applications. While protecting the data itself is important, you’ll also need to think about what it will take to protect the infrastructure that houses the data.

Assess Risks and Threats

Once you’ve determined what to protect, you’ll need to figure out what you’re protecting against. Go ahead and make a list with as many situations as you can think of -- you can always narrow it down later.

This could include things ranging from hardware failures on your server, to a fire or flood in your building, to a crypto-ransomware attack or other malware outbreak. Even if the possibility seems remote, go ahead and include it in your plan. It could save you later on.

Determine What to Protect from What

The final stage in building a backup plan is to determine what items from List A needs to be protected from which threats in List B. For example, if your company’s office burns down, is it worth protecting 20 years worth of emails? In some industries, the answer is yes -- everything, especially archival data, needs to be saved. But in other cases, you can decide how, where, and how often different types of data need to be backed up.

Our next Tech Thursday article will cover the ins and outs of various backup solutions -- and how to use them to protect your company’s critical data.

 

E-N Computers is a leading provider of managed IT services in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today to find out how a custom-designed backup solution can protect your business from everything from minor mishaps to major catastrophes.