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In a world of “always-on” cloud databases, it can be easy to feel like data backup and recovery has become a thing of the past, leading to the question, “is backup dead?”

When it comes to disaster recovery and planning, the answer is a firm “no.” Here’s why.

 

Understanding Backup’s Place in the Disaster Recovery Journey

It’s important to remember that disaster response is an elastic term that covers a constantly changing set of concepts, technologies and business assets. Much like “the cloud” or “the internet of things,” disaster recovery is an idea that means something different for each company.

But one fact remains true in any context: Disaster recovery is about protecting what must be protected to keep your business running.

To understand why data backup is such a crucial component of recovering from a disaster, it’s helpful to examine the journey of that recovery.

A typical disaster response plan follows this basic path:

  • Asset identification: Crucial data assets are identified and tagged as being necessary to conduct business, requiring backup.
  • Monitoring and alert: Data and assets are monitored for a potential disaster, with procedures to alert key personnel and systems when a disaster is detected.
  • Backup and replication: Once the disaster has passed, critical data that has been previously backed up is restored (i.e., replicated from backup sources), allowing normal operations to resume.

The crucial metrics for an effective disaster recovery plan are the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO).

An RPO describes how much data a company is willing to lose in a disaster. For example, an RPO of one hour means a company plans to back up its data often enough that it never risks losing more than one hour’s worth of data.

An RTO describes how quickly a company wants to be able to resume normal operations following the disaster. From a budget standpoint, the RTO is critical, since every hour of downtime can easily cost a company thousands of dollars. Indeed, unplanned downtime routinely costs Fortune 500 companies $70 million every year, and even small breaches can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

 

The Backup Linchpin

Clearly, if recovery time is the most important metric for a disaster response plan, then data backup and replication is the most important component of that plan. In fact, backup and recovery exactly describes both the first and last steps of a disaster response plan—without its data, how can your business resume its normal operations?

Crucially, backup can’t be left to its own devices if you want to avoid wasting money on extended downtime. Your cloud platforms and hosted databases are certainly backed up, but when, and how often? The truth is you won’t know the answer to that question until it’s too late—until the disaster has come and gone, and you realize you’ve lost an entire day’s worth of data, for example.

The entire point of disaster-oriented backup procedures is that they can’t be left to chance—they must be structured precisely to meet your RPO and RTO objectives. Accordingly, it’s clear that backup and recovery aren’t going away, and they’re still the first step in crafting an effective solution-based disaster response plan.

Contact MicroAge today to find out how your company can ensure that its backup and recovery procedures will be ready when disaster strikes.

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At MicroAge, we have over four decades of experience in supporting organizations with their Disaster Recovery strategies.

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