Backup and Disaster Recovery
Telecommunication Services are varied, complicated, and confusing, even for the informed business professional. It is such a “moving target!” The world of Backup and Disaster Recovery is not any different. This information is meant to give our clients a simplified layout of the various levels, distinctions, and services of Backup and Disaster Recovery. First, let’s start with the different methods of backing up your information:
- Local File Backup: This method only makes a working copy of your data, documents, email, photo, and other workspace files. This can be accomplished by using an external hard drive or a flash drive. (Recommended storage devices)
- Local Encrypted File Backup: This is the same backup using the same types of devices but adding an encryption software to the backup which is protected usually by a login name and password to backup, read and restore the workable files.
- Cloud file (Encrypted) backup: This is done as a third-party service over the internet by a backup service provider (Cloud Backup as a Service – BaaS ) your information is sent over a private connection created and provided by the backup service organization running from your personal internet connection. This is called a Virtual Private Network and transference of your files are automatically sent encrypted.
“Mirrored” Backup – Disaster Prevention and Recovery
Local Mirrored Backup includes all of the system files, operating system, applications, programs and workspace files on your computer at the time the backup is run. It is done via “wired” or “USB Cable” connection to a physical “External” hard drive (EHD), connected outside your laptop / computer. Today’s external hard drives look like, and are the size of a smart phone. You can purchase an inexpensive external hard drive(s) from Best Buy or any electronics store. Western Digital or Seagate are my recommended “EHD’s.” Your EHD MUST be at least one and one half (1 ½ ) the size of your internal hard drive.
Example: 650 Gigabite internal hard drive = at least a one Terabite external hard drive.
Mirror Backup Software
This software takes a “picture” of the existing, original hard drive at that moment in time. A good software will continue to make these pictures at preset time increments which you will set. If your hard drive dies or a virus invades your computer, you can “back out” to the last “picture” taken without the virus or before the hard drive died.
How do I find the size of my hard drive?
Obtain this information by clicking on your “Computer” icon on your desktop (or clicking on start and clicking on “computer” in the right-hand list) and then right-clicking on each drive letter (C,D,E) These are your hard drive partitions. They should be named such as “Local disk, Recovery, etc.” Each partition will show the amount of used and free space and a grand total. Add up the totals from each partition.
Cloud Mirrored Backup – Disaster Recovery as a Service (DraaS)
Disaster Recovery is a service that creates a workable mirror image of your entire computer, server or network drives off site of the business location. Information is sent over private secured network(s) to the providers backup servers. Typically, there will be a second (redundant) Internet connection for fail-over and diverse transmission capabilities. This service is for organizations whose continuous computing operations are critical to the survival of the organization. It will typically include the following:
- A supplied, on-premise physical appliance(s) of some kind which will continuously back up the activity on the local network. (server, switch, etc).
- This device also sends this information into the virtual machines at the provider’s data center.
- A redundant image is also created at a second data center as well. The best-in-class DR providers place this second device in a “geographically diverse” location (different geographical regions or opposite sides of the US or globe.
- All appliances are thus updated both on-premise and in the cloud at all times.
What are the benefits of DR?
- There is a 100% assurance that your operation’s critical information will be protected.
- Restoring of information can be accomplished in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks.
- You are assured of 100% uptime operation of your business. Local disasters or total loss of your building or headquarters is mitigated by being able to operate “virtually” from the cloud infrastructure on their virtual machines from anywhere you can gain internet access, including, yes, from a Starbucks temporarily if necessary.
- Higher Efficiency and productivity — some companies leverage the high-bandwidth access at the data centers by having remote users upload and download information directly to and from these redundant mirrored servers. This eliminates the need for higher bandwidth requirements / expenses, and access bottlenecks at the local servers, improving flow of information. An example would be a large, national mortgage brokerage firm with several satellite locations who access forms and upload applications effortlessly to and from the cloud servers instead of long wait-times accessing the local HQ server
- Virtualization — Some providers offer this service as an add-on providing virtual machines as a total solution eliminating the need for an on-site server. This is called “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure” (VDI) or “Remote Desktop as a Service” (RdaaS).