Data Loss: Risk Management, Backups, and Disaster Recovery: By George Fedoseyev, Server Engineer, MCSE: Server Infrastructure
Throughout my consulting career, I have always viewed business continuity as one of the main areas of focus. It does not matter whether we are working with a home user or a large corporation – the customer’s data integrity has always been and will be priority number one. It is imperative to pause your day to day operations and find the time to think about the potential consequences of ignoring your backups, not having disaster recovery, or performing risky activities.
It always surprises me the amount of unnecessary risks the IT departments take. When performing system cutovers, migrations, and upgrades it does not take much to check on the status of the backups for the systems one is working on. In the unfortunate circumstance when the backups are not adequate before the scheduled migration, the migration or any activity should be postponed until the backup situation is resolved. Often IT departments are under heavy pressure from other business units to deliver under strict deadlines; however, data loss should never be allowed to occur. As a Server Engineer at Managed Solution, we strive on providing the highest quality work and minimizing risks. I am proud to state that Managed Solution has great guidelines to mitigate risk when it comes to backups with our BDRs, practices to check backups prior to cutovers, and overall awareness of the situation. I am happy to see engineers back out of risky projects and put a hold on cutovers involving risks of data loss until the underlying issue is resolved.
Every business should view their backups as the cornerstone of IT. Go to your IT department right now and ask them how confident they are in their backups and how much backup history can your existing system provide. Are you satisfied with the response? If you are a small or medium size business, or even a large one, the answer might be no. Why is this the case? Why do businesses often ignore the most crucial aspect of IT operations or do not invest enough to make sure that their business is resilient to data loss? This is the question that we often ask our clients when planning to build out their environments. Under certain conditions a poorly timed backup and server failure can cause irreparable damage to the business or even force it to close its doors for good. It is strongly encouraged to re-evaluate your backup and disaster recovery plans as often as possible and to ensure that they are aligned with the business needs.
“Hey, I’m mitigating risk according to best practices and my backups are in good shape. I got my bases covered.” I’m sure we are all happy to hear that from any client. There is a small culprit, however. Where will the backups be restored to? Is there enough server resources available to absorb the full load of another failed server? How long will it take a vendor to deliver another server to your location, if not? What are your options if your primary file server with 5 TB of data goes down? How long will it take to restore all that data? All of these questions should be considered and discussed with stakeholders before the disaster strikes.
When any IT professionals follow risk management, backups, and disaster recovery best practices, they can come out looking like heroes in an otherwise very poor-looking situation. These practices will reduce the amounts of business productivity and financial losses, stress, and overnight repairs. Do not wait until it is too late, learn on mistakes of others, and prevail and prove your system is ran by a true professional!
About the author:
George Fedoseyev is a server engineer with over ten years of experience working in Information Technology field. Most of his professional career George has worked with as a managed service provider focusing on infrastructure, messaging, and SharePoint design and implementation. Originally from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, George has moved to sunny San Diego in the early 2000.
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