disaster recovery

Analytics are critical for effective data backups

Collecting data is vital for keeping records, tracking performance, and delighting customers. With so much on the line, it’s never been more important to have backups of all your files. If your data is growing at a rate that’s hard to keep up with, analytics tools are an awesome way to figure out which backups matter most and how to prioritize them.

An excess of information

Nowadays, too much data may sound like a good thing. But for many organizations, creating backups in real-time isn’t economical. So if you’ve wondered how you should structure your backup plan to prioritize the critical files, we have an answer: Analytics tools.

Analyzing vast amounts of data quickly and affordably has never been easier for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The key is working with experienced IT professionals to customize a solution to meet your needs. As an MSP (managed IT services provider), we’ve spent years designing business continuity and disaster recovery plans, often for SMBs that couldn’t create backups every hour.

A smarter solution

Depending on your needs, we can set up sophisticated analytics tools that determine what is most essential to your business’s day-to-day operations. These solutions prioritize data in order of importance and translate that to a backup structure that ensures the right data is safe and sound should disaster strike.

These tools integrate with your existing data-backup solution but provide it with a map of what to save first, and what to leave for later. That results in faster recovery times in the event of untimely outages or disruptions. Furthermore, using analytics increases efficiency and decreases overall backup costs by providing a better picture of what is unimportant versus what is unnecessary.

SMBs have been the drivers of innovation for decades because, as they say, “necessity is the mother of invention.” So whether you’re interested in top-of-the-line IT solutions or just need to get a better handle on disaster recovery, we’re ready to create a customized backup solution, just for you. Take a second to analyze that, then give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Disaster recovery during hurricane season

There’s no telling when natural disasters will occur. When they do, certain regions in the country often bear the brunt of their impact, like when Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit certain states in 2017. With a well-designed disaster recovery (DR) plan, your business can be spared from total devastation.

Determine recovery hierarchy

Certain parts of your IT are more mission-critical than others. Ask yourself which systems or data must be recovered in minutes, hours, or days to get your business back to running efficiently.

For example, you may find that recovering sensitive customer information and eCommerce systems take priority over recovering your email server. Whatever the case may be, prioritizing your systems ensures that the right ones are recovered quickly after a disaster.

Pay attention to location

First and foremost, your backup site should be in a hurricane-free zone. Ideally, your off-site facility should be located at least 100 miles away from your main location. If this isn’t possible, make sure it is built to withstand wind speeds of 160 mph (as fast as Category 5 storms), and is supported by backup generators and uninterruptible power supplies.

You should also request an upper floor installation or, at the very least, keep critical IT equipment 18 inches off the ground to prevent water damage.

Use image-based backups

Unlike fragile tape backups, image-based backups take “snapshots” of your systems, creating a copy of the OS, software, and data stored in it. From there, you can easily boot the virtual image on any device, allowing you to back up and restore critical business systems in seconds.

Take advantage of the cloud

The cloud allows you to host applications and store data in high-availability, geo-redundant servers. This means your backups can be accessed via the internet, allowing authorized users to access critical files from any device. Expert technicians will also watch over and secure your backups, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of enterprise-level backup facilities and IT support.

Back up your data frequently

Back up your data often, especially during disaster season. If your latest backups were created on the 15th of September and the next storm makes landfall on the 28th, you could lose nearly two weeks of data.

Get in the habit of replicating your files at the end of each day, which should be easy if you’ve opted for image-based backups.

Test your DR plan

After setting up your backups, check whether they are restoring your files accurately and on time. Your employees should be drilled on the recovery procedures and their responsibilities during and after disaster strikes. Your DR team should also be trained on how to failover to the backup site before the storm hits. Finally, providers, contractors, and customers need to be notified about how the hurricane will affect your operations.

As cell towers and internet connections may be affected during this time, make sure your company forums are online and have your employees register with the Red Cross Safe and Well website so you can check their statuses.

It’s nearly impossible to experience little-to-no disruptions during disasters like Harvey or Irma, but with the right support, you can minimize downtime. If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, call us today. We offer comprehensive business continuity services that every company should have.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
 
The-best-anti-ransomware-tool

Virtual DR: The best anti-ransomware tool

From CryptoLocker to WannaCry, ransomware has grown in sophistication and scope over the past few years. And given its widespread success with hackers, more ransomware attacks will likely be developed further into 2018. In anticipation of these attacks, many experts are saying that virtualized disaster recovery solutions may be the best way to defend against future ransomware.

Virtual DR

Virtual DR solutions allow you to create point-in-time copies, or “snapshots,” of operating systems, data, and virtual machines as they appear at a given point in time. These snapshots can then be loaded onto any workstation with everything still intact. In the event of a ransomware attack, administrators can essentially roll back the system to a point before the malware hit.

What’s great about point-in-time copy features is that they are automated. Just schedule the snapshots, and your virtual DR software will do the rest. And although virtual DR solutions vary, most of them have the capacity to store thousands of point-in-time copies, giving you plenty of restore points to choose from.

Why virtual DR trumps traditional DR

Traditional DR methods don’t have these features. Even though most computer operating systems have a system restore functionality, modern ransomware strains are designed to disable them. On the other hand, virtual DR software isolates point-in-time copies and restore functionality from virtual machines, which means they can’t be affected if one virtual machine was compromised with ransomware.

Another reason why traditional DR is not a great option is because there is a lot of manual labor involved. You have to copy all your data into a backup drive, reinstall applications, and reconfigure hardware. By the time you’ve recovered from the ransomware attack, the financial and reputational damage caused by downtime will have taken its toll on your business.

When recovering your system, you want as little hassle as possible. With virtual DR, you can load a clean, ransomware-free snapshot onto your system in less than 30 minutes.

However, implementing virtual DR can be complex, especially if you don’t have much IT expertise. But if you partner with us, this won’t be a problem! Call us today to get robust solutions that guarantee business continuity.