The need for disaster recovery is clear, but companies can’t let the urgency of the situation obscure the importance of good data backup options. Organizations that use incomplete or unsuitable systems to protect their content may end up with severe problems if and when their data centers are struck by catastrophes. It can be a crushing feeling to assume that information is protected and be proven wrong, so it’s up to IT departments to form detailed checklists of their needs and run down those lists dutifully. There are many modern and helpful products out there to protect data, so there’s no excuse for employing a bad one.
Processes that promise protection
InformationWeek contributor Tim Brophy recently broke down the selection of new data backup tools, focusing on organizations using the cloud to host some or all of their systems. Companies that pursue these solutions have a range of options at their disposal, some of which will undoubtedly be helpful.
Defaulting to the cloud is an understandable choice today, especially for small businesses. These organizations are hoping to build IT systems that can compete with the best in their industries, and the cloud’s flexible scale model lets them do so. Cloud backup also holds many advantages no matter where data is being hosted, as the alternative offsite backup methods such as tape and hard drive storage tend to come with travel times and hardware limitations. Small companies working with limited budgets may not be able to afford them at all.
Brophy specified that when organizations move to the cloud, they may think that their systems are inherently safe from disasters. The author explained that this logic is flawed, however. He recommended that leaders work within their overall cloud strategies when selecting how they back up their data – not leaving the decision to everyday tech users or the IT department, but instead ensuring it fits in with the rest of the cloud choices being made.
As for the actual capabilities cloud backup systems should have, Brophy recommended picking one that gives ample reports on the status of the system so that administrators are never out of the loop. Furthermore, leaders should look into how flexible the solutions are regarding where content is backed up too and from. Whether data from on-premise solutions and cloud resources can be protected by the same system is a valid question, as is whether or not information can be restored at locations other than the one that created it.
Staying out of the shadows
When Brophy suggested tying backup closely to overall cloud strategy, he was thinking of a way to avoid shadow IT. Another InformationWeek columnist, Andrew Froehlich, listed backup as one of the solutions that employees tend to use without official approval. Unsupervised IT solutions are problematic to companies, hard to track and oversee. Froehlich also warned that this type of shadow activity takes place often – possibly far more often than business leaders anticipate. He quoted a Cisco survey that polled CIOs about how much shadow IT they suspected was occurring – the results showed that the actual amount of unapproved app use is between 15 and 20 times beyond those projections.