Anyone who has been using a computer for a while knows the importance of backing up data. We have all lost data at some point of time and lamented for not creating a backup. Loss of personal data may result in heartache but loss of business data can result in bankruptcy. Customer data along with the website are the two most important assets for a web based business. In this series of blogs, we will take a look at various aspects of creating and restoring from backup.
Backup for Continuity
Regardless of the build quality and age, hardware is vulnerable to a crash without warning. Unpredictable events like fire or natural calamity can also disrupt the operations of a business. The likes of Amazon have experienced major network failures and it goes to show that no amount of preparation can save us from the unknown. When it is not going your way, servers and entire network grids will fail. Creating timely backups and making disaster recovery plans are key to continuity for a business of any size.
Normally, businesses don’t make backups because they depend on their web hosting service providers. Businesses that don’t have an in house IT staff are more often than not caught unaware when they upgrade to a VPN or dedicated server. With dedicated and VPN servers, the task of creating and managing backups is yours. If you don’t plan on hiring an in house IT technician to manage servers, it is best to opt for a managed plan where the responsibility is transferred to the service provider.
Make a data backup plan
When you make a plan for backups, the first step is to decide which files are mission critical, the second steps is to create a schedule for backups and the third is to decide the location to store the backup. A plan of action for backups and disaster recovery also involves selecting the right offsite location and provider. If you are making mirror images, your choice should be just as reliable as your main provider to be able to switch when you need and continue serving your customers without any downtime.
Type of backup
A mirrored remote backup can also be used for load balancing when the need arises to ease the load on your primary server. In comparison, a standard backup of critical files can only be used to restore your website when the need arises. Email accounts may need to be restored with full functionality when the primary server fails. If there’s a database that needs to be restored immediately, you might want to mirror it too.
What does your business need?
Maintaining a mirrored database is the best option but it is expensive. Depending on your business you may not need to make a mirror image of the server, a regular backup of critical files may do. Larger and frequent backups need more offsite space and bandwidth, in other words, higher costs. Location of the backup should preferably be remote even if it means a restore may take a few more minutes. Therefore, it is important to create a remote backup that meets the requirements of your business as there is no substitute for a complete backup when you need it.