With the massive number of office closures brought on by COVID-19, millions of employees are now working remotely, creating new backup and recovery challenges that you may or may not have experienced yet. While some businesses are already reopening, many will continue having their employees work remotely.
Google is one example of the new normal, with plans to have most employees continue working remotely until 2021. Forbes speculates that even when businesses can safely reopen, more employees will likely continue to work from home than before the pandemic. These changes have forced many businesses to adapt to new requirements for backup and recovery. Fortunately, there are recognized best practices for keeping data safe and recoverable, even during the work-from-home era.
Revise Your Recovery Objectives
Your backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan must include recovery objectives that help you determine what success looks like. With remote work becoming a new standard, it’s a great time to reevaluate your recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).
Ask yourself, given my current situation, can I still get systems back up and running fast enough to avoid costly downtime?
What if I can’t be there in person? With people working in many places, can I still back up systems frequently enough to protect critical data, Can I get access to the media that holds my backups? If not, will my systems need to be upgraded to achieve these goals, and do I have the budget? And, does my current backup solution give me the flexibility I need to keep data protected and easy to recover, even remotely? That brings us to the next section.
Evaluate Your Current Backup Solution
There are plenty of backup solutions, but many don’t offer the features you need to manage fully remote backup and recovery. Before you make any infrastructure or policy changes, reevaluate the backup solutions driving your backup strategy.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does the solution allow me to recover the right point in time, like 1 hour ago or 24 hours ago?
- How long would data take to recover due to the size of data or location or the backup media?
- Can I test backups remotely with no costs to help me sleep at night?
- Could another person within the business get data restored from a backup if I am not around to help?
- DO I get full visibility when a backup has an issue? and if so how long are you vulnerable without 100% Backups on average a quarter?
If your Backup solution can’t do these things, you may struggle to meet your client’s needs and so impact your relationships and future work.
Focus on Cloud-Based Backup and Recovery
The cloud makes the work-from-home era possible. According to data from Box, digital collaboration has increased by 19 percent in the last two weeks of February 2020 relative to the same period in 2019. But it’s not just file and folder sharing that depends on the cloud. An effective remote backup strategy uses the cloud for taking and storing backups, restoring them, and managing the whole process. Let’s take a quick look at each of these areas.
Microsoft Office 365
Do you already utilise Microsoft Office 365 for email, OneDrive, Teams? If yes do you have a backup in place to cover this data, as Microsoft does not? Microsoft clearly state they will supply the service and functionality but they are NOT responsible for your data. If you do not back up this data currently, you could be putting the business at risk with no way back if this data accidentally gets deleted.
Server and Applications
Do you 100% backup your complete business services or just the data? When did you last test the 100% recovery and see a complete service operational and tested somewhere other than your live environment? Best practice backup and continuity will now allow you to recover the complete service in a test cloud system to complete full continuity testing at minimum once a year. This means you can not only sleep at night knowing this is possible but also know exactly how long this takes and how this performs against your live systems.
Creating security around your data is critical to not requiring a backup service restore and so keeping your data and services online 24/7. The main front line element is a Good Password Practices policy and system configurations to make it easier for your staff to not fall into the human default of using week reoccurring passwords.
Conduct a risk assessment on you systems to include backups and continuity to see if your current setup matches the current business requirements – use our free risk assessment template to start you off on this journey, as always we are not far away and can help guide you.
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