How to Avoid Data Loss

Data loss can take many forms: a lost or stolen laptop, server hardware failure, or even accidental deletion. By planning for situations like these, you can minimize operational disruptions when the worst happens. Last year, I faced a similar problem: my laptop was stolen. Luckily it was recovered only hours later, but I knew that my business would face only minimal disruption because my data is backed up hourly to multiple locations. Sure, I would have had to purchase a new laptop, but the cost of a new laptop is minimal compared to the cost of data loss.

Backing up your business critical data is a vital component of your business continuity and disaster recovery plans. There are a multitude of backup solutions available, and the right solution varies, depending on your specific use case. When planning your backup strategy, a good starting point is to determine what data is absolutely vital to the operation of your organization. Next, it’s important to document your RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) to ensure your solution is capable of meeting those objectives. Let’s break that down a bit.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) means how much data are you okay with losing? In other words, if your backups run once per day at midnight, are you okay with losing up to 24 hours of data? This could happen if your laptop was lost or stolen. Or perhaps your server hardware fails at 11:59pm, right before the next backup job was scheduled to begin at midnight, causing everything that happened in the previous 24 hours to be lost.

Recovery Time Objective (RTO) means how long are you okay with waiting for a backup to be restored? If we’re talking about that lost laptop, you may be fine with the recovery process taking several hours or even a whole day. But how about that server that houses your business critical data – the data and applications that you rely on to operate your business day to day?

Downtime is not only inconvenient, but also expensive, which is where the right backup and disaster recovery solutions become a vital aspect of your organization’s technology strategy.

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