Disaster Recovery Solutions: What You Need to Know

What are the 4 questions you need to ask to ensure that you’re investing in the right disaster recovery solution? Carbonite, a cloud computing service that provides data backup that is simple and affordable, provides the information you need to begin to customize your own disaster recovery plan and avoid data loss.

Irwin Weiss, VP of IT at Carbonite, will be joining Zuora CIO Alvina Antar, along with Eric Johnson, SVP and CIO of DocuSign and other IT leaders in the subscription economy for a panel discussion on “Subscription CIOs Do IT Best” at our upcoming Subscribed conference April 12-13, 2016 in San Francisco.

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Building out a disaster recovery strategy can seem daunting. After all, you’re selecting the method that will allow you to recover all of your business’s important data in the event of a natural disaster, hardware failure, or user error.

Even though it can be difficult, it’s important to keep disaster recovery front of mind. The estimated cost of downtime for a small-to-midsize business (SMB) ranges from an average of $8,220/hour to $25,600/hour, according to new research from Spiceworks and IDC. And the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that anywhere from 40% to 60% of small businesses fail to reopen after a disaster. That’s partially due to data loss.

Now that may sound scary, but don’t worry, we can work through this together. For starters, here are some questions to ask to make sure you invest in the right disaster recovery solution:

    • 1. Bare metal, file level or database?

The first question to ask yourself when evaluating a disaster recovery solution centers on the methods you’ll use to back up data. A bare metal backup will take a snapshot of your entire computer. File level backup is great for restoring files that were accidentally deleted or removed. In general, we recommend using a system that supports a combination of bare metal restore and file level backup so you can use file level to restore single items when they’re lost and then also have that bare metal image in case your whole computer goes down.

    • 2. Servers, workstations or both?

What are you looking to back up? If your employees store most of their data on their workstations, you’ll want to include a workstation backup. If your company uses a central server or runs any databases you’ll also want to make sure that you have a server backup. In general, however, most people will see the best results with a combination of both workstation backup for their users and server backup for their databases and file servers

    • 3. Local, cloud or both?

Once you’ve figured out what you need to back up, it’s time to consider where this information should be kept. Backing up locally to a server that is on premises can make for the fastest recovery times. But it’s also important to back up your data to the cloud in case your office falls victim to a disaster such as a fire or flood. Cloud backups can be a little slower than local backups when it comes to restoring your data. But cloud backups provide the ultimate in peace of mind. As an added bonus, with cloud backup you can access your data from anywhere at any time. The best practice is to combine the two approaches into a hybrid solution so you can create a local copy of your important data for quick recovery and also move a copy of that data to the cloud for that extra layer of protection.

    • 4. Bring your own device or use an appliance?

A lot of small business owners struggle with the choice between buying their own hardware and software for backups separately, or using a product that combines hardware and software in one bundle. Both approaches can provide the versatility of a hybrid cloud and local solution. But many IT pros like the convenience of an all-in-one disaster recovery solution such as the new Carbonite Backup Appliance. An added bonus of the Carbonite Backup Appliance is that it’s often managed by the Carbonite Partners who sell them, so the small business doesn’t have to worry about it. There really isn’t a best practice for this so it comes down to personal preference: If you like owning your hardware BYOD is the way to go. If you prefer a more hands-off approach, a backup appliance that is managed by an IT partner will give you a great backup solution along with professional IT help.

by Ryan Harnedy – Ryan is the IT Community Manager for Carbonite. He blogs about technology, IT trends, and best practices for SMB IT pros.

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