Even when Lewis and Clark set out to find the Northwest Passage, they had to keep business continuity and disaster recovery top of mind. Like those explorers, business owners and IT teams must put plans in place to mitigate unforeseen dangers and risks, while protecting data.
Today, we think of a comprehensive data protection strategy in terms of a well-balanced, two-pronged approach. We need to take preventative measures to protect our data from corruption, theft or loss. While at the same time, we are realists: If something is likely to happen during the year ahead, we take restorative measures as well so we can recover from the unforeseen calamity.
Preventative measures include such things as data encryption, firewalls, intrusion detection, and end-user education, to name just a few. Most companies I see doing the preventative part of data protection do it pretty well. CIOs invest heavily, yet they still don’t sleep at night because they know the company’s data is just one inadvertent click away from being held for ransom by a cyberattack. The well-rested CIO also has a comprehensive restorative strategy.
Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, you need multiple methods to protect your data. Older, immutable data should be archived. It should be protected separately from the data you need to run your company on daily. Backups can provide protection on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. However, restoring entire systems from backups is also measured in days or weeks. Snapshots also provide “point in time” protection and are especially useful for providing a fallback plan during major system updates. Replication completes the picture by providing continuous protection with minimal loss of data and recovery times measured in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks.