Computer Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy
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Computer Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy

Whether a company site or a personal computer, people depend on the data stored on computers. Several problems can occur with computer information that makes data backup devices and data recovery plans essential parts of computer maintenance. Data is backed up using onsite and offsite methods to help prevent data loss from hardware crashes, natural disasters, theft, and viruses. Planning for data failure allows for improved recovery time and actions following a disaster. Less money may also be spent in the long run and bankruptcy averted.

Whether a company site or a personal computer, people depend on the data stored on computers. Computer backup and disaster recovery strategy are important parts of computer maintenance. The data needs to be protected as information may be sensitive and one of a kind. As well, many types of information are not printed and are only available in electronic form.

Active and passive measures to back up computer data are needed to ensure the information is secure. Implementing a disaster recovery strategy helps companies and individuals prepare for disasters so they can recover afterword within a reasonable amount of time.

Issues with Computer Data

Several problems can occur with computer information that makes data backup devices and data recovery plans essential parts of computer maintenance.

Hardware crashes are common causes of data failure. Aging equipment may cause hardware crashes. Electronics often slow down over time and eventually stop working altogether. As well, faulty parts could cause an interruption or loss of data.

Human factors are another contributor to data failure. Data is most touched by the user. Users may delete data by accident. Misconfigurations can also occur. Accidents do happen.

Natural disasters are another issue. Disasters include fires and floods. Flammable materials within a computer room may spread fires, while the heat and smoke of the flames damage computer hardware.

Theft of data is another concern to be addressed by individuals and companies. External drives may be stolen and data within the drives are used against companies by the thieves. Also, outside hackers may tap into the computer system and change information. Defrauders such as current employees may also alter computer data.

Power source issues also lead to lost data. A power outage, for example, can occur at the same time an individual downloads to disk. Valuable information may be lost in the transfer. As well, lightning strikes can damage hardware. Power spikes are rare but do occur too. When line frequencies vary in hertz, data may be lost.

Viruses and malware also affect computer data. The computer programs mirror themselves and scramble data as they spread to other computers. Data and computer performances may be affected long after viruses spread through systems.

Computer Backup

Computer backup supports are needed to prevent data loss from hardware crashes, natural disasters, theft, and viruses. Data is backed up using onsite or offsite methods.

Onsite methods relate to the actual computer and the computer room. Onsite data storage devices include computer hard drives, USB sticks, DVD drives, and CD drives. Network Attached Storage (NAS) Drives are another type of hardware. The external hard drives have specific networking capabilities; popular brands are Netgear and Synology. Tape libraries are also a reliable method to store data for long-term use.

Creating non-combustible conditions for computer areas is a great way to lower risk of fire. Ensure any furniture needed within the room is non-combustible. Separate vent systems are advisable if computer rooms are inside buildings with other operations. Rooms should have slightly higher air pressure than adjacent rooms to keep out smoke and fumes that can damage equipment.

Installation of smoke detectors and smoke dampers alerts users quickly to fires. Portable fire extinguishers should be within easy reach of the computers, and companies are wise to train employees how to use the extinguishers and the general fire procedures. The installation of surge protectors helps prevent power spikes.

Offsite methods of computer data backup refer to transferring data electronically or setting up hardware at an alternative location.

Electronic data transfer is completed by a cloud or an online backup service. Users save data to a secure site online. Many websites offer free storage space to a limited capacity. When more space is needed it must be purchased from the site. Many sites store data in encrypted form, unlike onsite data storage devices. Encryption puts the data into secure form, reducing opportunities for hackers.

While online systems do back up files, they are not an actual hardware system. Individuals and companies may wish to set up a second offsite location for data as a method to secure the information. Records are duplicated at the alternative location. If issues with computer data occur, the second location remains unaffected.

A Raid array, such as a mirror drive, is another method to cope with hardware failure. There are mirror hard drives and mirror USB drives. The drives are byte-by-byte replicas of each other. When users save to one drive, the data is automatically saved to the second drive as well. If the data on one drive is lost, the information is still safe on the second drive. If data loss does occur, a user rebuilds the mirror again by buying a second drive of identical structure.

Data Recovery Strategy

Planning for data failure allows for improved recovery time and actions following a disaster. Less money may also be spent in the long run and bankruptcy averted.

Users need to assess the risks for computer failure and the realistic nature of the risks. Another issue to discuss is how users can best prevent the threats. The strategy implemented differs between computer rooms as each space has different structure and working abilities; there is not a one-plan-fits-all strategy.

Another consideration for the data recovery strategy is prioritization. Which item needs to get fixed first following a disaster? Users may decide, for example, that the website needs to be fixed before the phone system. Also, if certified documents are destroyed, is the company able to recover?

Data recovery strategies are not stagnant. The strategy needs to be tested on a regular basis as well as evolving when any changes occur to the computer system. Maintenance is essential for an effective data recovery strategy.

Roles and responsibilities of staff in the case of disaster need to be put into place. Staff members need to understand and remember how to react should disaster occur. Also, companies may wish to put an alternative business site in place for which staff should go to work following an emergency. Recovery time and objective (RTO) need to be in place as part of an effective data recovery strategy.

Companies may wish to have additional IT staff included in the plan; these people are on contract to work immediately following a disaster. Companies may also hire outside consultants who specialize in data recovery strategies to create a plan.

A variety of onsite and offsite methods are available to back up computer data. Effective computer maintenance also involves regular testing of a disaster recovery strategy. The strategy and backup devices used depend on the particular computer system and room.

References:

www.whatonlinebackup.com/which-is-best-offsite-or-onsite-backup/

www.zonecast.com/continuity/drs.asp

www.verst.com.au/pdf/APF_understanding_fire.pdf

www.articleclick.com/Article/Why-you-may-need-a-mirror-hard-drive/947912

Photo Source: 

Stock.xchng, www.sxc.hu/photo/809036PaweÅ‚ Zawistowski

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Comments (6)

Yay Christy - but how many people will actually do what you have recommended? I do, but a lot of people I interact with have told sorry stories of writing an entire novel only to have it disappear because of a computer failure. I can't understand why anyone would neglect this vital part of running a computer. It takes less than 15 minutes to do an entire backup of my computer - a daily task that includes taking the portable hard drive ant putting it in my car. Let's hope more people take note of your sound advice.

Good and useful advice and reasons why we should all do this.

Noted. These are very essential reminders.

Well presented information and I'm guilty of not doing this.  Promoted.

A most omprehensive post on this topic.

I have had issue with power surges whilst lucky to retain data saved

Thanks for the great comments everyone! Agreed Susan!

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