Backup and Disaster Recovery – Know the Difference

Do you know the difference between backup and disaster recovery?

backup and disaster recoveryData Backup and Disaster Recovery are not the same thing. Lately, we have been having this very discussion at multiple client sites. So much so, that I decided to explain here. The biggest misconception we have been hearing is that a company has been performing routine backups of their data and has therefore been following a disaster recovery plan. This is not true at all. Data backup is essentially the copying of your data to another medium. The purpose of this process is to provide recovery of missing data in a timely fashion. This is not disaster recovery. A disaster recovery plan is a documented process that has been put in place to resolve catastrophic events that could endanger an organization. In essence, data backup is considered a part of the disaster recovery plan/process, but nowhere near the entire concept.

Let’s take a closer look at data backup.

When we perform data backup, we are copying our existing data and putting the copy on a highly accessible medium. It has to be highly accessible in case we need to recover some of that data in a timely fashion. We archive that data over time so we can recover much older data. How far back we archive the data is usually governed by a compliance policy. An important step in protecting our data is to have the copies taken off-site. This way, if anything happens locally, data we can rebuild from is still on a medium in another location. Here is where we start getting into disaster recovery. Backing up the data is very important. Making sure we can use the backup to recover is another thing. Most organizations have backups that they perform consistently. However, how many of those organizations have actually tried to recover using a backup? Great, we have a backup of a server’s operating system, applications, and data. Has anyone tried to rebuild from that backup? If not, how do we know the backup is viable? There are a number of recorded incidents where qualified organizations needed to recover from a situation only to find out the backup they have been doing for years has had issues that have made it impossible to recover data previously thought to be safe. The success of our backups requires planning and testing. This is where our backups become part of the broader disaster recovery plan.

Now, let’s take a look at Disaster recovery.

Disaster recovery is the process required for an organization to come back from a catastrophic event. A disaster recovery plan is the documented instructions, processes, and proven methods on how to achieve that goal. Disaster recovery incorporates facilities, resources, and personnel needed to recover from a severe situation an organization could face. In planning for the big picture, the departments in an organization plan for how they are going to recover. What if a facility in an organization is leveled? What does the organization need to do to continue operations? That is disaster recovery planning.

Let’s bring it back down to the IT level.

What if the facility that got leveled housed the organizations main computing infrastructure? Yes, we have backups of our data. We even have that data offsite. But now, we do not have the original site to recover the data to. This is why we need a disaster recovery plan for the IT department. Besides from backing up data, we need to replicate it. We need a location to replicate to. If we lose our main systems permanently, do we have other systems available to recover to? If not, how can we acquire those systems in a timely manner? Where are these systems going to be located? Who are the primary people we are going to need to perform the tasks to recover these systems? If they are not available, who can be substituted? Do we have documentation on how to recover these systems? Have we tested in the past that the recovery documentation actually works? This is disaster recovery and disaster recovery planning.

We have performed a backup. We have protected the data by taking backup media to a different secure location. Or, we used replication to get a copy of the data to another secure site. The copy we have can be used to recover portions of the data when needed. That is the purpose of performing a backup. A plan in place that documents the proven steps needed to restore that copy of the data, the personnel needed to enact the plan, the facility and its level of preparation for an emergency, and the requirements to gather the resources needed. That is disaster recovery.

I hope that helps. As always, please feel free to post any questions or comments below or reach me directly by email.

 

AZS-3

 

 

 

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)

| Sr. Network Consultant craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

©2015 Custom Systems Corporation

10 Reasons Why Small Businesses Choose Office 365 over Google Apps


This article excerpt originally appeared here: http://managedsolution.com/off…/

As any business owner knows, staying competitive means doing more with less. It’s about being nimble, looking professional online, and getting more done in less time. But, with the many choices that are available these days, it’s difficult to find the right tools to accomplish your goals. Office 365 delivers a full-featured, business-centric online productivity experience. It is designed from the ground up to meet business requirements for security, privacy, reliability, and manageability. Now, of course, Google also offers online productivity services with Google Apps for Work, so why should small and midsize businesses choose Office 365 over Google Apps?

Below are ten 10 reasons:

    1. ENSURE THE PRIVACY OF YOUR BUSINESS INFORMATION. Your private business information should be just that—private. Your customers and partners trust you with their sensitive information as well, and Office 365 provides enhanced security by design with our state-of-the-art data centers, premium anti-spam and antivirus protection, and encrypted anywhere access to data. Google Apps for Work adheres to Google’s single privacy policy, which is shared across business and consumer applications.
    1. WORK VIRTUALLY ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. In today’s always-on business world, being able to get work done anywhere can be a significant competitive advantage—especially for small and midsize businesses looking to deliver superior customer service and to differentiate themselves from larger competitors. Office 365 delivers a familiar, yet powerful user experience across PC, phone, and browser, intelligently tailored for each platform. Google has limited offline capabilities for its services. They are only limited to Chrome browser. And the experience is inconsistent across services.
    1. BOOST PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY WITH A COMPLETE SOLUTION. Microsoft has been improving Office productivity applications for decades, and Office 365 is a natural extension of that process. With Office 365, you get everything you love about Microsoft Office, and then some. Instant messaging, Yammer Enterprise, real-time presence, video conferencing, and more are built right in and accessible from desktop applications or in the web browser. Customers using Google Apps for Work must rely on third-party solutions for core features such as Mail Merge, Bibliography etc.
    1. GET UP AND RUNNING FAST WITH A FAMILIAR, STRAIGHTFORWARD INTERFACE. Office 365 mobile, online, and desktop applications share a consistent yet tailored experience to give users instant familiarity across devices and locations. You get the familiar Microsoft Outlook® and Office productivity applications you already use—now powered by and working seamlessly with cloud services. Share a file in Word, Microsoft Excel®, or Microsoft PowerPoint® and almost anyone will be able to use it without thinking twice. Customers using Google Apps for Work must rely on third-party tools such as OffiSync and Memeo for functionality that is similar to what is offered in Office 365.
    1. MAKE LIFE EASY FOR CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS. Office 365 makes it easy for users to create rich documents that convince customers, preserve ideas, and drive innovation. All that richness is preserved whether documents are edited using Office tools on a desktop computer, a tablet, through a browser, or on a mobile device. Google Docs is limited in functionality compared to Office, despite recent efforts to improve.
    1. REDUCE IT COMPLEXITY. Even if you have dedicated IT staff, it’s still likely that you want to minimize the amount of time and money you spend managing systems. Office 365 is designed to be easy for most users to administer and manage, and provides the power of trusted business solutions to meet even the most advanced IT needs. Google Apps does not provide the same level of IT management functionality as Office 365.
    1. MEET YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS WITH A FLEXIBLE SOLUTION. Microsoft believes in giving customers the flexibility to choose what works for their business. That’s why Office 365 offers a choice of easy-to-buy plans to help you get the best solution whether you are a company of one or one thousand. Google’s approach is simple, but it may not satisfy all of your business needs.
    1. RELY ON A FINANCIALLY-BACKED 99.9 PERCENT SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT. Office 365 has been built from the ground up for reliability, availability, and performance. Our proven service is powered by the same Microsoft email and collaboration products that businesses have been using for decades. Because of this commitment to reliability and availability, Microsoft is one of the very few cloud services providers that offer a financially-backed service level agreement (SLA) when any Office 365 service drops below 99.9 percent availability.
    1. PLAN EFFECTIVELY WITH A CLEAR ROADMAP AND ALL-INCLUSIVE PRICING. Microsoft updates Office 365 on a regular schedule and provides customers with 12 months’ notice of significant changes to Office 365. Microsoft also contractually commits to maintaining core Office 365 features for the term of the customer’s subscription. With a new customer roadmap to help businesses set their technical strategy, Microsoft helps you understand the company’s vision and innovations. Flexible, predictable, pay-as-you-go pricing options include everything that is listed, so you can rest-assured that Microsoft will support all of the features you purchased, helping you plan budgets more effectively and avoid unexpected expenditures. Google’s approach to innovation is to release beta features with little or no advance warning.
  1. GET THE SUPPORT YOU NEED WHEN YOU NEED IT. Small and midsize businesses don’t have the time to be disrupted. Microsoft provides easy-to-access support options that meet a variety of needs. For small-business customers, Microsoft provides moderated community forums to find quick solutions to problems faced by businesses just like yours. For businesses with advanced technology needs, Office 365 Enterprise plans supplement community support with 24/7 phone support for even single-user outages. And, of course, Office 365 is designed to be easy to manage, even for non-technical people.