A business continuance evaluation should review various contingency plans and provide recommendations that will help develop processes consistent with industry-standard disaster recovery methodologies. Put a recovery plan in place that addresses all critical business functions-a detailed blueprint that defines the resources, processes, and data required for managing recovery in the event of a business interruption.
Beyond the Reach of Disaster
Once you know which systems need to be protected, then you need to decide how to protect it. Typically disaster recovery plans include daily offsite backups that are picked up from your site and transported to a secure facility on a daily basis. This is known as physical offsite vaulting and is a sluggish process that can increase the gap of lost data when it is needed most-during a disaster. This method remains popular because it is inexpensive. Electronic vaulting may prove more expensive but it provides a lower recovery point and recovery time, which improves businesses recovery during a disaster.
Electronic vaulting addresses the increasingly complex disaster recovery requirements of an organization's core systems. By electronically transmitting and creating backup tapes at a secure facility, these organizations move business-critical data offsite faster and more frequently than traditional tape data backup processes permit, enabling them to:
- Extend data protection
- Enable process improvements
- Improve data currency, integrity, security
- Reduce data recovery time
- Minimize data loss
We have seen the real life examples of companies who struggle to recover from missed opportunities, lost revenue and customer disappointment. An electronic vaulting system can insulate valuable corporate information assets in an offline, offsite and out of reach environment, while also allowing for the period of time to achieve recovered data to be significantly smaller. In addition, the optimum electronic vaulting service should:
- Enable tape handling process improvements
- Reduce onsite labor costs
- Shorten recovery window
- Lower cost of downtime
- Improve data security and integrity
- Improve tape recall time
- Improve disaster recovery testing process
- Scale with storage growth
The Electronic Vaulting Method: Step By Step
Electronic vaulting is the process of electronically transmitting and creating backup tapes directly at an offsite facility, eliminating the need to transport backup tapes via truck. For many organizations, this hybrid solution offers the most value by combining physical offsite vaulting with the electronic journaling of transactions or changes that occur between regular backups.
The time between the last safe backup and the point of failure is called the recovery point. With daily offsite backups in the traditional method, the worst-case recovery point could be between 24 and 48 hours. In today's competitive economy, such a distended recovery point can destroy a business.
Electronic vaulting reduces an organization's recovery point, streamlines the backup and recovery process, and reduces the duration of an outage as well as the onsite workload. In addition, a company can significantly reduce bandwidth costs by vaulting to a local secure facility, rather than to its distant hot site.
For example, consider a financial services company that has a 36-hour recovery point exposure with traditional physical tape transfer to offsite storage. If they implement electronic journaling of their log tapes, they could reduce the recovery point exposure to one hour. While the service cost is $30,000 per month, the 35-hour exposure loss costs $14 million. The electronic justification is an inexpensive insurance premium. (View graph below)
With disaster avoidance measures like disk mirroring or data replication that provide real-time capture, an organization gets high availability of data. However, some disasters, like those caused by hackers or viruses, can destroy the mirrored or replicated copy. True disaster recovery protection means that backups are offsite and out of reach, not just offline. For optimum data protection, an organization can combine disk mirroring, electronic vaulting, and electronic journaling.
Decreasing Recovery Time
In contrast, recovery time includes the time elapsed from the when the disaster occurred to resumption of normal business activities. Typically recovery time is 72 hours. While electronic vaulting addresses an organization's recovery point objective, it can easily combine this service with other methods to improve recovery time as well.
For example, to decrease recovery time, an organization could:
- Store data at or near your hot site for fast physical transfer
- Store operating systems on hot site spinning disks
- Send backup tapes to its hot site daily
- Link electronically from the tape vaulting facility bunker to the hot site to expedite data transfer
Managed electronic vaulting will strengthen your disaster recovery plan easily and economically. Outsourcing data protection can streamline operations, reduce labor costs, and increase performance of data backup and restore processes, minimizing the negative impact on business.
Jerry Murtaugh is the Senior Director of Marketing Programs for CNT. He is responsible for CNTs day-to-day North American direct and channel sales activities. He has nearly 30 years of sales management and customer application development experience in a variety of technology markets.