We've all had that gut-wrenching feeling. You’re searching in CRM for a lead that you need to follow up with, and the information is nowhere to be found. Further investigation shows that hundreds of entries are missing – a solid 10% of your CRM. You search frantically for the backup on the cloud, but it's not there. The last cloud backup was a week ago. How could this happen? Aren't cloud-based products supposed to guarantee that our work is always available when we need it? This is the moment you realize that your cloud backup configurations don't match the needs of your business. This scenario has played out time and again (on-premises and in the cloud) with missing data and files, large scale outages, or a compromise core to your IT infrastructure.
Cringe-worthy moments like these motivate organizations to consider – and customize - their backup configurations and disaster recovery plans. Cloud-based IT infrastructures tend to improve reliability, accessibility, resource efficiency, and security, but being on the cloud does not protect from all types of unintentional data loss. Unfortunately, the out-of-the-box backup functionality of cloud-based tools are limited or not fully configured to fit the needs of every type of business.
Developing a Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Plan
It's important to create and implement a comprehensive and robust disaster recovery and backup plan to protect cloud-based IT infrastructures. Understand your needs, fine-tune your configurations, consider your budget, and, if necessary, extend your backup options using third-party tools.
Understand Your Needs
Define the requirements of your disaster recovery and backup plan, keeping in mind the priorities of your business.
• Establish the recovery time objective (RTO) or the duration of time where normal business operations must be back in place after a disruption or disaster to cause the least impact to the business.
• Define the recovery point objective (RPO). This is the amount of data that may be lost and need to be re-entered during the time of a disruption or the defined RTO.
• Decide how long you would like to retain files and data in archived storage.
• Conceptualize a schedule for automated backups and syncs. Keep in mind that different applications may need different backup requirements. Within applications, certain subsets of data may also need their own configuration.
• Identify system dependencies. What specific use-cases will need to be supported?
• Determine which files will be archived and which files need to be regularly accessed.
• Consider user access privileges for cloud storage folders, the various cloud-based applications, and possibly even segmented data within the applications.
Fine-Tune Your Configurations
You may have a varied collection of applications, including your CRM, various SaaS, collaboration tools, email, document management systems, etc., running through a cloud-based IT infrastructure, all with different out-of-the-box backup settings. Each application should be evaluated and customized to fit your specific business needs. With the proper configuration of each application, it should be no problem to recover the files and data in line with your RTO and RPO.
When considering budget, it's important to keep in mind that the more rigorous the requirements of your disaster recovery and backup plan, the greater the cost. Find the right balance between insuring daily function and being mindful of storage costs.
Extend Your Backup Options
Does the built-in backup settings of your cloud-based applications fit your needs or will you need third-party tools to fill in the gaps? There are many tools available to assist in custom backup configuration. Evaluate the tools to see which best fits your needs in terms of storage, costs, compliance, security, search functionality, configuration and restoration.
Once you have your disaster recovery and backup plan in place, you are ready to implement the plan. Testing and verification are essential parts of the implementation process and should be ongoing. Schedule regular testing to identify any issues, verify that you are achieving the objectives of the plan, and make necessary adjustments. Now that your disaster recovery and backup plan has been implemented, you should have more time to focus on your business and less time worrying about potential disasters.
Don't get stuck in a situation where you have to spend days of valuable time recreating work. With a well thought out business continuity plan implemented, your data will be where you expect it – in the secure in the cloud and available to help you manage your business.
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