Could your business data survive a fire, flood, tornado or terrorist attack? What if your server was dragged out into the middle of a field and shot with fully automatic weapons and then blown up? Think it couldn’t happen? Okay, having some good boys from Texas unloading on your server probable isn’t going to happen to your business. I have to admit though, I am a tad jealous, NY tends to frown on automatic weapon use. (Just for the record, I am not endorsing the company in the video, I just liked the commercial.)
It is imperative that you have an emergency recovery plan for your system and your data in cases of emergency. Over the years I have seen fires, floods and even cars destroy systems. The impossible can happen. One company had several systems damaged by flood waters on the second floor of a factory. No, it wasn’t a monsoon; a hill wrapped around the back of the factory. A flash flood one day sent water from the top of the hill through a second story window.
Several times I have seen where people have been in a hurry to get out the door. Their hands are full, so they put their laptop on top of the car so they can unlock the door. They then get into the car and take off. Realizing quickly that the laptop is not in the car, they stop and back up. The laptop in the meantime had slid off the back of the car when they took off and landed squarely in the path of the back wheels.
Companies exist that can get data off of drives and backup media that have gone through some pretty rough times. But they are not cheap. It is always a good idea to have a backup of data (and whole systems if possible) offsite. Many people will make a backup and then store it near the machine they just backed up. If the office is lost, you can replace the machines, but you may not be able to replace the data.
High availability locations have offsite backup (and sometimes mirrored servers) so if the building is lost, they can get back up quickly in another location. Some smaller companies will rotate backup tapes to an offsite location. The questions to consider when looking at offsite solutions is how much redundancy do you need, how much data will need to be re-entered, and how long will it take me to get back up and running? Offsite security is also an issue. Personally, I would not have another company store my backups. I would want complete control over my backups and security issues come to mind. But if you have followed my blog for awhile you also know that I am not a fan of cloud computing.
Offsite backup companies do exist that will store your data for you. If they meet your needs, then go for it. The important thing is to have a functional data recovery process, plans and procedures.
Disaster recovery is imperative and whatever method you end up choosing, it would be a wise idea to test it every so often so that when you need it, you won’t face any additional surprises.