4 Steps to Successful Data Backup Management

Derek Azuma

Data backup management allows you to completely offload the continuous oversight of backups and enables a data backup provider to do the work for you. By offloading the work, you will have time back in your day while still having visibility into backup jobs via reporting.

By understanding the 4 critical steps to data backup management, you will address two key challenges:

1) Ensuring that your backup jobs are successful: you will often find that an organization has backups that were not successful but did not realize until it was too late.

2) Save time by no longer having to manage the backups: you will no longer have to worry about ensuring backup jobs are successful and remediating failed jobs.

This discussion is going to take you through the 4 steps for efficient data backup management:

1) A defined solution that meets your RTO’s/RPO’s

2) Daily checks/ Restore assistance

3) Monthly reporting

4) Immutable backups

According to IT Pivotal, “In the past two years, Over 50 percent of businesses experienced an unforeseen interruption, and the vast majority (81%) of these interruptions caused the business to be closed one or more days.”

Here is how to make sure that in case this happens to your business, you’re prepared.

Meeting Your RTO’s/RPO’s

To meet your business’ goals, you’ll need to identify the critical servers that control the company’s day to day.

With this knowledge, you will better understand the recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) for the servers.

The recovery point objective is important, because this is the amount of data that the company is willing to lose in the event of a disaster or loss of data such as a ransomware attack. For instance, the most critical of servers may have an RPO of only an hour, meaning that the company is not willing to lose more than an hour’s worth of data. If the lights went out at 3:30 PM, the latest backup should have been at 2:30 PM minimum.

The recovery time objective is the amount of time the business can go without the servers running. From our earlier example, if the disaster occurred at 3:30 PM and the RTO is 24 hours, the servers must be restored and running by 3:30 PM the following day.

The final piece of the data backup management puzzle is the retention of backup data. Some businesses are held to certain compliancy standards and are required to hold on to data going back multiple years. Others only require a few months’ worth of backup data to restore files that were accidentally deleted or moved.

By understanding the critical servers’ RPO, RTO and retention requirements, you’ll be able to deploy a backup solution that matches the business’ goals and needs.

Daily Checks/ Restore assistance

Now that a backup solution that matches the business’ goals and needs has been implemented and is in production, an administrator needs to ensure the backups continue to run successfully and that the backup data is usable.

For managed backup customers, the data backup management provider will take on this responsibility. Every day, an engineer is assigned to verify that all backup jobs have completed successfully for all managed backup clients.

If an issue is found, the engineer informs the client, and the engineering team sees the problem through to resolution.

According to Rocket Software, “Many companies struggle to get their backup success rates to 80%, and some of those that report higher success rates even “cheat” by looking at a single point in time or even adjusting their backup data to factor out anomalies.”

If your backups fail, you need to know they failed and remediate immediately.

Along with daily checks, the data backup management provider will also provide restore assistance in the unfortunate event that some sort of data restoration is required.

The engineers will be trained experts within the backup software and understand the quickest path to restoration depending on the type of data needed.

Typically, IT Administrators, are not required to restore data often, which could cause uncertainty and ultimately result in longer restoration times.

With today’s data changing rapidly and software being upgraded constantly, backup administration requires more and more engineering time. By being a managed backup customer, IT administrators gain more time back in their day to work on other business needs.

Monthly Reporting

Another benefit of being a managed backup customer, is the monthly reporting provided by the data backup management company.

Every month, backup reports are generated and shared with the customer. Customers can review the information in these reports such as which servers are being backed up and when the last successful backup took place. Reports can also include:

– The value/service that you’re receiving

– The capacity and number of VM’s that you are contracted for

– Utilized capacity and instances so that your monthly billing scales with your business

These reports help serve our customer’s needs such as auditing requirements and at the very least, peace of mind knowing their data is safe and available in the event of a disaster.

Immutable backups

The typical way of meeting backup best practices is by following the well-known 3-2-1 backup rule.

This rule dictates that you should have 3 copies of your data, one production and two backup copies, that are stored on 2 different types of media and at 1 offsite location.

With the increasing threat in security though, ransomware attacks can spread across datacenters and corrupt data across multiple sites.

The only way to ensure data is completely secure from loss is by utilizing immutable backups.

Immutable backups cannot be altered, changed, or deleted once they have been placed in their storage location. This provides an absolute clean copy of your data in the event of a ransomware attack that spreads across datacenters and sites.

Closing Out

Data backup management is for the customer that is looking to offload the mundane work that comes with managing your backups daily. By offloading the work, you gain time back in your day without having to compromise on the data insights of successful backup jobs and peace of mind.

Your data backup management company will help you:

– Define your goals

– Perform daily checks and restore assistance that meets those goals

– Receive continuous data insights via monthly reporting

– Leverage copy jobs that can’t be modified or deleted

Let us know how you are leveraging data backup or if you are looking to get started and offload the management of backups.