Welcome!

.NET Authors: Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Adine Deford, David Fletcher, Pat Romanski, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: .NET

.NET: Article

Taking Backup and Recovery Management Off IT’s To-Do List

Backup inventory plan maximizes value and efficiency

The inability to recover mission-critical information promptly can spell disaster for a company in today's 24x7 business environment. IDC estimates that server downtime cost organizations roughly $140 billion worldwide in lost worker productivity and revenue in 2007.

Much harder to quantify yet equally important to consider are the opportunity costs associated with failed and delayed recovery of vital applications, databases, and servers. Stringent business requirements and reduced budgets continue to place significant demands on the recovery of data.

Yet, like the property owner who only realizes the importance of homeowner insurance in the wake of a destructive fire, organizations often recognize the value of backup and recovery to the business only after an outage that interrupts operations and results in lost data.

Clearly, this reactive approach must be replaced with a proactive strategy that attaches much greater significance to the role of backup and recovery. By understanding and addressing common backup and recovery issues and implementing the most appropriate solution for their organization, companies can reduce the risk associated with unmet recovery objectives, data loss, and business disruption.

Better Backup

The most important step in maximizing the value of a backup and recovery operation is the development of a backup inventory plan.   This step is meant to catalogue all data in the enterprise and to determine the importance to the organization both in speed of recoverability and importance in ensuring it can be restored effectively.  After all, impressive backup success rates are of little consequence unless the right data is being backed up. As a result, organizations must be sure that they are preserving their most essential data, such as a customer database that is accessed and modified frequently every day.

To make sure they are backing up the right data correctly, IT should develop a tiered list of backup and recovery requirements that is aligned with the company's business needs. Once this service catalog is established, it should be reviewed and revisited regularly.

Once the service catalogue is completed, the respective costs of the organization's backup and recovery operations should also be determined.   Many firms fail to balance costs and risk to meet the most effective options.    For example, businesses may pay too much for backup and recovery simply because they are using snapshot technologies and off-host backup for data sets that are not the product of high-volume, mission-critical applications and, therefore, do not warrant such stringent and expensive technology.

Another critical focus area is the development of sound process and procedures in the management of day-to-day operations.   A documented set of operation procedures focused on incident management, root cause analysis, and change management are essential in order to effectively execute the strategy.    Many companies fail to perform root cause analysis, and thus repeat the same procedural mistakes, making it virtually impossible to optimize a backup and recovery strategy.

Establishing service level agreements to define the expected level of service, and then routinely proactively managing and analyzing backup logs to determine whether jobs are completed successfully are also steps toward more effective backup and recovery. And, when backups fail, thorough incident management should be applied to discover and resolve issues in a timely manner.

Rapid Recovery

Without the ability to recover data, backing up data is useless. As a result, organizations must not only devise and follow a recovery plan, but also make sure it works.

A good disaster recovery plan takes into consideration all the stages of recovery and all the components required. It addresses the need not only for data recovery but also the availability of skills and resources in order to resolve any problem that may occur.

Once a disaster recovery plan is created, it should be documented along with recovery procedures, and tested-not just once, but on a regular basis. By testing and re-testing recovery processes and systems, organizations can uncover and remediate any flaws in their backup and recovery strategy that would leave them vulnerable to the very information loss and downtime that such a plan was designed to avoid.

Backup and Recovery Services

Of course, while managing backup and recovery in-house may be a viable strategy for many enterprises, other organizations may prefer to outsource these operations to a trusted third party. After all, working with a reliable outsourcer alleviates many of the concerns and challenges of undertaking a comprehensive backup and recovery strategy in-house, including areas such as staffing, compliance, service levels and cost.

For example, while the total cost of ownership of an in-house solution may be difficult to measure, an outsourcer charges a fixed monthly fee, providing organizations the assurance of a known, consistent cost. Likewise, while it is often difficult to establish, adhere to, or measure operational service levels internally, an outsourcer that sets strict SLAs guarantees performance. Also, an outsourcer with in-depth experience working out recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives ensures that organizations are better positioned to recover the right data in the right timeframe.

Organizations may also prefer to work with a third-party to leverage the outsourcer's expertise in backup and recovery processes and technologies. An experienced service provider can also help the organization understand and address complex compliance demands as well as aid in responding to audits. In addition, a third party outsource provider can also leverage comprehensive reporting capabilities to bring a more structured approach to protecting critical business data.

By addressing so many critical needs so efficiently, an outsource provider may ultimately enable an organization to focus more on core competencies and deploy critical resources to more strategic business initiatives and projects. The most effective providers are those that offer tailored services, operate according to agreed SLAs, and have a proven record of delivering on their promises and a reputation for ensuring cost-effectiveness.

Whether opting to manage backup and recovery in-house or outsource it to a third party, organizations that make these critical services a business priority will be better positioned to respond effectively in the wake of a disaster or failure. By replacing a reactive attitude toward backup and recovery with a proactive strategy, organizations will significantly mitigate the risk of data loss and business disruption while addressing regulatory and legal demands with efficiency and thrift.

What to Look For in an Outsourced Provider

Once an organization decides to work with a provider to manage backup and recovery operations, they should ask a few simple questions to help secure a beneficial partnership:

  • What service levels and metrics do they offer for their backup and recovery service?
  • Do they have a documented set of procedures focused on areas such as incident management, problem management, and change management?
  • What is the experience level of their engineers related to the product?
  • What type of training programs are provided to engineers?
  • What automation have they deployed in the delivery of the service around monitoring and reporting?

More Stories By Bill Watson

Bill Watson is director of product management for Symantec’s Managed Backup Services. Prior to his current position, Bill held various roles within Symantec’s global services and enterprise technical support organizations, as well as positions with AT&T and World Commerce Online, a business to business e-commerce company.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...