Welcome!

.NET Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Greg O'Connor, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash Inc., will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone a...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
BSQUARE is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success. For more information, visit www.bsquare.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it’s a mix of architectural style...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
Connected devices are changing the way we go about our everyday life, from wearables to driverless cars, to smart grids and entire industries revolutionizing business opportunities through smart objects, capable of two-way communication. But what happens when objects are given an IP-address, and we rely on that connection, sometimes with our lives? How do we secure those vast data infrastructures and safe-keep the privacy of sensitive information? This session will outline how each and every connected device can uphold a core root of trust via a unique cryptographic signature – a “bir...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...