Logo Rob Buckley – Freelance Journalist and Editor

Emergency service

Emergency service

Back-up is often over-looked, but a sound back-up and recovery strategy can be a life-saver in the event of a disaster.

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More than two-fifths of businesses that suffer a significant data loss never re-open and another one-third close within two years. Data backup - and recovery - is not simply a tedious chore, but could be a business life-saver in the event of an emergency.

Furthermore, legislation and industry regulations are also demanding that many organisations make and keep back-ups of their data.

But at the same time, making back-ups has never been more challenging, with the increasing volumes of data information managers are having to contend with. Some companies may even need transaction-by-transaction back-up, instant off-site back-up for disaster recovery as well as on-site replication for continuity in case of a server failure.


The first step for any organisation in devising a back-up strategy is to find out what data it has, where it is kept and to identify the particular data that it absolutely cannot afford to lose. Steve Mackey, a European director at storage company ADIC, says that organisations need to determine their back-up strategies starting with their main business objectives and then work downwards.

"Businesses need to decide how long they can go without a particular piece of data or how much downtime they can afford to cope with after a disaster. IT then has to implement solutions for those goals," he says.

Who will be involved depends on the organisation's size, says Correy Voo, head of business technology solutions at telecoms giant BT. "In a large enterprise, there may be several groups that will have an input: IT, group risk, group compliance and, more recently, dedicated information security teams. For smaller companies, it'll be the guy who runs IT and the finance director," says Voo.

Organisations will also need to examine compliance requirements to see if there are any rules that apply to backed-up data. The Data Protection Act, for instance, does not distinguish between live and backed-up data. If the organisation does not have in-house legal expertise, it can check with industry bodies, forums or consultants what rules apply to it.


It should then decide how often its data needs to be backed up. Doing this not only helps ensure the organisation recovers from any data losses with few adverse effects, it can reduce the costs of back-up, the time it takes, its effects on operational systems and the amount of storage required.

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