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Backup first

FROM BACKUP TO BUSINESS CONTINUITY

The class assignment is due today. You wake up to discover that the dog ate your homework this morning. Crisis? Fear not! You open the drawer where the second notebook has been stored. Victory!

Data losses will happen. 1 in 100 hard drives will fail this year. Power failures, software and network glitches can render entire systems unusable. The ransomware epidemic rages on. Employees may damage or delete entire folders. Taxes, archives and other regulatory mandates prescribe that organizations keep, protect and secure their data. Simply having a backup in place is essential for any business. It is the only way to mitigate the inevitable data losses.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY: THE ULTIMATE REASON FOR
BACKUP

Backing up is just the first step toward the greater purpose: recovering your business
when disaster strikes.

Backup

consists of one or
more stored copies
of important data
and systems
configurations

Disaster Recovery
(DR)‎

How to resume
mission-critical
functions? restore
essential
applications and
data from backup,
to

Business
Continuity (BC)

How to ensure the
continuity of all the
aspects of the
business?

Analyze business impacts

Your business processes depend on digital OT & IT. But some are more digital than others and some are more critical than others. You could still physically move containers without most of the digital aids, with the forklift, truck, and the vessels. How about freighting, shipping, tracking these containers, billing the customers, validating suppliers’ purchase orders? Consider the business impacts of downtime in each of your systems and processes. Your backup, DR, and BC programs should serve the specific interests of your business.

Set recovery objectives

Which assets, documents, systems are more critical than others? What should be backed-up every day, and what only once a month? What to restore first when recovery is needed? These are business objectives to be supported by IT solutions. Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) are the two main DR measurements, and should be pre-considered and implemented into your respective recovery plans.

RTO: the maximum ‎downtime duration that your organization can handle.

RPO: the oldest file age that your organization must recover from its backup to ‎resume operations after a disaster. A shorter RPO requires more resources. A longer RPO means losing more data but requires fewer resources.

Assign roles and responsibilities

With all due respect to automation, people must decide what to do, when, and how. Who makes the decision to escalate from “business as usual” to emergency operations? Who performs the recovery, when and how? Who tests the results of the DAssign roles and responsibilitiesR process?

Test and exercise Recovery

All backup solutions include a restore functionality. User manuals, interfaces, and demos give the impression that recovering from backup is straightforward. Unfortunately, problems occur with surprising frequency.

The only way to ensure your business is sufficiently protected is to test it. In the most extensive exercise, the entire firm stops to recover everything from backups. Managers then survey business processes across departments and employees to discover what does not work. Joint teams investigate why it does not work and devise the appropriate changes for future backup and DR.

Naturally, more realistic testing is limited. A narrow-scope test restores a particular server and database. A broader exercise restores the applications and data required for a business process.

We have witnessed too many cases of companies blindly relying on their backup only to find out in time of urgent need that backup was not planned nor executed in a manner which allowed recovery per management expectations. Even if these exercises are frustrating, each one provides immense value. Any frank assessment is a success: it helped uncover deficiencies in the previous process.

The good news are that there is a built-in automatic update function in all modern operating systems and applications. You can even set a convenient time for auto-updates to avoid disruptions.

Backup first

Per a survey held recently, most maritime and logistics businesses already possess a second copy of their data. If your company does not have one– we urge you stop what you are doing, abd set up asap. If you already have a backup, we strongly urge you to review it to make sure that it fits your business’s needs and expectations, and to have it properly tested.

When things go south, you want to be up and running as efficiently as possible. Cyberstar is at your side on the business resilience journey.

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