By Jeff Cato, VP of Marketing at CoreVault Online Backup
June 2, 2011

CoreVault Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Disaster Recovery Planning and Online Data Backup

A disaster recovery plan is essential in today’s business environment since disasters can occur in so many ways and do so more frequently with every year. A historical year that really heightened the awareness of disaster recovery planning was 2005 when Hurricane Katrina destroyed thousands of businesses in the Gulf Coast Region with most not having a disaster recovery plan in place. Even in 2011, there has been unprecedented tornado damage taking place all over the country with Alabama, Missouri and Oklahoma receiving the worst of it to date. Does your business have a disaster recovery plan in place? If not, do not delay after reading this article. Learn from others’ mistakes and put one in place ASAP.

Your plan must detail how your business will handle a disaster. One of the most critical elements of your plan is detailing how your business will restore its data to be up and running in a short amount of time. It is often referred to as your recovery time objective (RTO).

If your business does not have an online backup and recovery system in place, then you need to stop reading and implement one. For those of you that do have one in place, you need to start with a risk analysis. You need to consider risk factors like: virus attacks, malware infestations, human error such as accidental deletion of data or natural disasters like fire and floods. While these are obvious to most, your backup service provider going out of business is one that tends to get over looked too often. You need to verify its viability the best you can. Unfortunately we have learned over the past three years that even the biggest companies can fail almost overnight.

Once the risk factors have been identified and listed, you must rank and prioritize them. Each one should be given a ranking that is determined on the basis of probability and impact. Within the categories, each disaster should also be given a risk rate of low, medium or high.

Show me the money. Budgets can have a bearing on disaster recovery plans since every plan comes with an associated cost. If you are planning to get your data off-site to guard against the possibility of natural diaster, you need to ensure that your information is stored in secure facilities that are in different geographical locations. For example, FEMA prefers your data be stored more than 100 miles away from your business. Make sure your online backup service provider backs up your data to two geographically separated data centers. They need to have their own disaster recovery plan in place. Ask them if they have performed any type of fail over testing to ensure they are adequately prepared.

If you have a large amount of data stored online, you need to identify the most important and mission critical information that would need restored first to get your business back up and running. This will imply that you need to spend time analyzing and categorizing your data. Upon doing so, you will know what data needs restored in the quickest manner based upon your business continuity needs and which data is not mission critical.

We live and work in such a way that our businesses cannot afford much, if any, downtime at all. You need to be absolutely certain how much time your business can afford to lose recovering from a disaster. A critical element is to make sure your vendor provides multiple ways for you to recover your data. You should be able to restore data via local storage, the internet, mobile vault or a virtual machine. You should never put your business in a situation with a data backup company that only provides the ability to restore via the internet. If you have a decent amount of data, your restore time will not be sufficient to meet an acceptable RTO. If you determine you cannot afford to lose even a minute, you need to make the necessary investments in backups and high availability hosting so you are still running the moment a disaster impacts your business. Also, you need to know if your vendor has personnel available on call 24/7 and what their response time is too.

In short, the disaster recovery plan that you develop, the kind of team, responsibilities and procedures you put in place, and the kind of online backup service you utilize will be tested at some point and time in your company’s history. Remember, it isn’t a matter of if a disaster will take place, but rather when.

CoreVault is a Cloud solutions company that provides backup, recovery and hosting services to businesses in more than 37 states. Your data is securely and automatically stored off-site in our privately owned, SAS 70 Type II certified facilities. It is accessible 24/7 with monitoring and support provided by certified experts. Built on VMware’s industry leading technology, Cloud Hosting services are available on an individual or enterprise-level basis. CoreVault is recommended to more than 500,000 businesses, legal and healthcare professionals across the country by more than 25 associations. You run your business while we provide elite protection of your data and reputation. For additional information, go to

About the Author: Jeff Cato is V.P. of Marketing at CoreVault, an online data backup and cloud based data storage company located in Oklahoma.

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