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High availability – following the backup rule

Article (PSA-0005)
Submitted by: Billy Joe Long, Member/Manager
Company: Problem Solving Applications, LLC
Titled: High availability – following the backup rule
Original release date: September 23, 2017
Updated date: August 16, 2019

[High Availability is a characteristic of a system, which aims to ensure an agreed level of operational performance, usually uptime, for a higher than normal period. Modernization has resulted in an increased reliance on these systems. For example, hospitals and data centers require high availability of their systems to perform routine daily activities. Availability refers to the ability of the user community to obtain a service or good, access the system, whether to submit new work, update or alter existing work, or collect the results of previous work. If a user cannot access the system, it is – from the users point of view – unavailable. Generally, the term downtime is used to refer to periods when a system is unavailable.] – Wikipedia.org

Reliable backups are one of the foundations of “high availability”. Catastrophe can hit any business, no-matter how small or big you are, and catastrophe can come in many forms such as: hardware failure or “ransomware”. The more data lost, the greater the impact on your business. Part of getting your business back up and running after a disaster, is being able to restore operations to where they were before the problem occurred. Businesses who have learned the value of backups employ the 3-2-1-0 rule.

3: Maintain at least three copies of your data and applications. That’s the one copy you’re using and two backups. This way, if one of your backups is unavailable for any reason, you can still recover what you need in a reasonable amount of time.

2: Store your backups on at least two different types of media. One reason for this is each type of media has its own vulnerabilities, and you don’t want both of our backups susceptible to the same problem. By utilizing different media, you can reduce your exposure to the same incident preventing access to both of your backups.

1: Keep one of the backups in a different location. Consider a catastrophe at your business, such as a break-in, fire or natural disaster. If all of your backups are at the same location, they will all be affected. This can result in total data loss for your business.

0: Verify your recovery plan has zero errors. It is not uncommon for businesses to implement a backup plan but fail to verify it is performing as expected. Regular testing is critical to ensuring you can recover your business data and applications in the event of disaster.

It doesn’t matter if you are a business or home computer user, if you have anything on your computer that matters to you, it is your responsibility to make sure you have a backup plan in place. In my 20+ years of experience in the IT industry I have seen brand new hard drives fail within 90 days of purchase. I have seen years of family pictures vanish by accidental deletion and I have seen “un-tested” backups fail to restore important business files – files which everybody “thought” were being backed up.

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