The amount of business done with the aid of technology is continually increasing.
Some companies sell products online, others offer services that require them to have personal servers, and some simply store information on inventory, finances, and customer records on their local systems.
What these companies all have in common is that they all depend on storing data on local drives or servers to function properly. Some of this data is a hassle to replace if it gets lost, but some can be impossible to replace or extremely sensitive. A natural disaster can’t be prevented, and that can cause a huge amount of data loss. There are a few other factors that can predispose a business to data loss, too.
For this reason alone (and there are many others), it’s important to have proper disaster recovery in place.
Did you know there are seven different levels of disaster recovery?
While the tiers are arranged in order of effectiveness, the higher levels may be overkill and quite expensive for smaller businesses. Below, we discuss the best levels depending on your business.
If you live in the United Kingdom, an IT provider in London can easily help your business prepare to recover data in the event of a disaster.
What Are the Tiers of Disaster Recovery?
Solutions for disaster recovery can be set up into tiers.
The lowest tiers are the most basic and don’t offer the best protection. They are, however, less intensive to set up, both in terms of money and skillset. The highest tier offers the most secure protection, making it almost impossible to permanently lose data, but it may be considered excessive in most circumstances.
Starting from tier 0, here are the seven levels of disaster recovery:
At tier 0, no data is stored at a separate location. Everything is kept on storage media at the actual location of the business. The fact that there’s no off-site data means that if the physical hardware is damaged or lost due to a disaster, the data on it isn’t possible to recover from any other source.
This tier involves data being backed up on physical media, such as drives or discs, and being taken to an external site. This external location is referred to as a “cold site”, and isn’t connected to the company’s network. These locations serve primarily as a storage site for backup storage media brought from the actual company location.
Tier 2 is similar to tier 1, except instead of taking the data to a cold site where the data must manually be restored, it’s taken to a “hot site” which (as a whole) can serve as a backup. It can take over from the primary location in case of any disaster occurring. The data is moved to that site manually through physical storage media, just like in tier 1.
This level is known as electronic vaulting. A hot site has data transmitted to it electronically, which eliminates the need for continuous travel back and forth between the primary center and the hot site. It also means that data can be backed up much faster.
Tier 4 is known as “point-in-time recovery”. It gets its name from the process. At specific intervals, absolute copies of files or drives are created. This may be as frequent as every day. These copies get stored at an active secondary site. Both sites have the same bank of data and continue to back one another up.
In this case, damage to either location will not cause catastrophic loss of data.
Two-site commit/transaction integrity is the name given to the fifth tier. The basic mechanism behind it is that instead of data being transmitted at a point in time like tier 4, it’s continuously transmitted back and forth between two sites.
At this tier, in the case of any data loss or disaster, recovery is essentially instant.
The idea behind this is that files are backed up the moment they are created. This results in mirroring of the disk, with the backup having the same files being modified in real-time as they’re changed on the primary system.
This is the highest tier of data recovery, known as recovery automation.
With this tier in place, isolated systems can detect the disaster event before it occurs or at the moment it happens. When any anomaly is detected, data is restored immediately at a hot site which initializes and takes over from the primary. This process is completely automated so there’s essentially no downtime in the case of a disaster.
Which Level Is Best for My Company?
While tier 7 is objectively the best solution to ensure your data’s safety, it isn’t the best choice for most businesses. It’s excessive for many businesses and costs significant money to set up and maintain.
Tier 0 isn’t recommended for any business. If a serious disaster strikes, there’s essentially no hope for recovery.
For small and medium-sized businesses that don’t store critical information digitally, a tier 1 solution may be all that’s needed. Data doesn’t need to be updated each day in these cases.
For SMEs that store critical data, such as customer details and transaction history, then tier 3 or 4 can be implemented. Tier 4 can be relatively cost-effective, as third-party cloud storage solutions can be used instead of physical storage. However, it may result in large data costs depending on the volume of the data being backed up.
For businesses where data is central to their functioning, tier 5 or 6 disaster recovery are the most effective solutions. However, the continuous data transmission requires infrastructure that can handle such bandwidth and results in large network costs.
Tier 7 is best reserved for companies where data loss can cause serious risks to health, property, or life, such as in hospitals or for military contractors.
Selecting the Best Disaster Recovery Tier for Your Business
It can be difficult to decide which disaster recovery solution to use. It’s for this very reason that employing an IT provider becomes pertinent.
With their expertise, it’s easy to determine which level of disaster recovery is best for you and your business, and implementing it will be straightforward. Don’t let a disaster force your business into downtime. Keep your customers – and your profits – safe with the most appropriate of these backup methods.