Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 19

Establishing Objectives
Step 2: Define Your Key Recovery Objectives:
Components of a data-recovery
plan include two key parameters that define
how long a business can afford to be offline
and how much data loss it can tolerate.
These are Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).
› RTO is your organization's goal for the
maximum time it should take to restore
normal operations following an outage or a
data loss. The RTO goal must be considered
carefully and used to evaluate backup
and restoration methods.
› RPO is your goal for the maximum
amount of data that the organization can
tolerate losing. This is measured in time
from when a failure occurs to your last
valid data backup. For example, if there is
a failure now and the last full data backup
was 24 hours ago, the RPO is 24 hours. In
many cases, small companies can survive
" today's data " loss as long as they restore
to the previous end of the day. The data restore
is often done by manually reentering
lost transactions from the partial day.
› Let's turn to immutability strategies.
Immutability means that nothing
changes the backup dataset once it is
made. The problem with ransomware is
that it changes all files on locally attached
devices. You often don't know when it
happens, and, if a backup is only locally
attached, it is vulnerable to ransomware.
Therefore, immutability is critical. You
don't have immutability if you just have
backup datasets attached to the computer
network. If copies are stored offsite in
the cloud or elsewhere, then you have
an immutable strategy. But it's important
to bear in mind the impact on RTO if you
have to retrieve them.
› How will you source any computer
systems that might be missing or
damaged? Sometimes, it is difficult to
obtain replacement computers, especially
with supply-chain issues. The problem of
sourcing replacements can be mitigated
by having duplicate computers on hand
or available to rent, or by using virtual machines
on a different, more powerful computer.
Additionally, many backup systems
can run a restored complete computer
image from a virtual machine set up in the
cloud or a local appliance computer.
commercialintegrator.com
Methodological Choices
Step 3: Choose a Backup Methodology:
Keeping in mind everything we
just covered, the next step is to select
a backup methodology that will fit your
needs. Several experts recommend a 3-21
strategy, as well. This involves keeping
(at least) three copies of the dataset on
two different types of media and one
offsite. What follows are some potential
methodologies:
› Backups of just essential data. This
means making a copy of your critical data
on a device or in the cloud. It could be a
USB drive, a network drive or the cloud;
however, at least one must be disconnected
from the network. (If it is locally stored,
put it in a fire safe.) Your RTO and RPO must
allow reinstallation of computer OS and
software.
› Restore the software
› Restore the data
› Operate the critical programs to see if
they work.
In most cases, I prefer to pick a " bare
metal restore " (BMR) scenario. It means
that the device I am restoring to has no
software loaded on it, or the drive can be
formatted and reloaded. If you do a BMR,
the backup software is responsible for the
first three steps (including all the activation,
configuration and metadata). Then,
operate the critical programs (e.g., Quickbooks,
Microsoft Office, quoting tools) to
see if they work and have the correct data
as of the date backed up.
Step 5: Review the Preceding Steps
For Improvements: Once everything has
been tested and performed, you will have
an actual value for the RTO and RPO, as
You should think about when - not if - you should
run through scenarios and plan for what to do in
the event of the disaster. And it's important to do
this before disaster occurs.
› Total and differential backups. A
total backup is a complete copy of the data,
including metadata such as the system registry,
on a computer system. You can restore
total backup to a new computer of the same
type with no software loaded. Restoring a
differential backup dataset means restoring
the total backup and all differential backups
in order. This reduces RPO as you can take
differential backups many times per day,
but it comes at the expense of RTO.
› Local backups (not recommended): If
ransomware can get the data, consider it to
be local. So, OneDrive files are local from an
immutability point of view. Commercial systems
can redundantly store the backup sets
in the cloud on two separate data centers.
Some of them scan for ransomware and
viruses before committing the data, so you
know everything that's in the cloud is OK.
Test in Advance
Step 4: Test the Restore Methodology:
First, pick a scenario for testing. Selecting
a more problematic scenario will assure
recovery from easier scenarios.
› Restore the environment
well as a cost. You can and should tweak
parts of the plan to improve value-to-cost
ratio. This is an iterative process because
technology changes and improves.
Don't Lose Profits...or Customers
Business owners should back up their data
on a set schedule. This ensures they don't
lose profits - and customers - if a disaster
occurs. They should carefully consider what
backup data is needed and make 3-2-1
copies with one being immutable. They
should also test these backups periodically
to ensure that they work. Finally, they should
regularly review the plan; after all, prices,
technology, threats and companies change.
You owe a duty of care to your employees,
vendors, ownership and customers to
protect your data as well as you can afford
to. Data loss is a catastrophic event if it
can't be remedied, and it potentially can
be very costly even if it can be.
Peter Heinicke is CEO of
Precision Computer Methods
Inc., a member of The ASCII
Group since 2017.
SEPTEMBER 2022 Commercial Integrator
19
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Commercial Integrator September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator September 2022

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Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 1
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