An Overview of Backup and Disaster Recovery Software
Today, small businesses are more vulnerable to data loss that compromises vital assets and threatens infrastructure stability. According to the latest data, 60 percent of small businesses close their doors within six months of a major disaster. Backup and recovery software provides tools and platforms for business owners to create and store copies of data, which remains intact when disasters occur.
Also known as operational recovery, backup and recovery involve storing the data in a secondary location so that the business can restore it to its original location. Recovery services also provide an alternate location as a backup if returning the data to its original site is impossible. The alternative site is accessible from a remote location. The purpose of backup and disaster software is to protect the data and make it accessible regardless of the nature or magnitude of the disaster.
Why Use Backup and Disaster Recovery Software
Small business owners often think of data threats as cyber attacks. While external online attacks are certainly imminent, a company’s digital assets are also vulnerable to natural disasters, infrastructure breakdowns, user errors, application errors, and malicious attacks from within the organization. These disasters usually happen when companies feel most secure and unprepared, revealing the organization’s vulnerabilities.
While no backup and disaster recovery software prevents disasters, it preserves the data so that users can retrieve it regardless of the disaster. For instance, a business owner living in the Caribbean can store data on a remote server in New York, making it readily accessible after a hurricane destroys the business. With the data intact, the business owner can continue running their business remotely until they rebuild their storefront.
Disaster recovery offers more than just file backup. Users can re-install the software on new machines and configure it to the hardware, using the same preferences and settings as before. Once the new hardware is up and running, administrators can retrieve the saved files, including core business data, employee tools, and client profiles. It’s the fastest way to reboot digital assets after a disaster.
Restoring a business after a disaster can cost a small business owner thousands of dollars. One of the largest and most time-consuming expenses is collecting lost data. Backup and disaster recovery can save companies money while ensuring business continuity. It may be the one asset that keeps a company from closing its doors for good.
How Does Backup and Disaster Recovery Software Work?
The function of backup and disaster recovery software is twofold. Backup creates a copy of a file that users can retrieve if a database failure occurs. Disaster recovery restores the data to its original state or location after a disaster. Some products feature either function exclusively, while other products offer both features.
There are two types of backup. Physical backup is a copy of a physical database such as archived redo logs, log files, and control files. Companies store these files in a separate location. Logical backups consist of views, procedures, and tables. While these backups can be helpful, backup and disaster recovery software typically utilizes physical backup, as logical backup is not always reliable.
With this in mind, some core functions small business owners should consider when choosing products include
- Comprehensive plan for capture, storage, and recovery
- Options for target backup location
- Backup and recovery customization options
- Compatibility with existing infrastructure
- Multiple data types support
- Virtual and physical server compatibility
- Autonomous data control
- Storage capacity
- Responsive emergency customer service
- Ability to outsource responsibilities and tasks
- Multiple platforms
- Single point of control
Small Business Backup and Disaster Recovery Software Features
Currently, there is a myriad of backup and recovery software products on the market, making it difficult to match the right service with the company. However, there are essential features that distinguish a top-tier product from its competitors. Any reputable vendor includes these features in their software.
- Cloud storage
- Cloud-based backup as a service (SaaS)
- Local offline storage
- Disaster recovery software
- Monitoring tools
- Planning and design tools
- Disaster recovery services
- Online vaulting
- Tape storage
- Tape backup
- Disc backup
- Bare metal recovery
- Application capture (disk imaging)
- Certified encryption
How to Compare Backup and Disaster Recovery Software
Before moving forward with backup and recovery, small business owners need to establish the criteria for the right backup and disaster recovery software. They need to consider crucial issues like anticipated disasters, consequences of said disasters, protected data types, recovery time, infrastructure capabilities and processes, in-house delegation versus outsourcing, and operational budget. In addition, companies should be mindful of regulatory compliance within their industry.
Ideally, business owners want a product that can handle virtually any disaster, regardless of its scope and severity. However, location and environmental conditions may provide unique threats that companies need to address. Common disasters include natural disasters, power outages, terrorism, warfare, cyber attacks, and random anomalies.
What are the risks associated with the disasters mentioned above? What are the most likely worst-case scenarios? Before deciding on a software product, administrators must account for projected revenue loss, customer and employee loss, restoration costs, legal liabilities, and public exposure for regulation non-compliance. Software programs and services need to contain plans that address projected consequences on the front end.
Businesses need to include a recovery point objective (RPO) when developing data recovery strategies. It is a recovery timeline with a hard deadline for all mission-critical systems to operate with full data intact. Once they establish an ideal recovery time, finding a software product that meets these criteria becomes easier. The system needs to recover all data efficiently to reduce downtime costs per hour.
In-house Staff and Infrastructure Capabilities
Companies need to take an inventory of current hardware, networks, systems, and data and assess their current team to determine what type of backup and disaster recovery system is appropriate for their needs. Do they need just the software, or will they need to outsource a recovery service? The right product will meet the organization’s current needs and scale as the business grows.
Best Backup and Disaster Recovery Software
Below is a list of top-performing backup and disaster recovery software products for small businesses.