The growing digital complexity of today’s enterprise businesses creates newer, more elaborate challenges to backup and data recovery. While having a cohesive backup and data recovery plan is more important than ever, successfully self-managing that plan requires ever-greater resources.
The truth is that, due to this constantly increasing complexity, most businesses are better off turning to a trusted vendor for purpose-built data protection tools and services. Additionally, many organizations find the added security of (a service that many, but not all, of the vendors below offer) to be the optimal solution.
Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about enterprise backup and data recovery so you can make an informed decision about which vendors or solutions are suitable for the needs of your business.
What Is Enterprise Backup and Data Recovery? A Definition
Enterprise backup and data recovery is an area of IT service that builds and manages systems for backing up, archiving, and retrieving data at any scale within an enterprise organization, from server farms to single workstations. Backup services can include on-premises, offsite, and cloud backups. Data recovery services must include a workable disaster recovery plan with DTO and DPO metrics for every class of system or asset.
Enterprise backup and data recovery solutions solve a significant problem in business IT: what happens if your digital infrastructure is suddenly lost or rendered inaccessible?
For most modern businesses, permanently losing all or even the right part of their digital infrastructure is an existential threat. The company might not survive.
Enterprise backup and data recovery solutions ensure that this kind of existential threat does not occur by providing persistent duplicates of a business’s data. In the event of a data loss or hardware failure, companies don’t lose information because it was backed up, typically on multiple redundant servers and in multiple physical locations.
Why Should Companies Consider Enterprise Backup and Data Recovery?
Companies need enterprise backup and data recovery because they cannot operate without their digital infrastructure. Businesses can replace damaged or destroyed machines. But the data that was on those machines often disappears forever if it doesn’t exist in duplicate somewhere else.
If your business cannot quickly bounce back from losing data (and that’s true of nearly every organization), then it needs some form of backup and data recovery in place.
Some businesses question the expense of data recovery solutions or the seriousness of the risk. The conversation surrounding backup and data recovery often focuses on natural disasters, unrest, or physical destruction of property. Perhaps your business is somewhat safe from those threats. Even still, there are other threats to consider. More and more, companies face digital attacks like malware or ransomware that threaten to destroy, publish, or simply lock companies out of their data.
And consider the cost of downtime. For some businesses, a few minutes or even hours of downtime would be an embarrassment or inconvenience and nothing more. But for others — banks, hospitals, or airlines, for example — even short periods of interruption can have far-reaching and even deadly effects.
Enterprise backup and data recovery services remain a go-to solution for physical disasters and equipment failures. But it has become an essential response to cyber threats, as well, making the service a part of an organization’s cybersecurity plan — not just its infrastructure or disaster recovery plan.
How Does Enterprise Backup and Data Recovery Work?
In the simplest terms, the enterprise backup and data recovery process is pretty straightforward. A business’s servers and any endpoints designated for backup will upload any new or modified files to a backup server at regular intervals. Then, if a hardware failure or other scenario occurs where a business loses its data, it can retrieve a recent copy of that data from the backup server.
When an entire server, archive, or trove of data disappears or becomes corrupted, data recovery services can restore that information through the equivalent mechanism.
Of course, at an enterprise scale, the actual execution can be much more complex, as it’s not just one server or a handful of workstations in scope. And cloud storage, along with cloud backup, also change the picture somewhat.
Primary Metrics for Backup and Data Recovery
The primary metrics for backups are straightforward enough. A company must determine the following:
- Which systems need to be backed up?
- How frequently should these systems be backed up?
- Are the backups functional and readable? (Can we restore from them if we need to?)
On the data recovery side, there are two primary metrics.
Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
The first metric is recovery time objective, or RTO. This metric measures how much downtime is an acceptable loss for a business. For some companies and some systems, the RTO is hours or days. These systems are not mission-critical, and while a prolonged outage isn’t ideal, it won’t create an existential threat.
Other businesses or systems have an RTO measured in mere seconds (or even smaller increments). Core financial systems, airlines, and others encounter significant disruption the longer a system remains offline.
For more on RTO, IBM has a great explainer.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
Recovery point objective, or RPO, is the other primary metric. It measures how much data a business can lose (projected over time) before significant problems begin. For some systems, companies measure RPO in hours or days. So, for example, they might conclude that 4 hours or 24 hours of lost data is an acceptable risk.
Again, other systems require stricter RPO metrics. Financial systems most certainly cannot afford to lose a day’s worth of transaction data. Critical systems may measure RPO in minutes or even seconds.
Data Importance Vs. Cost
The lower the RPO and RTO values, the more expensive backup and data recovery operations become. Near-zero RPO/RTO requires constant redundant backup and virtualization, and these services cost quite a lot.
Making decisions on what appropriate RPO and RTO values are for various systems within a business is not simple. However, a quality vendor in the space can assist in setting good yet achievable metrics.
For help selecting the best vendor for your scenario, don’t hesitate to reach out to Transformation.tech.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Enterprise Backup and Data Recovery
As enterprise backup and data recovery is a mission-critical function, the benefits far outweigh the downsides. Still, it may be helpful to see the benefits and drawbacks listed here.
With a well-built enterprise backup and data recovery plan, your business reaps many benefits, including these:
- Faster uptime after outage or loss
- Better business continuity during crises
- Access to accidentally deleted files, folders, and drives
- Ability to recover from significant loss, lockout, or disaster
- Improved customer relationships and business reputation
Enterprise backup and data recovery are not optional services. So please do not use the drawbacks listed below to overlook or postpone this essential task. Instead, consider them as warnings about possible hurdles to setting up an effective backup and data recovery plan.
- Creating a cohesive backup and data recovery plan (including disaster recovery) at an enterprise scale is daunting.
- Costs for these systems can be significant.
- It takes effort and hands-on testing to ensure these systems continue to operate properly
- It’s easy to let those efforts lapse.
Of course, other than cost, businesses can mitigate all these areas of concern by partnering with the right vendor for backup and data recovery services.
Features, Functions, and Capabilities of Enterprise Backup and Data Recovery
Available features and functions in an enterprise backup and data recovery solution will typically include the following, though specifics vary from provider to provider.
- Automated data recovery
- Platform integration
- Replication/failover (continuous functionality if one server/room/facility goes down)
- Backup (functioning as intended, readable, etc.)
- Regular testing of backups and data recovery plan
- Ability to provide managed service (Firms that cannot execute their disaster recovery plan independently should select a vendor that can handle this process.)
Top Enterprise Backup and Data Recovery Vendor List
Below are some of the best vendors offering enterprise backup and data recovery services. Many of them also happen to be well-known cloud services companies, as both areas require investment in massive server capacity and computing power.