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ByDaniel Gottilla

Disaster Recovery Best Practices

Implementing disaster recovery best practices in your business may seem like a time-consuming project, but it’s an essential step to protect your resources and reputation in the event of a system failure. There’s more on the line than just losing data. The time it takes to get things up and running again lowers your productivity. Not only that, but the downtime can lead to lost sales and a loss of confidence as clients and customers try to access you during the downtime.

The first step in developing a plan is to decide what hardware and software are critical for the operation of your business. Are there programs that your business can do without for a few hours or days? Which ones will bring the company to a standstill? Identifying and prioritizing these items will ensure that you and your staff are concentrating on the most critical elements of your network in the event of a disaster. It’s also important to make sure that representatives of many departments are on hand to help decide the priority list. Each department may have a different idea of what is important, and it’s only by hearing each perspective that you can put together a comprehensive plan.

A plan is the right place to start, but your disaster recovery best practices will need to be reevaluated and updated on a regular basis. It’s important to have one person or one group of people in charge of doing this. If it is part of an employee’s job duties, you can ensure that they are making sure the company’s needs are being met.

Another key step in disaster recovery is regularly backing up your systems and data. Limiting the amount of time between your last backup and a disaster means there is less data lost and you can recover more quickly.

Test your plan by having a mock disaster. If you know in advance that you are going to have a mock crisis and have your data and systems properly backed up, you can test both your employees and the plan without risking losing data or much time. This test may seem like a nuisance, but knowing in advance if there are weaknesses in your plan could save you quite a bit of money and resources should the real disaster occur.

Developing and implementing a disaster recovery best practices plan is one key way of protecting your business and customers in the event of a catastrophe. Taking the time to be thorough about the plan and to test it will ensure that your preparations aren’t just good on paper, but that they’re also good in practice. The sooner you can get up and running again, the more time and resources you save and the sooner you can get back to business.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Disaster Recovery Planning

In today’s work environment, disaster planning is about more than insuring a physical office or having emergency plans for workers. Disaster recovery planning a way to retrieve data and information from computers is also an important component of salvaging your business from a crisis.

What would happen to your business if a disaster like a fire, an earthquake, or a flood were to hit your business? What would happen to your company’s computer data? Would you be able to recover in the event that all your computers including servers were destroyed?

These are serious questions that all business owners and IT planning personnel should ask themselves on a regular basis. Although no one likes to think about disasters, they do happen, and when they do, businesses should always be prepared. After all, in a business world that is dependent on technology, ensuring that your data is safe and that your business can continue despite a disaster is often the only way to keep a business operating after the unlikely occurs. This is especially true as your technology grows and changes, since you’ll want to prepare each new piece of technology for a potential crisis.

Disaster Recovery Plan Basics

Disaster recovery planning (DRP) is also known as business continuity plan (BCP). It is considered a mainstay of enterprise computing, particularly for large or spread-out organizations. However, smaller organizations can also benefit from the fundamentals of having a disaster recovery plan, since any information loss can set you back weeks or even months.

Disaster recovery plans vary from organization to organization. In most cases, disaster recovery plans include some type of backup plan for data as well as a plan for an alternate site for work to continue in the event that the main office is compromised due to a disaster. For larger companies, a disaster recovery plan may also include a phone tree to ensure organized communication of what is happening with the company in the event of an emergency.

Data Backups and Disaster Recovery

Backups are an essential part of any disaster recovery planning. Whether data is lost due to a catastrophic hardware failure or due to a disaster, all essential data should be duplicated and kept in a secure location.

The time to think about a disaster is before it happens. By planning ahead to find a site to run your business from in the event of a disaster, running regular backups of your important computer data, and having a plan for recovery, your business will be well prepared to continue despite the odds.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Data Recovery Software – disaster recovery testing for IT environments

It does not matter how good your disaster recovery plan is, or even how good and advanced your data backup systems are (data recovery software and hardware alike). This instance may seem a little extreme, but disaster recovery is so important that the key metric is simple: either your procedures work as intended, or they don’t. Finding out how well your data recovery software works to restore your data, is something you need to do before you need them. As it is with many other complex procedures, disaster recovery testing is divided into phases, in this case into three main validation, testing and deployment.

Validation
This part of the process depends only on finding the answers to two questions:

– Do the requirements you have for your data recovery software / hardware system represent your business requirements correctly?

– Can you prove that your data recovery software / hardware system actually meets your company’s requirements?

As its name implies, validation is mostly about proving that your disaster recovery design is correct and complete. You might have a great disaster recovery plan, newest and fastest data recovery software and still, it may not meet some of your business requirements.

Testing.
During this phase actual testing takes place. There are two main methods of testing unit and integration testing. The first one concentrates on testing a single backup station (data recovery software, backup drives) at a time, while the second one tests the workings of the whole system. This may seem like an unnecessary distinction, but it’s very important first test will tell you things such as whether a particular server’s tape drive works properly, and integration testing will show whether you can successfully take a tape that this drive wrote, move it to another machine, and use data recovery software there to rebuild your information on a different machine.

Deployment.
Here you finally execute your plan. This phase shows if there is any need for modifications, what to improve; It allows evaluating the current disaster recovery, as well as summarizing all tests results. This is, however usually not the end of testing. Post-deployment testing is a great way to find settings or procedures that may have slipped through the cracks.

This description may make testing sound much more complicated than you’d expect. Testing your company disaster recovery plan can certainly be a time-consuming process; even so, validation, testing, and deployment are absolutely necessary to make sure that the data recovery software will not fail at that critical moment.

ByDaniel Gottilla

The importants of data security

The last few years were a very good time for data security in the IT market. It is also much easier to find a job in the IT market. However, when you are trained in using task automation and corrective processing methods, your chance to find a job grows even more along with your potential salary. Those skills are in high demand now!

What exactly is task automation and corrective processing? Nowadays those two skills are used in almost every aspect of computer science. If you find a job as a data security network administrator, or as a programmer, you will use those two methods almost every day.

First let’s take a closer look at task automation. Let’s say that someone finds a job as a system administrator. He could easily spend every minute of every day at work performing periodic maintenance tasks unless he finds a method of automation. Automation entails creating scripts that the system can execute at a particular time each day, week, or month. Automation also includes the simplification of interactive tasks by creating scripts or programs. Tasks that are repeated often and are complicated or tedious are good candidates for both simplification and automation.

As you see, task automation is in fact a very simple process. Corrective processing is a little more complicated. However, this method also can, and sometimes must, be used almost everywhere, even outside the IT industry. Almost everywhere where data processing is used, there is a place for corrective processing. It may be something’s as simple as purifying html code, to a little more complicated calculations involving Hubble’s telescope.

In the IT business, data security and corrective processing is mostly used to check for errors in new software, but that’s not all. It is also used for optimization, like clearing or simplifying the program code to make it run faster or be better read by search engine robots. There are also many new IT companies where you can find a job that is concentrated solely on corrective processing. Such companies are usually sub-hired by other, bigger ones to check on their product. Even one of the biggest producers of antivirus software is outsourcing corrective processing of its products, so the demand for corrective processing specialists is high indeed.

But the real art is connecting task automation and corrective processing into one, single process. People who have obtained both skills can find a job almost everywhere, and for quite a good salary. So, if you are currently trying to find a job, it would be a good idea to learn at least one, if not both skills. Your chances to find a well-paid job will grow!

ByDaniel Gottilla

Data Recovery Service – engineering a disaster recovery from scratch

Murphy’s Law states “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. And things usually go wrong at the absolute worst moment possible. If you have experienced a loss of data due to some hardware or software failure, virus infection, vandalism, human mistakes, etc. – remember to remain calm. In many cases, data loss problems are not nearly as devastating as they might appear. Data recovery service companies efforts can minimize further damage, and maximize the chances for a complete recovery of lost information. You may ask why do I need a data recovery service? The answer is a complicated.

With a right Disaster Recovery plan you don’t usually need the outside help of a data recovery service companies. If your data backups are automated and your personnel are well trained, everything should be ok. Even in a worse case scenario, after the most devastating disaster, you know that according to your plan everything will be up and running in no time. But all your computers won’t be protected sometimes the costs of securing data on a machine outweigh the benefit of the recover, sometimes it is not possible, and sometimes, by mistake, there is no valid data copy available. And then it happens. Very important information has been lost due to hardware failure, and no copy of that information exists; even worse, that piece of information cannot be re-entered manually. Data recovery service companies specialized in recovering data from all kinds of media. It can be hard drive burnt by a power surge, laptop that had fallen from helicopter or, more commonly, damage dealt by water. There is a slight chance that your data won’t be recovered, but in most cases after some time, a courier from a data recovery Service Company hands you a package that contains your recovered files.

But why trust outsiders? Wouldn’t it be easier (and safer) to just employ some specialists and be prepared for everything? There is no need for such extreme precaution. Many companies will never need any help in restoring their files; they even won’t use their own disaster recovery plan, so they won’t need data recovery service either.

Data recovery service companie are the very last line of protection against data loss. Their services aren’t cheap. Of course, most of them guarantees return in case of failure, but in fact, when you need data recovery service, that means that you need the information, and you are willing to pay for the recovery.

ByDaniel Gottilla

The Importance of Software Actualizations

There is no such thing as perfect software, and employing PC crash recovery procedures is necessary from time to time, no matter what your company does. Generally, you can expect your PC to crash at least once a year if you use only top-notch software! The programs are now so complicated that even the best coders can’t control it all and even the best the software coding may cause a system crash from time to time. Fortunately, people that are responsible for publication of that faulty software are also doing their best to repair it. On the downside, even if you perform system and software actualizations on your company machines, you can’t expect computer crashes to vanish.

Time is merciless

Let’s face a simple fact computer equipment (both hardware and software) gets old faster then anything else on this planet. The same machine won’t work properly with newer software, and old software will probably result in performing more crash recovery procedures on newer machines. While in the first case the only solution is to get rid of the old equipment and buy new one, software actualizations are the best solution to the second one. Of course, you may buy newer software instead. Unfortunately it is a) expensive, and b) this method usually requires training. Software actualizations are often the only real way to increase the system stability, but there’s much more in them than just making crash recoveries less frequent.

System holes

Another problem is holes in operating system’s security. There are people who use them to gain access to your protected data, hijack your PC and use it as a zombie to perform a DDoS attack on another websites or cause a system crash. Of course, the software engineers are constantly trying to find the holes and create patches to close them. However, you have to let your system download and install the patches. Without frequent system actualizations, a crash recovery procedures will soon become the least of your problems as your machines will soon become wide open to hackers from all around the world.

On the downside

It is important to acknowledge changes that the current patch brings, as actualization sometimes may cause harm, especially for older machines. Nevertheless, it is necessary to perform system actualizations even if you risk more frequent crashes. You just need some crash recovery-trained personnel or buy newer hardware. Whatever you do, remember that software and system actualization is a must-do without it, your machines will never be safe against hacker attacks.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Learning the basics of disk recovery: tips for beginners

There is no such thing as perfect software, and employing PC crash recovery procedures is necessary from time to time, no matter what your company does. Generally, you can expect your PC to crash at least once a year if you use only top-notch software! The programs are now so complicated that even the best coders can’t control it all and even the best the software coding may cause a system crash from time to time. Fortunately, people that are responsible for publication of that faulty software are also doing their best to repair it. On the downside, even if you perform system and software actualizations on your company machines, you can’t expect computer crashes to vanish.

Time is merciless

Let’s face a simple fact computer equipment (both hardware and software) gets old faster then anything else on this planet. The same machine won’t work properly with newer software, and old software will probably result in performing more crash recovery procedures on newer machines. While in the first case the only solution is to get rid of the old equipment and buy new one, software actualizations are the best solution to the second one. Of course, you may buy newer software instead. Unfortunately it is a) expensive, and b) this method usually requires training. Software actualizations are often the only real way to increase the system stability, but there~s much more in them than just making crash recoveries less frequent.

System holes

Another problem is holes in operating system’s security. There are people who use them to gain access to your protected data, hijack your PC and use it as a zombie to perform a DDoS attack on another websites or cause a system crash. Of course, the software engineers are constantly trying to find the holes and create patches to close them. However, you have to let your system download and install the patches. Without frequent system actualizations, a crash recovery procedures will soon become the least of your problems as your machines will soon become wide open to hackers from all around the world.

On the downside

It is important to acknowledge changes that the current patch brings, as actualization sometimes may cause harm, especially for older machines. Nevertheless, it is necessary to perform system actualizations even if you risk more frequent crashes. You just need some crash recovery-trained personnel or buy newer hardware. Whatever you do, remember that software and system actualization is a must-do without it, your machines will never be safe against hacker attacks.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Using hosting to reduce disaster and HDD recovery downtime

Outsourcing HDD recovery and data security services in general to hosting companies is a new, but strong trend in the IT industry. According to a study by IDC, companies that outsource data security services to the hosting companies feel more secure than those managing data security themselves. The IDC report states also that outsourcing helps companies reduce the downtime caused by data loss and subsequent HDD recoveries. On average, specialized hosting companies can provide faster, better and cheaper services than in-house data security & hardware maintenance departments.

How does data security & hardware maintenance outsourcing look in practice? Most of the time companies retain control over the data itself, but outsource the management of their system to the hosting company. The specialized hosting companies are then in charge of security, data loss prevention and recovery (including HDD recovery). This minimizes the chance of data loss and reduces the maintenance downtime the human error margin is seriously reduced.

The strong points of hosting the company’s IT systems are: 1) improvement of the computer system performance (reduced downtime, higher percentage of successful data recoveries), 2) lower data security-related expenses (hosting companies can use the scale effect to reduce their fees) and 3) concentrating on the company’s main goal much easier. From the economic point of view, outsourcing data and HDD recovery is a good idea that will sooner or later become a necessity.

Many companies are still worried about their data security. Letting their own hardware specialist’s do a HDD recovery of a chief manager’s PC is one thing. Outsourcing it to an external company is another. What is missing in this reasoning is the fact that most security breaches are due to either hacking or the industrial espionage performed by the company’s employers~ not by hosting companies. Statistically speaking, your data is safer if it’s moved away from your company than if they stay in. Even if you add the possibility of a security breach, outsourcing still has an upper hand.

There are already thousands of companies that have decided to host their IT systems somewhere else. They are safer, they run cheaper and their managers can concentrate on their work instead of HDD recovery attempts to restore key files they need for tomorrow~s meeting.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Why Your Current Capacity Planning May Not be Adequate

As your business grows and changes, you may find that your capacity planning isn’t adequate. Planning for future storage space and bandwidth use can be tricky, but there are some steps you can take to help ensure that you are neither under-planning nor wasting resources by over-planning.

If your business is growing, it’s likely that you will need more space to store data as well as more bandwidth to run your operation. Calculating how many users there will be and how much data you will need to store should be done on a regular basis. The needs you calculated for last year may not reflect your current usage. You don’t want to pay for too much bandwidth, but not having enough storage for your data or too little bandwidth will make for slower, less productive operations.

Not only should your capacity planning be reviewed regularly, you should reassess the adequacy of your plan when your business makes a significant change. Increasing staff by a large number, adding new software, or offering a new line of products on your website are all excellent times to reassess your needs.

One common mistake businesses make is taking random measurements of network usage and using those to build a plan. How do you know if this is peak usage or not? In order to ensure that your capacity planning will be accurate, you need to measure system usage over every hour over every day of the week. That way, you can get a good picture of how your traffic and usage change by day as well as by time, allowing you to plan better for your needs.

Perhaps the biggest mistake some businesses make is not hiring an experienced consultant to make sure their capacity planning is adequate. Hiring a consultant is smart because this person specializes in planning and can give you a solid assessment and critical assistance without you having to put a specialist on the payroll full-time. They can work through your plans and give you guidance and expertise to make sure your business can keep on growing without hitting traffic and storage snags.

If you’re not putting time and thought into it, your capacity planning may not be adequate for the future needs of your business. By properly reviewing your plan, reassessing, gathering complete data, and getting some outside advice, you can ensure that your business can keep growing without worrying about whether your future needs will be met.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Data Recovery – Finding a right data backup method

One of most important matters during disaster recovery planning is finding the right backup method. This may vary from using data recovery freeware software making copies of single files to very complex, real-time machines that offer continuous data protection.

There are four major parts of disaster recovery planning learning about company requirements, finding means to meet them, developing processes that make those means work, and, finally, assessing the budget.

As it was said before, there are many different backup methods. We can, however, find three main categories of data backup solutions. That will be pure software (starting with data recovery freeware), integrated hardware and stand-alone solutions.

Software methods are the simplest and cheapest. You may find a lot of different data recovery freeware programs; some of them are even integrated with operating systems. However, this method has one major flaw it depends solemnly on the existing operating system and existing machine. If the hard drive is physically damaged, probability of losing all data will be very high no software solution can help for broken HDD seals.

Another method is using integrated hardware devices. They might come in form of a simple compact disc recorder, a zip drive, or more complicated tape drives. That method is more complicated and a bit more expensive. However, it allows the storing of backup information on new machines, in a place that is a hundred miles from previous company building. Of course, it is also a bit risky an error in labeling a single tape might be disastrous, and there is also a noticeable risk of thievery. Also, in case of fire, or other disaster that could destroy the whole computer units this backup method simply won’t work.

The main feature of stand-alone solutions is their independence; the target machine with information that needs to be backed-up is usually linked to a backup station via Internet or local network. Mass storage hard drives that run on backup computers are able to offer continuous data protection. Because there is almost no limit in distance, company information is safe from even the most disastrous events. The cost of that solution is very high, however, even if we limit the expenses by using data recovery freeware; the only cost we pay is a cost of a storage place, but it is usually the biggest part of the budget.

Different companies need different backup solution that much is clear. Some may rely only on data recovery freeware, but most others should use either integrated hardware devices or stand-alone solutions depending on their exact needs and budget.