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Can you recover from disaster? Disaster planning on a budget.

Estimated reading time 3 minute(s)

Many take disaster recovery and planning for granted, we assume the likelihood of something bad happening is so low we throw caution to the wind in this regard. But, what many do not take the time to consider is what should happen if the following occur:

  • Cyberattack
  • Your equipment is stolen
  • Your equipment fails
  • Your equipment is damaged

How long would it take you to recover? (Provided you can recover at all). What are the monetary penalties you would be burdened with during the downtime? Your number 1 method to recover from a disaster is having a backup of your data. In this segment, we are going to take a look at a few tools and methods for disaster planning and recovery on a budget. We shall examine both cloud solutions and the use of physical media as well as their pros and cons.

Cloud solutions:

Pros:

  • Redundancy, these companies have many globally situated data centres that offer a ridiculous amount of redundancy in the event of system failure and natural disaster

Cons:

  • Just by virtue of having a cloud account, online security becomes a vulnerability.
  • Latency – downloading data can be slow depending on your internet connection

Google Drive – their free version gives you 15GB of cloud storage. You can sync your folders on your computer and have access to them anywhere anytime from any internet enabled device. Having your folders synced means having a copy of your files automatically saved to the cloud when you save locally so your backup happens in real time. There is one caveat with Google drive’s storage space, the 15GB you are provided also includes all your Gmail messages and attachments as well as any media you have stored on your Google account. If you plan on using your already existing Google account we recommend checking your existing storage before committing.
Dropbox – Like Google Drive, Dropbox offers a similar service for syncing and online access. Their free version has a storage capacity of 2GB however.
iCloud – For the Apple users you can utilize iCloud in a similar fashion to Google Drive and Dropbox. The free version has a 5GB limit but as with almost everything Apple related, setup is super easy.

Physical Media (external drives, flash drives, etc.):

Pros:

  • Huge storage space at a low cost

Cons:

  • Low redundancy; unless you make multiple copies and save a few offsite, having just one storage medium carries the risk of being corrupted, lost, stolen, etc.
  • Time-consuming – you need to stick to scheduled plans and backup often to increase the efficiency of your backups.

As mentioned above, you can utilize physical media if you require more storage that is budget friendly. It does require some additional work to be efficient but we’ll address these now.

  1. Create a backup schedule (and stick to it) – determine how much data would be lost between backup cycles. For example, if you store a lot of transactions a day, you should have a daily backup schedule.
  2. Implement version control – Create a standard, don’t just dump all your files in a disorganised manner on an external drive. Carefully date and categorise your work as you perform backups.
  3. Create multiple copies – Ensure you have multiple copies in the event that one of your storage devices fail.
  4. Keep a copy offsite – We may not want to think of it but what happens if your office was destroyed by natural disaster or fire? Keep a copy (or two) securely in another location. Insurance can cover your lost items and property damage but not bring your data back.
  5. (For extra security) encrypt your storage devices – What happens if your sensitive data is stolen? Encryption is your ally in this battle. Just don’t forget your password or lose your decryption key!

Now that you’ve learned some quick, reliable and affordable methods to set up your disaster plan go create those backups now! Still unsure of setting up your disaster plan? You can reach out to us [email protected] if you require assistance.