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What is backup and disaster recovery? Why is it important?
Eric Yu
August 15, 2023

What is backup and disaster recovery? Why is it important?

Data backup ensures you have a copy of your important data in case of unforeseen incidents. Consider the following eye-opening statistics: downtime can cost enterprises typically $5,600 per minute, according to Gartner, and shockingly, the Cybercrime Magazine reports that approximately 60% of small businesses had to shut down within six months after being hacked. These numbers clearly highlight the significance of having a robust data backup strategy as part of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. By being prepared and implementing a reliable data backup plan, you can reduce the risks associated with data loss and ensure the continuity of your business operations even during challenging circumstances.

What are the challenges of data backup?

  • Data Silos: Newer and more technologies are introduced to address challenges that organizations are facing. Multi-technology causes data and workloads to fragment across on-premises, multi-cloud, hybrid, and distributed environments. Backing up these data while maintaining data governance and regulatory compliance is challenging.
  • Corrupted or missing backups: Damaged backups are another challenge.Data backup is not just about having a backup copy; it’s about ensuring that your data can be effectively restored in the unfortunate event of loss or damage. Imagine a scenario where you need to recover your data, only to find out that it’s unavailable or corrupted. Having a reliable backup solution ensures that your data can be successfully restored when needed, safeguarding your business from data loss and potential disasters.
  • Backups being targeted by malware: Sophisticated malware is now targeting your backup data. Having multi-layer defense and multiple backups can give you a safety net.
  • Slow in backup and recovery: Be aware that some solutions might take ages to finish the backup or recovery process. The main reasons might include slow internet or network connection, slow performance of the backed-up server, or wrongly chosen backup type.
  • Hidden costs to be aware of:
    • License/Subscription fee: When selecting backup solutions, you may encounter various pricing options, such as per CPU socket, VM host (system), by storage, or by workload. It is essential to consider the total cost and not just the initial price tag when comparing vendor pricing.
    • Maintenance cost: Aside from licensing fee, don’t forget to add maintenance renewal cost for software updates, patches and technical support.
    • Management cost: Some companies may simply purchase backup software such that they can leverage their existing hardware. Sine the integration of software and hardware involves two different vendors, businesses need to going back and forth to figure out the root cause when a problem arises, which often leads to wasted time and effort.
    • Storage cost: Be sure to deploy backup solutions equipped with data reduction technologies such as incremental backup and deduplication, thus saving the spending on hard drives and server hardware. However, deduplication ratios vary depending on the technology utilized, the backup methods used, and how the deduplication ratio is calculated.

How can Synology help with your enterprise backup needs?

Active Backup Suite is a free add-on for Synology NAS and offers organizations a centralized, license-free and reliable backups for physical, virtual and cloud environments. It comes with advanced features like

  • Incremental backup and data deduplication to deliver efficient backups
  • Btrfs file self-healing and virtual machine backups’ verification to ensure data integrity
  • Performing regular restoration exercises using the built-in virtual machines to meet the audit requirement
  • Flexible recovery and cross-hypervisor instant restore to ensure server availability

Learn more about how organizations like Shiseido Taiwan, The University of Washington and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESO) have been using Synology Active Backup Suite.

Learn more about Active Backup Suite.

Types of backup method

There are three primary data backup methods – fill backup, incremental backup, and differential backup.

  • Full backup: A full backup involves creating a complete copy of all data on a system or device. This type of backup is typically performed in the initial backup or as a baseline for other types of backup.
  • Incremental backup: An incremental backup backs up the changes made to the data since the last backup, regardless of whether it was a full or incremental backup. That makes incremental the least time- and storage space-consuming method of backup. Restoring data requires rebuilding it from the last full backup plus all subsequent incremental backups, which may take longer time.
  • Differential backup: A differential backup backs up the changes made to the data since the last full backup, so restores need the last full backup and just the latest differential. This mean that the backup process takes longer and consume more storage space than an incremental backup, but restoring data is faster, as only two backups need to be restored – the last full backup and the last differential backup.

Factors such as the amount of data, time and storage constraints, and disaster recovery requirements should be considering when selecting a backup strategy.

The keys to success in your enterprise backup strategy

A well-structured backup strategy is essential for ensuring data recovery when it is needed. When creating an enterprise backup strategy, there are several important factors to consider:

  • Take RTO and RPO into consideration
    • RTO (recovery time objective) refers to the length of downtime an organization can tolerate.
    • RPO (recovery point objective) means the amount of data loss that an organization can tolerate.
    • In backup and disaster recovery planning, RTO and RPO are important considerations and seems to be the shorter the better. But there is also a balancing act needed to determine which systems and types of data are worth larger investments to achieve short RTOs and RPOs. Not all data is equally critical to business operations.
  • Storage space efficient
    • Look for a storage space efficient solution, such as those with built-in global deduplication technology, which greatly reduces duplicate data blocks across all backed up platforms, resulting in significant storage savings.
  • Ensure your backups are secure
    • Choose a backup solution that has robust security features, such as data encryption both in transit and at rest, strict access control, and authentication mechanisms. It is because backups themselves are now vulnerable to cyberattacks.
  • Support and maintenance
    • Select a backup solution that offers easy maintenance, such as the ability to manage backup sources from multiple environments through a centralized dashboard. Ensure that the solution provides comprehensive support, including regular updates and patches, technical assistance, and access to training resources.
  • Automate your backup process
    • Most backup software can be configured to automate the backup process by scheduling backups at specific times or intervals. Some backup solutions automatically backs up data as changes are made.
  • Test your backups and recovery
    • Regularly test your backups to ensure they are working properly and can be restored within your designated period of time in case of a disaster.
  • Deploy 3-2-1 backup strategy
    • The 3-2-1 backup strategy means having three copies of your data, stored on two different types of media, with one copy located off-site. The purpose is to ensure the availability of backup data even if one copy is compromised by ransomware or lost due to natural disasters or other unforeseen events, ensuring uninterrupted business operations for the enterprise.

Take the next steps

Backup Solution Guide

Find out how Synology can help streamline your data backup and recovery process.

Active Backup Suite

Learn more about how Active Backup Suite consolidates backup tasks and maximizes backup and storage efficiency.

Watch this video to find out more about our Active Backup Suite.