| Mar 21, 2014
As a rule of thumb, a small- or mid-sized business should test itsdisaster recovery plan at least yearly, or any time the business undergoes a major change. However, most businesses are unprepared for common disasters such as floods, hurricanes and cyber-attacks.
A recent survey suggests that 17 percent of businesses never test their disaster plans and one-third test only once a year, an article on EWeek.com reports. When they do test, 81 percent of respondents report problems, and 11 percent encounter major problems or “complete failure.”
The survey by IT continuity firm Neverfail polled 252 IT professionals. One common weakness it reveals is that many businesses use a hodge-podge of physical servers and virtual, cloud-based servers. Virtual servers present a safer choice when it comes to disaster planning, but 44 percent of businesses have critical business applications split between physical and virtual servers.
“Moving to a fully virtualized environment doesn’t happen overnight,” says Neverfail CEO Martin Mackay. “As a result, many applications live in a kind of limbo, with some components on physical servers and other[s] in the cloud during the migration.” This limbo can create gaps in a disaster recovery plan, vulnerabilities that only become obvious through testing (which seldom happens) or a data loss (which happens all too often).
Even more troubling, nearly a quarter of the businesses surveyed rely on physical servers alone to house their most critical apps. Small business owners may feel more secure by maintaining physical possession of their content in house, instead of allowing a relatively unknown entity to have it. SMBs may not understand how the cloud works, and not realize that their data is more secure in the cloud than it would be sitting in the office.
A good solution for many businesses is using two duplicate backups: an automatic cloud backup likeCarbonite, as well as an on-site hard drive or network-attached storage (NAS) device. This way, if the local device is destroyed in a hurricane, you can use the cloud backup to restore your data and get your system up and running again. On the other hand, if your network goes down for a long time, you could use your local, physical copy to keep working.
While some small business owners may be more comfortable having a physical backup on premises, you should always keep a second full backup in the cloud in case something happens to your physical location.
We appreciate your feedback. Does your business keep a physical backup as well as a cloud copy? Why or why not? Post your thoughts in the comments section!