The difference between data backup and recovery are often unrealized by businesses and IT.

The difference between data backup and recovery

Stephen Perkins

Many companies hold the mistaken belief that their data backup methods will be sufficient if a disaster or outage were to take place. However, the two are not the same for various reasons.

Businesses that use generic software for their backup solutions – opposed to the more reliable cloud-based options - run the risk of having that software fail. Additionally, human error could also lead to failure. Forbes contributor J.P. Blaho noted the case of a civil district court in New Orleans, where a server containing the conveyance and mortgage database crashed. What was supposed to be a routine data recovery mission turned out to be a much more serious issue. The county never conducted a complete restoration test prior to the crash, and the installation of updated backup software had been at the root of the problem. For over a year, incoming new data was believed to be properly stored, but unbeknownst to the county, a software failure caused all records dating back to the 1980s to be erased.

When companies backup their data, they should keep in mind that they're doing so in order to go back one day to retrieve it. Backing up any crucial information from different servers and applications by stripping it across tape creates a "million-piece jigsaw puzzle" that is nearly impossible to reconstruct. While tape-based backups are becoming more archaic, solutions such as server backups via the cloud keep data organized and protected in off-site data centers.

Taking the right steps
Having data backed up at off-site locations is only the first step toward a comprehensive backup and recovery solution. As Blaho noted, the recovery environment must reflect a company's production environment.

"Chapter II is having the right recovery systems connected to your data, which means you need to have the right servers and storage and hypervisors and operating systems in your recovery environment," Blaho wrote.

With all of this in place, businesses need to ensure they have the right personnel readily available to recover lost information, which is often not the case. Third-party vendors, however, are always there when needed. The difference between backup and recovery is an important distinction, but both are required for business continuity and secure data storage.

"You must have the right recovery mindset, which means a) backing up data according to your recovery strategy; b) connecting the right recovery systems to the properly backed up data; and c) creating a programmatic approach to recovery by arming yourself with the right people, right processes, and right tools and making sure they're all available at the right time," Blaho concluded.

Categories: Cloud Backup, Data Protection, Disaster Recovery, Online Backup, Server Backup