How safe is offsite really? Continuity and disaster recovery considerations for IT managers - Plan4continuity Blog

How safe is offsite really? Continuity and disaster recovery considerations for IT managers


I often cringe when I hear people say that they don't need offsite backups because they back up on a flash drive or external hard drive. I am not saying that backing up onto storage media is a recipe for disaster, but that having just a thumb drive or hard drive as your only backup is asking for disaster to happen. Storage media, external hard drives and flash drives are notorious for failing when you need them most.


Being portable devices with no failover they are prone to static, shock and environmental damage. They also store and transmit malware with great efficiency. This makes the chance of a disaster recovery event happening increasingly likely. Find some key considerations below.


Offsite backups come with many advantages

Can be scheduled to run in the background, so no need to bring systems to a standstill just to backup. They use encrypted communication and storage. Backups are hosted in the cloud, so data is available at any location, at almost any time.


What security measures do reputable cloud backup providers provide?


SSL /TLS encryption

SSL or secure socket layer is a secure transmission protocol that uses 128 bit encryption. This means that your data is transmitted on a secure channel to prevent unwanted access. Banks use the same kind of encryption for online banking.


Military strength encryption before it leaves the machine

The industry standard for encryption is the 448 bit and military strength blowfish encryption algorithm which is used by the best backup companies. Even in the rare event that your data is intercepted, it's heavily encrypted and virtually impossible to crack.


Virtualization and redundancy

Data centres use redundant storage arrays so that if one drive crashes it can be replaced easily with no data loss. To further bolster this, these arrays are themselves placed in different locations in the data centre and in different geographical locations. This reduces the likelihood of your data being stolen or lost.


Advanced physical and cyber security

Leading hosting providers have data centres in bunkers, with biometric access and strict security protocols. Drop doors and sectioned areas further strengthen security. 


Fireproofing, earthquake proofing and flood management systems

Data centres also have the most up to date halon fire management systems. Buildings are earthquake resistant and have flood and environmental management systems installed. In the event of a disaster the recovery, the data restore process is rapid.


What other advantages do they offer?


Data backup on steroids

With cloud technology becoming pervasive, disaster recovery is now able to become quicker and more efficient. Enter into the fray DraaS (Disaster recovery as a Service) where data is mirrored and changes to it constantly streamed to an offsite and secure server. In the event that your local server has a meltdown, IT personnel can get users up and running in the shortest time.


Snapshots and seeding

When there is a huge amount of data to be transmitted the first time snapshot or seeding services are offered where data can be couriered to your offsite backup provider. No need to send data over the internet and no impact to one's bandwidth.


Cloud backup providers themselves have solid and proven disaster recovery planning practices themselves. They are up to date with the most advanced technologies and practices out there and have infrastructure that may be prohibitively expensive for the average business. Most of all, make sure that your disaster recovery plan includes offsite data backup as a key component.


 Image credit:wikipedia