There are four primary components of a backup and recovery strategy:
- reliable and secure storage of current data;
- reliable and timely access to stored data;
- the ability to restore normal operations rapidly from backup storage;
- efficient, secure and reliable long term data storage for archiving.
As IDC points out in its white paper The ROI of Consolidating Backup and Archive Data, access to data goes beyond that which might be required for normal business operations “Failure to meet a governance or compliance request to search and retrieve archive data in a timely manner can result in loss of productivity, fines, or loss of customer trust.”
Similarly, with archiving. “Without a proper strategy in place, organisations are exposed to the risk of violating either regulatory obligations and/or corporate governance regulations.”
Also the backup strategy must include a process for deciding which data to move from the main data storage into the archive, and when to move it. As IDC points out: “Stale data in the backup stream only serves to slow down the backup process. It is important to differentiate long-term retention of backup data from archiving.”
Beyond the three primary components of a backup and recovery strategy, is the secondary, but increasingly important, requirement: cost-effectiveness and efficiency. The cost per gigabyte of storage has plummeted in recent years, but the volume of data that organisations must retain either for business continuity or regulatory requirements (eg every email sent or received) is increasing exponentially.