No one likes to think about failing, but for the purpose of business continuity, you must figure out the best method for disaster recovery. There are a number of online resources that may give you a decent idea of how to create a disaster recovery plan but not many of them specify how to actually perform the process of disaster recovery.

Because every business is different and has slightly varying needs, the best method for disaster recovery for your company may differ from your competition’s. We’re going to take a look at a couple of disaster recovery methods and explain when which one is appropriate.

Keep reading to learn more.

Building a Disaster Recovery Plan

Before you choose the best method for disaster recovery, you must first have a disaster recovery plan in place.

To ensure your business continuity, you’ll want to make sure that these best practices are followed:

  • Have an updated written or printed version of your disaster recovery plan in an easy-to-access location before a disaster occurs. Knowing where the plan is located will help you to quickly start the process without wasting precious time searching for the document
  • Ensure that your recent system backups are stored offsite, be it in the cloud or at another physical location. This helps to ensure that your backups aren’t affected by the same disaster which can lead to longer recovery times
  • Plan for how your business will return to normalcy post-disaster
  • Update your disaster recovery plans frequently to reflect changes in your business
  • Test your plan to make sure it’s viable against disasters that are likely in your area

Once your disaster plan meets these criteria, you will be far more suited to choose a method of recovery that fits your business. You’ll also need to choose a method of backup storage, be it the cloud, local, removable storage media, or a mix of both.

Recovery Time Objective vs Recovery Point Objective

Before moving further, you must understand the differences between recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) in disaster recovery. RTO is how long it will take to get your critical infrastructure up and running after a disaster while RPO is the timeframe between the disaster and your last backup.

When RPO is zero, there is no data loss because your system is continually backing up the newest versions of data. When RTO is zero, there is no downtime –  you barely notice that your systems went down in the first place.

Synchronous Data Replication for Disaster Recovery

If your business cannot tolerate a high RPO, synchronous data replication may be an ideal method of disaster recovery. This type of data replication ensures that your systems and data are backed up both in a local location and at a secondary site. Both copies of your data are written at the same time – they’re synchronized – hence the name synchronous data replication.

Generally, synchronous replications are best for businesses whose secondary storage location isn’t further than 75-100 miles because of latency and response times. However, this method of replication does ensure that your data can be saved up until the point that an outage occurs.

Asynchronous Data Replication

Asynchronous data replication doesn’t immediately replicate your data but instead stores copies of it periodically. Because the replication of data doesn’t occur in real-time, distances and bandwidth do not affect the efficiency of this method of replication.

With asynchronous replication, you may find that there is a minimal amount of data loss versus near-zero RPO with synchronous replication. Conversely, asynchronous replication will allow for near-zero RTO.

Mixed Data Replication

You may choose to use a mixed version of synchronous and asynchronous replication methods. Opting for a mixed replication of data as a disaster recovery method will allow you to minimize data loss and downtime after a disaster by storing data replications at a geographically close secondary site as well as storing data at a further location.

This type of storage is ideal for disaster recovery purposes because it allows you access to recent data stored by synchronous replication with the minimized downtime from asynchronous replication.

Backups and Replications: Similar, Not the Same

You’re probably wondering why in the world you’d need data replications if you have frequent backups. This is understandable because the terms ‘backup’ and ‘replication’ are often used incorrectly and interchangeably.

A backup is a single copy of your systems and data whereas replication allows you to make several copies of your backups and store them in various locations.

For many businesses, a simple yet frequent system and data backup are sufficient to protect against disasters. In other operations, replications of backups should be considered to help prevent data loss that can stem from a successful malware or ransomware attack, large-scale natural disaster, or even a terrorist attack.

Contact a Managed Services Provider

Your disaster recovery plan should consider what type of disasters your business is most likely to experience and how it may affect your data and access to your systems. These considerations will help you determine if maintaining frequent backups are an appropriate disaster recovery method or if you should consider data replication for better protection.

While you may have a decent idea of the different disasters that are most likely to affect operations, you may not know exactly how they can affect your system, your data, or the return to normalcy. Because of this, speaking with an experienced managed services provider who offers disaster recovery planning is advised.

iTernal Networks offers disaster recovery planning as a service and follows disaster planning best practices to help ensure your business continuity after a major event. We can help you choose the best method for disaster recovery, working with you to ensure your disaster plans fit your needs and stay current.

If you’re still uncertain about which method of disaster recovery is best for you or to build a solid disaster recovery plan with knowledgeable IT professionals, contact iTernal Networks for a consultation today!