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We usually think of being ready for a disaster as a kind of insurance policy against a low probability event. This approach treats SMB and enterprise DR planning as necessary, but hardly strategic, and most of us would never consider it as a competitive advantage. We should.

In the spring of 2007, just before the 2008 financial crisis hit, Nassim Taleb presciently published a widely read book called The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. As if reading from a crystal ball, Taleb laid out his thesis that as our global economy scales and becomes more and more complex, we would begin to see the unforeseen and unpredictable more and more often. He argued that to be competitive and truly profit from these unpredictable “black swan” events, you have to organize your business strategy to be ready for them, even if they seem very unlikely.

Effective Enterprise DR Planning Includes Cybersecurity, Public Health, and Natural Disasters

Since then we have had at least two of these worldwide seismic events. The most recent, the current pandemic, has been a wakeup call for every business worldwide. Disasters on a global scale do happen and, as it turns out, some businesses have been better prepared to meet the needs of their customers during this event. These companies have not only realized a short-term competitive advantage, they have secured a firm foundation for their future growth.

But if disasters are unpredictable black swans, how do you plan for them? Taleb shows through a series of examples how important it is to think through the worst kind of risks that you might face and take out insurance against those possibilities. If the risk seems low to everyone else, then it will probably turn out that it doesn’t cost that much to insure yourself against it. And a corollary of this principle, if the worst happens, you will also probably be one of the few survivors. Which can put your business in a very strong competitive situation.

One of the important pieces in your disaster insurance strategy has to be a good disaster recovery plan for your company’s data. Cybersecurity events fall into that class of newly emerging black swan threats that face every business. As we embrace autonomous technologies built around IoT, AI and machine-learning, we are unleashing tremendous productive potential, but we are also setting ourselves up for a potential perfect digital storm.

Much as public health professionals have been warning us of the possibility of a pandemic for the last few decades, cybersecurity professionals have been trying to alert the world to its precarious state around digital security. No one knows exactly how or what will occur, but most who work in this field are concerned that we have a good chance of seeing a major cybersecurity event in the coming decades. Will your business be ready to survive and potentially even profit from it?

Key Considerations for SMB and Enterprise DR Planning

As gloomy as these threats are to contemplate, effective enterprise DR planning has to start with thinking through the worst-case scenarios that you might face so that you can ensure that resources and processes are in place to prevent or rapidly recover from a disaster.

Here are some key considerations at-a-glance. For a complete framework and further step-by-step details, download our free Disaster Recovery Plan Template.

  1. Start by looking at what parts of your business systems, applications and data that you simply cannot afford to lose.
  2. Then take it to the next level by asking, “If all of my competitors were knocked down by the same event as me, what kinds of data recovery would give me an immediate advantage?” There could be an easily achievable difference between being minimally operable and able to pounce on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  3. In developing a good data disaster recovery plan, you need to analyze the vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure and identify the critical components of your operations. This has to be linked to a thorough analysis of your business functions and an assessment of which are the most critical to your ability to not only survive but successfully compete.
  4. You must also ensure that your disaster recovery plan is well understood by your teams. Ensure that they are prepared to execute the DR plan when the time comes. This is difficult to do when the threat is a black swan event that is unpredictable and looks to most people consumed in their daily to-dos as highly theoretical, at best.
  5. For this reason, it is important to fully script out the responses to a wide variety of emergency scenarios. Training and periodic trial runs — fire drills — are also a good way to ensure that when the moment comes, people will have developed some engrained patterns that they can fall back on when their amygdala has gone into overdrive.
  6. To ensure that you have the skill sets and coverage needed during a disaster, also think about engaging the services of a third-party disaster recovery team. We have fire-fighters and other first responders for a very good reason. Training and constant practice in dealing with disasters is the only good way to be prepared for them when they strike. However, most businesses and organizations want to avoid having ‘constant practice’ with recovering from disasters for obvious reasons.

A disaster recovery partner can allow you to focus on your day to day operations, while also having access to reliable and specialized backup and recovery support. A DR partner can apply the deep expertise that they have honed with disasters day in and day out to your specific business needs. They can help you think through your business priorities, identify vulnerabilities in your systems, design backup systems and protocols, and provide critical and rapid response support. This will ensure that you cannot only recover gracefully but seize the moment when your competitors cannot.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services and can help to provide guidance as you work through your SMB or enterprise DR planning process.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.

Contact us today to discover your options around data loss prevention and rapid ransomware recovery with services such as DRaaS Veeam managed appliance for VMWare and HyperVDRaaS physical server replication, and other Storagepipe DR services. Ensure your business continuity by meeting your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

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The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and is well underway; for the first time in recorded history, nine named tropical storms formed before August and thirteen formed before September. Out of those storms, Hanna developed into the first hurricane of the summer as a category 1 event, striking South Texas in July and leaving behind an estimated $485 million USD in damage. That’s one heck of an opener to the season!

The escalating frequency and severity of these natural disasters is posing an urgent and critical threat to businesses and organizations located along the Gulf of Mexico, the North American Eastern Coast from Florida all the way to Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Caribbean. Already struck by economic hardships from the pandemic, these regions simply cannot afford another catastrophe on their shores – and yet they are barreling towards them at an alarming pace with many organizations unprepared and without hurricane disaster recovery in place.

While the season typically peaks by September 10, the second half of the 2020 season is projected to be just as volatile. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted that in total, we may see between 19 – 25 named storms between June and November 30 – the first time that the agency has ever predicted that we may have to start using the Greek alphabet to name our storms.

Out of those 19 – 25 named storms, NOAA forecast that 7 – 11 will become hurricanes, with 3 – 6 of those becoming major hurricane events with extreme damage and potential loss of life. As of this writing in early September, we have already seen 15 named tropical storms. Out of those, 5 became hurricanes with one developing into a major 3+ category storm. The 15th tropical storm was named Omar on September 1, breaking the previous record held by Ophelia in 2005 for earliest named 15th storm of the season.

Enabling Effective Hurricane Disaster Recovery

While early preparation is the best way to mitigate risks to businesses from a wide range of threats, given the early onset, rapid succession and severity of these storms, many organizations have been caught flat-footed. Most have had little time to check that their hurricane disaster recovery plans are in place and updated after only recently activating pandemic planning processes. Many are looking for help to address IT business continuity with their already stretched resources and expanded demands for DR.

An experienced cloud backup and disaster recovery service provider can address many of those business needs by lending their specialized expertise for effective hurricane disaster recovery planning and best practices while also recommending the best and most cost-effective Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solutions. DRaaS providers can support your team with on-demand services such as managing your offsite data replication to a secure datacenter and ensuring that data is stored geographically distant from threatening storm systems.

Need some guidance? We’re here to help! Get our free Disaster Recovery Planning Template here.

Have questions? Our team is ready to help you weather the storm. Contact us today!

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.

Contact us today to discover your options around data loss prevention and rapid ransomware recovery with services such as DRaaS Veeam managed appliance for VMWare and HyperVDRaaS physical server replication, and other Storagepipe DR services. Ensure your business continuity by meeting your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

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Secure remote access safeguards sensitive data transmission when applications are accessed from devices outside of the corporate network. It also enhances cybersecurity by introducing complexities for threat actors. In many cases, vulnerabilities in software applications, especially critical ones, may become harder to exploit as the configuration of the service begins to move away from the generic default to a more customized configuration.

What is Secure Remote Access?

Secure remote access is an umbrella under which a number of security strategies reside. It can refer to any security policy or solution that prevents unauthorized access to your network or sensitive data.
With more remote workers, different techniques may include the use of both VPN and RDP together (using different authentication mechanisms), implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA), restrictions on which accounts may use remote access, during what times, with what password strength, and internal operating system controls that manage and protect passwords and authentication processes.

Why is Secure Remote Access Important?

If an organization does not implement any other layers of authentication besides the standard login with a username and password, there is a higher probability of a successful ransomware attack which could result in encryption and exfiltration of data, demands for payment, damage to reputation as well as lost data and revenue.

Read our Ransomware Best Practices eBook for insights on security threats and steps that you can take to mitigate your risk and rapidly recover from an attack.

Remote Access Risk Mitigation While Keeping it Simple

Some of the most effective ways to potentially reduce the risks associated with remote access systems are also some of the simplest:

  1. Disable remote access technologies if not absolutely required for the business.
  2. Restrict remote access to only the users that require such access, and restrict individual user access to only the services/systems that such users may require.
  3. Use current versions of operating systems and applications, and regularly update and patch. Critical patches should be applied to remote access systems within 3-7 days.
  4. Enforce a strong password policy with regular password changes. Strong password policy means both strength of the password but also complexity, lock-out policies and similar settings.
  5. Restrict and segment remote access services based on data classification.
  6. Use a VPN with MFA if you do use RDP.
  7. Where possible use multiple account login credentials as opposed to configuring all layers to authenticate via the same active directory.
  8. Implement internal monitoring tools to ensure that access is being used correctly and that systems are not being accessed outside of normal parameters.

Storagepipe Can Help

Old access security measures are no longer enough to ensure that your cybersecurity strategy is protecting your data and business continuity, and must be replaced with safeguards that allow employees and other verified users safe and secure access from anywhere, at any time, from any device.

We can provide your business with a suite of customized options to safeguard your business. Contact us now to get started.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.

Contact us today to discover your options around data loss prevention and rapid ransomware recovery with services such as DRaaS Veeam managed appliance for VMWare and HyperVDRaaS physical server replication, and other Storagepipe DR services. Ensure your business continuity by meeting your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

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Adobe has announced that the Flash Player and its respective components will no longer be distributed or updated as of December 31, 2020. While security patches will still be updated as Adobe winds down their management of Flash, it is prudent for businesses and IT professionals to anticipate longer timelines for their deployment, with the exception of critical concerns. Organizations worldwide are being advised to prepare to remove Adobe Flash before the end of life date to mitigate data cybersecurity risks.

Please note that into November and December, there is a good chance that threat actors will take advantage of the less frequent security patch releases and that attacks against Flash will increase following EOL situations. With the discontinuation after December 31, these attacks are predicted to escalate into 2021.

Follow these steps to remove Adobe Flash and ensure a smooth transition:

Perform an inventory.

Understand what systems have Flash currently installed using your software inventory system. Software inventory systems are critical to supporting security patches, pragmatic updates and end of life systems. If an inventory does not exist, security or inventory scanning applications can be used.

Establish a cut-off date.

For example, you may decide to remove Adobe Flash by end of September 2020 to ensure that you have enough time to test your systems post-removal, implement any replacement solution, troubleshoot issues, and acclimatize your end users to the transition before the end of life date forces an abrupt and disruptive change. Examine your calendar for an appropriate day and send a message to all staff that:

  • Flash will be removed from all systems
  • The reason why
  • That it will be black listed
  • If you use sites with Adobe Flash – let IT know
  • The date of removal

Determine any systems that use Adobe Flash.

This might be a cumbersome task, but it’s important to know if any of your business systems and applications use Flash. You may be surprised by how many do, and by how many have not removed it yet. For each of these systems and applications, contact the provider and ask what their timeline is for removal and what they plan to roll out in its place. Make sure to check your network gear and servers especially.

Remove Adobe Flash.

Remove Flash from all systems using your inventory control or services automation solution. Centralized removal of software followed by blacklisting is critical to ensure continued security. Make sure to run an inventory check before and after the removal of Flash to confirm that your systems are clean, and then validate every thirty days for 90-days to check for rogue installations. Add this validation to your routine blacklist inventory scanning practice.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.

Contact us today to discover your options around data loss prevention and rapid ransomware recovery with services such as DRaaS Veeam managed appliance for VMWare and HyperVDRaaS physical server replication, and other Storagepipe DR services. Ensure your business continuity by meeting your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

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As businesses pursue digital transformation, their key assets are shifting from physical infrastructure to data. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and other kinds of analytics rely on data to power their algorithms. Data is now the most valuable asset for many businesses; not just customer and financial data, but operational data as well. Loss of that data for even a short time can bring operations to a standstill. And yet, legacy disaster recovery solutions such as offsite tape repositories don’t provide the immediate and dependable response needed to meet today’s business demands.

It is no surprise then that the latest trend in disaster recovery is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Relying on the cloud to provide flexible, scalable backup resources, DRaaS is always on and always available. Disaster recovery services provide the fastest options for restoration of operational and other kinds of data, and it can automate many of the tasks. Along with the agility and speed of recovery that DRaaS makes possible, it also provides increased flexibility, improved security and saves you money. Having access to your backup data without having the access to compute to run your business is only part of the equation in a disaster.

In traditional disaster recovery, IT maintains or has access to a second, standalone data center for the disaster recovery operations. This duplication includes storage and compute resources as well as duplicate network resources such as firewalls, routers and switches. There are also extra operational processes such as configuration, maintenance and support. In addition, there is the time needed to access the equipment at the second site as well as the time needed to re-route network traffic to this new location.

The manual side of disaster recovery can be the Achilles heel for many businesses because their backup operations are manual. This puts the burden on data center employees, who unless the business is very big, are often caught up in other day-to-day operational tasks. It is not always easy to ensure backup tasks remain on the daily to-do list despite more pressing short-term issues.

Rapidly growing businesses also need to expand their redundant data center to match the growth of the business. This can impose the need for significant expenditures at a time when all available Capex is being used to increase productive capacity. As with manual operations, long-term strategic issues such as disaster recovery often fall lower on the priority list when the business is consumed with short-term issues.

 

Cost-Effective and Reliable Disaster Recovery Services for Businesses of all Sizes

Disaster recovery services address most of these shortcomings. The pay-as-you-go approach of cloud services is one of the principal drivers of the trend to the cloud, and it is no different with DRaaS. It moves disaster recovery to the expense side of the ledger where it can more closely match the ebbs and flows in revenue, and it ensures that precious capital resources are available for expanding productivity to meet growing demand.

Disaster recovery services can automate the tasks associated with replication, backup and restoration. The cloud provider takes over the day-to-day operations, administration and maintenance of the DR datacenter and associated services, which frees IT to focus on the more pressing concerns of managing the fast-growing digital operations side of the business.

In addition, disaster recovery services can also assist in disaster avoidance. Failing over just one or a few Virtual Machines (VM) and running those workloads from a Cloud site without having to formally declare a disaster and initiate all of the associated actions with disaster declaration can be invaluable.

Documenting and automating the restoration process or “run book” of Virtual Machines (VM) with your DRaaS provider through the use of features such as Failover Plans can ensure that the appropriate steps are taken more rapidly and without having to make those decisions during the disaster declaration process, since they were determined well in advance.

The DRaaS provider also brings their expertise and experience handling disaster recovery and prevention on a daily basis; whereas most business’s IT departments will only occasionally deal with data restoration tasks and may never experience a full-blown loss of data — at least, not until it happens.

Your DRaaS provider can work with you to develop your Disaster Recovery Plan. They can help you to assess the risks and business impacts, lay out the best ways to prevent data loss from occurring, and help your IT staff to prepare for how best to respond and recover from various disaster scenarios. Finally, they can help you to test these systems on a regular basis to ensure that the plan is comprehensive and update it when new threats emerge.

This last point is perhaps the most significant. Cyber-security threats are the area most prone to rapid change, and the area where it is most difficult for IT departments to stay current. Again, the DRaaS provider is singularly focused on the security of their data center operations and is completely attuned to the current state of security threats. Their infrastructure is also separate and apart for that of the businesses they serve which offers additional protections through these barriers. Read our Ransomware Best Practices eBook for our insights on how to protect your business.

In this era of digital transformation, the cloud is playing a key role in the development of information and operational technologies. It allows businesses to be more agile, responding quickly to shifts in demand and enabling them to be more flexible and adjust their offerings and services to optimize the customer experience. Cloud providers offer the latest capabilities and leverage the most advanced technological platforms. Every business today needs to put cloud at the heart of their business strategy and, now more than ever, that includes disaster recovery services.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.

Contact us today to discover your options around DRaaS Veeam managed appliance for VMWare and HyperVDRaaS physical server replication, and other Storagepipe DR services that can help you to meet your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

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SaaS applications such as Office 365 are part of what is allowing the global shift towards remote working. Having everything in the cloud means that employees enjoy much greater flexibility about where and when they work, and organizations can reduce their real estate footprint. However, using cloud-based services does not mean that IT can forget about data backup and disaster recovery. While there are lots of good reasons to enable remote work in your organization, cloud services don’t end the need for complete data protection, wherever your employees are located.

Microsoft Office has long been the preferred communications, collaboration and productivity application suite for organizations. So, when Microsoft shifted Office to the cloud with Office 365, it was a strong signal to organizations that SaaS was here to stay. All of which was good news to IT departments that are weary of the time and money spent on supporting the old on-premises model.

Now, with automatic updates, employees always have the latest version of the software and can collaborate seamlessly on documents. When integrated with Microsoft’s other powerful cloud platforms like Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams, any size organization can have the full benefit of this powerful platform for communicating, sharing, and creating information to help drive their business.

Whether employees are working in the office, remotely or while on the move, they can utilize the Microsoft SaaS suite of applications thanks to support for operating systems ranging from Windows to Mac OS and Linux, including IOS and Android tablets and other mobile devices. With all of their data in the cloud, employees can move from device to device with complete confidence that the latest version of their documents and files are available to work on from anywhere, via any device.

As easy as this all sounds, there are still a bunch of requirements and policies that IT departments need to consider when implementing remote workers and Office 365.

BYOD Security Policies

Employees love the freedom that Office 365 gives them to use their own devices. While it may still be best practice for employees to use only business-supplied equipment, for many organizations, BYOD is here to stay. Thus, it is important to set up the right policies for remote workers. For instance, not sharing work devices with family members or, if that’s not possible, ensuring a separate password-protected account for the remote worker on the family machine.

 

Collaboration and Communication Policies

If the remote employee is using equipment provided by the business, the policy should be to disallow any sharing or personal computer use on the office-supplied laptop — or, at the very least, personal email and social media communications must have a separate account on the device. Email best practices are the same for all employees, and they should be well trained to spot phishing attacks. Documents of importance to the organization should be worked on in SharePoint with proper version control and access controls implemented.

 

Configuration and Remote Access

Remote updating of laptop configurations is not so different for remote and office workers if remote desktop software is installed. OS updates have to be scheduled with the employee but are easily managed with an internet-facing WSUS server. Management of Office 365 licenses is also similar. Don’t forget that with more workers accessing internal servers remotely, you have to have enough certificates on hand to support NSA multi-factor authentication for those times when remote working volume spikes.

 

Office 365 Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery

Finally, the need for regular data backup and disaster recovery planning does not go away just because the data is in Microsoft’s cloud. It is true that with cloud services, hard drive failures and lost laptops do not pose the same level of concern regarding data loss as they once did. But these are by no means the only ways to lose precious data.

The most common cause of data loss is user errors. Unfortunately, businesses often learn the hard way that many SaaS applications, including Office 365, lack comprehensive support to remedy these issues. In fact, many SaaS providers specifically exclude covering user error issues in their terms and conditions. Users can overwrite files by mistake, accounts get deleted, folders disappear, and malicious emails are opened. In addition to the applications themselves, you need to have a comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery policy, and workstation backup services that allow you to recover to previous versions of a file, folder, or even an account.

There are other serious considerations around archiving and searching records. If you delete a user license when an employee leaves, Microsoft Office 365 will only keep a backup of an employee’s email, contacts and calendar for 30 days. OneDrive files are kept for longer, but not forever. Thus, when employees leave the organization, it is critical to have a full backup of their files and protection of historical email in case you need them later to maintain continuity with suppliers or customers. You may also need those long-term backups and archives because of legal actions and compliance with audit regulations such as GDPR, PIPEDA, and HIPPA, which require businesses to maintain intact records for multiple years.

On the disaster recovery front, remote worker’s devices are more vulnerable to loss, damage and theft because of the public nature of the places they may work and their frequent mobility. They are just as exposed as any other part of the business to ransomware attacks, which are on the rise. Office 365 and other Microsoft services are often a primary target of such attacks.

Thus, it is crucial to maintain endpoint security for remote devices, managing the remote user’s anti-virus and spam protection. Given the vulnerabilities associated with Wi-Fi, especially public Wi-Fi services, employees should use a VPN to access the enterprise intranet, as well as for connections to cloud-based applications like Office 365. Despite the higher risks that are associated with remote work, a comprehensive offsite or cloud data backup service is your ultimate backstop should they experience difficulties.

The need for these precautions shouldn’t outweigh the advantages of remote work, and there are ways to avoid the extra overhead associated with managing your remote workforce. Look for a partner who can help you get the most out of the Microsoft productivity platform with cloud-based data backup and disaster recovery, as well as management of Office 365 licenses, user account management, end-point security, training and set-up assistance.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.

Contact us today to discover your options around Office 365 Cloud to Cloud Backup services, and about other Storagepipe services that can help you to meet your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

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Working remotely, whether from home, the local coffee shop or a co-working space is a big trend. As a result, many enterprises are converting their office spaces and even getting rid of providing a fixed desk per employee. Having this kind of workspace flexibility and freedom in how to structure their workday is a priority for many modern workers, especially for Millennials and Gen Z. This shift in strategy may be critical for attracting and retaining talent into the future.

In the past, it was often only the largest enterprises that could afford to put the systems in place to make flex-time, work from home options, or entirely remote workforces possible. For many small to medium enterprises, the logistics associated with remote access servers, VPNs, token systems for authentication, backing up home workers’ data, and implementing disaster recovery simply made remote working too costly. This has all changed in the cloud era, which is now allowing enterprises of almost any size to cost-effectively support part-time or full-time remote workers with the right resources.

For IT managers needing to set up cloud services for remote workers, there are a number of things to consider. These include services for hosting, security, backups and disaster recovery. Additionally, there are HR policies that need to change, extended employee training, new equipment and software licenses, and configuration of network access and permissions for these more mobile employees.

On the hosting front, the cloud solves one of the biggest issues — scaling. As employees become more mobile and move in and out of the office, the need for remote access infrastructure can become quite unpredictable. For instance, if a snowstorm closes schools, most of your staff may suddenly want to work from home. Fortunately, the cloud’s ability to scale on demand means that you can accommodate them.

Managed Cloud Services are based on multi-tenant virtual machines running environments such as VMWare, Hyper-V, and Nutanix. Because virtual machines can be spun up at a moment’s notice, you should have on-demand access to these resources with no practical limits. They are perfect environments for supporting business operations that are unpredictable such as remote work.

You may also want the option to use cloud infrastructure for more sensitive and predictable operations. The option may also be available to co-locate some of your own compute and storage hardware in the same facility alongside cloud infrastructure to create a hybrid cloud setup for added flexibility and security. Ideally, the two services can be bundled together in a single cost-effective offer.

On the most basic level, you will need your cloud supplier to provide the networking and data infrastructure to support remote workers. This includes remote access servers, data storage and operating software. This is known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Your remote workers will need fully redundant private networking with direct, secure connectivity including VPNs and firewalls. If your operations are widely distributed, the cloud provider should be able to offer you multiple certified datacenter options along with clear service level agreements (SLAs).

One of the most challenging aspects of working from home is ensuring that data backups are running regularly and are error-free. Unlike the in-office desktop PC, home PCs and laptops are not connected to the LAN 24/7; this can make running and managing backups difficult. Fortunately, cloud-based backup services are always connected to the user’s machine. Thus, it is possible to run continuous or scheduled backups of the contents of the remote machine throughout the day. A good backup service should also offer an internal backup system for the machine as well.

SaaS applications, like Salesforce, Microsoft 365 or G Suite help to ensure that remote workers are keeping their data in the cloud, but these SaaS services also need to be included in the backup service landscape. Most SaaS providers do backup their servers, but these backups are often limited in scope and have few recovery points to restore from. Many SaaS providers won’t take responsibility for partially or fully restoring your data, especially in the common scenario where user error has caused a failure, corruption, or breach.

Without strict enforcement and training, many end users tend to save their files on their PCs in local folders like “My Documents” rather than on company servers. These machines are often turned off during normal backup windows which complicates data protection. To prevent data loss, IT managers should search for a workstation backup solution that offers resume and cache functionalities, along with the ability to back up locally saved workstation data.

With remote work, risks around email phishing and other security concerns increase. Thus, it is critical to have continuous backups of user data so that it is possible to restore previous versions of files and rollback user error or outside threats such as ransomware or crypto-type attacks.

Finally, it is critical to have a disaster recovery service (DRaaS). There are, after all, worse things than snow days. Flooding, fire, disgruntled employees and outside cyberattacks can shut down your business, sometimes costing you days and weeks to recover. As businesses and organizations pursue their digital transformation, the stakes are only mounting.

Remote workers and their data have to be included in the recovery plan. The disaster may be something that occurs in their home or co-working space and yet not affect any of your offices. To complicate matters, if you have a BYOD policy, they may be working off of their own machines. You will have to quickly replace non-standard laptops, tablets or other devices and restore their data.

DRaaS providers can not only protect your data assets; they can also provide an entire disaster recovery service. Your IT department will obviously want to take the lead on recovery efforts, but they probably won’t have a lot of experience doing it and might also be feeling the pressure.

A DRaaS provider should be able to help. After all, it is their day-to-day business to help businesses and organizations of all kinds and sizes to recover from these kinds of events. They should consult with you beforehand to put a disaster recovery process in place, and they can help save you many hours and days by guiding the IT team in the right direction when you need to recover.

Working remotely is becoming increasingly popular and for younger generations of workers, it is often viewed as essential. The good news is that supporting these new, more flexible work patterns is much easier and cost-effective with the cloud and managed services. This is not only making the workplace more flexible and attractive, it also enables you to on-board workers faster, accommodate partners and suppliers that are collaborating with you and, generally, make your business or organization more agile — as well as safe and secure.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.

Contact us today to learn more about how Storagepipe can help you to meet your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

RTO, Recovery Time Objective, RPO, Recovery Point Objective, Disaster Recovery, DR, DR Plan, DR Planning, Disaster Recovery Plan, Disaster Recovery Planning, Data, Data Disaster, Cloud Backup, Backup, Cloud to Cloud, Cloud to Cloud Backup

All businesses need to understand what RTO (otherwise known as a Recovery Time Objective) is and how it applies to their operations, so that they can accurately assess their requirements and select the appropriate solutions, staffing and policies used in their backup and disaster recovery planning.

RTO Basics

Following a data disaster, a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) states the maximum acceptable length of time that you have to recover your IT infrastructure and services and restore normal business operations.

Determining your RTO is an exercise that encourages your business to fully evaluate and appreciate the impact of downtime and determine a set of priorities between IT and executive leadership. IT teams can then use the RTO to select and gain approval for the most cost effective, rapid and comprehensive disaster recovery solution that meets their business needs.

The RTO is determined by evaluating the monetary value of downtime to your business, which includes disrupted services and transactions, customer and partner attrition, additional IT and customer service staffing costs, and potentially hardware replacement expenses. Another factor may include legal costs to address liabilities such as data regulation infractions or customer claims. Keep in mind that downtime costs per hour tend to escalate over time as issues cascade and cause further indirect impacts.

Once the downtime value is determined, businesses next need to grade the criticality of their applications, systems, and data and identify any related inter-dependencies. This will help to prioritize what to restore first (and subsequently), and identify the length of time required to get the business back online.

 

RTO Key Considerations:

  • Determine maximum acceptable monetary loss from downtime
  • Determine downtime hourly monetary loss value
  • Divide acceptable monetary loss by the hourly monetary loss for the RTO
  • Determine hours needed to restore apps, systems, and data
  • Compare the RTO to the current recovery time
    • If RTO > current recovery time, your RTO is achievable
    • If RTO < current recovery time, your RTO is not achievable

Meeting Your RTO Example:

If your backup and recovery capabilities are able to restore your systems and data within your RTO timeframe, your business will be able to mitigate risks around data disasters.

  • $50,000 maximum acceptable loss
  • $10,000 per hour losses
  • $50,000 / $10,000 per hour = RTO is 5 hours for a maximum financial loss of $50,000
  • Current recovery time is evaluated at 4 hours with high availability failover services
  • The current recovery time of 4 hours is under the Recovery Time Objective of 5 hours and is therefore achievable; the business should avoid major losses from data disasters

Failing to Meet Your RTO Example:

If your current services and solutions are unable to recover and restore your data quickly enough to meet your RTO, the business stands to suffer unacceptable damage and consequences.

  • $50,000 maximum acceptable loss
  • $10,000 per hour losses
  • $50,000 / $10,000 per hour = RTO is 5 hours for a maximum financial loss of $50,000
  • Current recovery time is evaluated at 24 hours
  • The current recovery time of 24 hours is more than the Recovery Time Objective of 5 hours and is therefore not being met; the business continuity is at high risk

Other Considerations

While the monetary calculation can give you a good metric to base your RTO, it’s also important to consider the “soft” factors of what downtime can mean to your business.

How will customers react and how will you be perceived? Will your competitors use this as an opportunity to steal business? Will customers go elsewhere, and you not only lose an immediate sale but the lifetime value of a customer? Are you going to be answering questions on social media about this downtime?

Some of these factors may be quantifiable in your assessment, while others may need to be considered in a broader context of reputational and other risks.

What About Backup Timing?

The Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is a measurement of the business’s maximum acceptable data loss (i.e. 15 minutes worth of data) as expressed by a correlating target backup interval (i.e. backups running every 15 minutes).

You should also establish your RPO and apply the same criticality, interdependency, and prioritization as you do with your RTO. RPO helps you decide what to backup and when, to ensure that you are capturing the right data at the right frequency to support a successful recovery. Read more about RPOs here.

RTO Services and Solutions

There are a range of services and solutions that support different RTOs. The chosen RTO can affect the price, configuration, and IT resources required. Working with a flexible, customer-centric backup and disaster recovery service provider can help you to determine the most cost-effective and responsive solution for your business.

 

Backup as a Service (BaaS)

Backup as a Service (BaaS) offers fully configurable online backup and recovery processes, supported by Storagepipe’s 24/7 support services. These services are scaled for your organization, so that you get the control you need with the support that you want.

Backups can be performed automatically according to flexible backup schedules, allowing for businesses of all sizes and needs to meet their specific RPOs. Communication is initiated by your systems, and your information is encrypted using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), before being pushed via a secure SSL/TLS connection to Storagepipe’s datacenters. All of the backups are also incremental, and only move new or changed data.

Storagepipe’s Network Operating Centre (NOC) proactively monitors the data centers, operations and customer data transfers to ensure optimal backup and recovery with BaaS services to support your Recovery Time Objectives (RTO).

For environment failover and replication services, see our Disaster Recovery as a Service offerings.

 

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) enables your company to replicate data and deploy a Disaster Recovery (DR) environment without needing to construct a second physical data center.

DRaaS extends recovery capabilities to allow for full recovery directly into cloud infrastructure in just minutes, giving your organization the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) that you need for true business continuity.

DRaaS replication ensures that your production site and DR site are in sync, allowing you to meet demanding Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs). Learn more about RPOs here.

The Storagepipe DRaaS solution offers both Warm Site Failover, and Hot Site High Availability Replication and Full Failover. These Storagepipe services enable businesses to achieve RTOs that range from seconds to 48 hours from the time of a declared data disaster. Speak to our disaster recovery experts to find the right services to meet your RTO.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.

Contact us today to learn more about how Storagepipe can help you to meet your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

Get Your Free IT Disaster Recovery Planning Template

In our digital world, disasters that affect our data and applications are a given. Whether it’s a deleted file, a ransomware attack, or a large-scale natural disaster, there are constant threats to IT infrastructure and the businesses that depends on them. But you can minimize the impact of an outage by making a disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan.

Download our free IT Disaster Recovery Plan Template to minimize negative impacts to company operations, people, and assets. Download now!

DR Plan, disaster recovery plan, disaster recovery planning, RPO, RTO, recovery point objective, recovery time objective, backup, cloud backup, disaster recovery, DR, data protection

All businesses need to understand what an RPO is (otherwise known as a Recovery Point Objective) and how it applies to their operations, so that they can accurately assess their requirements and select the appropriate solutions, staffing and policies used in their backup and disaster recovery planning.

RPO Basics

A Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is a metric used to determine how often data backups should run, and to evaluate what services and solutions match your business needs. The RPO is determined by understanding how much data loss your business can tolerate.

Some businesses and organizations may have mandated RPOs due to data privacy and compliance requirements, such as the financial and legal industries.

Why is this important? Data is dynamic and constantly changing over time, while backups only capture data at a specific point in time. The length of time between each scheduled backup is known as the backup interval. The wider the interval, the higher the likelihood that your data will change during that time, and the more risk you take as that data remains without a backup until the next backup. In the event of a data disaster, a higher backup frequency enables more recovery points to restore from and shrinks the interval between backups so that data has a better chance of being captured.  Your RPO defines the maximum allowable amount of lost data measured in time from a failure occurrence to the last valid backup.

Meeting Your RPO

For example, an e-commerce business may conduct around the clock online transactions. They evaluate their systems and business model and determine that losing more than 15 minutes worth of data would be extremely detrimental to their operations, customer service, revenue, and reputation. They decide that their RPO and backup interval should never exceed 15 minutes. They then choose a solution that is capable of running a backup schedule at 15 minute intervals, such as at every quarter hour on the hour (0:00, 0:15, 0:30, and 0:45).

If a failure occurs, with successful backups every 15 minutes, they would always be able to recover without major threat to their business continuity. Here are two examples on how it would play out:

  • If they experienced a system failure at 0:03, they’d only lose 3 minutes worth of data.
  • If failure occurred at 0:52, they’d lose 7 minutes of data.
  • For both scenarios, since the time between the last backup before failure and the data disruption are well below the 15 minute RPO (3 and 7 minutes respectively), both losses are survivable for the business.

Failing to Meet Your RPO

Conversely, if a business can only withstand an hour’s worth of data loss, yet has backups running every two hours, that business is not meeting their RPO and is at risk of losing critical data. The risk escalates the further in time the failure occurs from the last backup.

For example, if they run their backups every odd hour on the hour (1:00; 3:00; 5:00, et cetera):

  • A failure at 1:40 is less damaging than one that occurs at 4:55.
  • The first incurs 40 minutes of data loss, which is acceptable according to their RPO of 1 hour.
  • The second incident incurs 1 hour 55 minutes of data loss, which definitely does not meet their RPO and may seriously damage their business.

For this business, without the appropriate 1 hour backup interval, meeting their RPO of 1 hour is a game of chance and does not meet their business needs. If a data disaster occurs such as a ransomware attack, user error, or natural disaster, they stand to suffer damage and potentially opening themselves up to liability, loss of business, and compliance risk.

RPO Services and Solutions

There are a range of services and solutions that enable backup intervals that support different RPOs. The chosen RPO can affect the price, configuration, and IT resources required. Working with a flexible, customer-centric backup and disaster recovery service provider can help you to determine the most cost-effective and responsive solution for your business.

 

Backup as a Service (BaaS)

Backup as a Service (BaaS) offers fully configurable online backup and recovery processes, supported by Storagepipe’s 24/7 support services. These services are scaled for your organization, so that you get the control you need with the support that you want.

Backups can be performed automatically according to flexible backup schedules, allowing for businesses of all sizes and needs to meet their specific RPOs. Communication is initiated by your systems, and your information is encrypted using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), before being pushed via a secure SSL/TLS connection to Storagepipe’s datacenters. All of the backups are also incremental, and only move new or changed data.

Storagepipe’s Network Operating Centre (NOC) proactively monitors the data centers, operations and customer data transfers to ensure optimal backup and recovery.

 

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) enables your company to replicate data and deploy a Disaster Recovery (DR) environment without needing to construct a second physical data center. DRaaS replication ensures that your production site and DR site are in sync, allowing you to meet demanding Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs).

 

What About Restoring Backups?

BaaS allows both local and cloud restores from your backups based on your RPOs and the stored backup snapshots.  DRaaS extends recovery capabilities to allow for full recovery directly into cloud infrastructure in just minutes, giving your organization the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) that you need for true business continuity.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Storagepipe is a trusted global provider of comprehensive cloud, data protection and security services.

Since 2001, Storagepipe has provided these robust and secure managed cloud and disaster recovery solutions from a scalable multi-tenant infrastructure, supported by our first-class in-house technical team. Storagepipe delivers highly flexible and responsive solutions with outstanding value and service, using state-of-the-art technology to offer ultimate protection and peace of mind.

We are driven to be your trusted partner and to ensure that we deliver a Storagepipe Experience that meets your business requirements with the reliability, scalability and support that your business demands.
Contact us today to learn more about how Storagepipe can help you to meet your operational demands while protecting and recovering your most valuable asset – your data.

Get Your Free IT Disaster Recovery Planning Template

In our digital world, disasters that affect our data and applications are a given. Whether it’s a deleted file, a ransomware attack, or a large-scale natural disaster, there are constant threats to IT infrastructure and the businesses that depends on them. But you can minimize the impact of an outage by making a disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan.

Download our free IT Disaster Recovery Plan Template to minimize negative impacts to company operations, people, and assets. Download now!

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Hurricanes, flooding, and other extreme weather events along with increased cyber-attacks have put the need for data backup and recovery systems into the spotlight. Cloud computing and better connectivity have made advanced disaster recovery systems more accessible for businesses. In the hunt for the best DRaaS solutions, organizations must ensure that they clearly understand what to expect from the service model, and what to look for in vendors.

What is DRaaS?

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a fully managed IT Disaster Recovery Service. It typically applies to servers, rather than desktops. If your servers have failed whether by a hardware failure, a software update that doesn’t work properly, a power outage, or a ransomware attack, then your DRaaS provider will get you back up and running in a DR site.

In most DRaaS cases, IT departments oversee the restoration process, but a third-party provider guides the way with their experience. Depending on the service level purchased, businesses may be able to recover IT systems in minutes, hours or days following a failure. The service should also include regular testing of your Disaster Recovery solution to ensure that it is all working properly, and meets compliance and regulatory requirements.

The Benefits of DRaaS

DRaaS solutions have many benefits. Human error is a large cause of IT downtime. It’s very easy for IT departments and system end users like employees and partners to make honest mistakes; we’re all human after all. But sometimes there are also intentional, internal threats to businesses that can be harder to manage. An unbiased, independent provider is often best to ensure that failures don’t end up as total data loss, and that the cause of the disruption is accurately assessed and identified.

In addition to internal threats, recoveries are very stressful and difficult scenarios unless you are experienced and well-rehearsed. It is quite common for the pressure to become overwhelming, or for the recovery process to become a difficult and drawn out affair as unexpected issues mount, all the while the business revenue suffers. It’s important to have someone on your team who has the experience of many IT recoveries and isn’t distracted by internal pressures or other tasks. Your recoveries will be more consistent and faster, resulting in less downtime and less damage to your business.

Learn more about DRaaS Appliances.

Choosing the Right DRaaS Provider

Implementing an effective DRaaS solution is not a simple matter. Your provider will act as your trusted partner, ensuring not just that you have the most appropriate DR solution, but also that this solution is managed, maintained, monitored, adapted and scaled properly for years to come.

There are a few key points that you need to consider when choosing a DRaaS provider:

  • Location
  • Performance
  • Testing
  • Specialized Experience
  • Pricing
  • Breadth Of Capabilities
  • Levels of Service

Read more about choosing the right DRaaS provider.

Storagepipe to the Rescue

Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Heroes

Threats to business continuity continue to evolve. From ransomware to employee error to natural disaster, a variety of events can cause outages, and the costs of downtime can be high, even for short incidents. It’s up to IT organizations to be prepared. But how do businesses choose the best disaster recovery strategy while also making the most of limited budgets and resources?

Storagepipe offers DRaaS and business continuity solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Contact us today for your customized solution.

Get Your Free IT Disaster Recovery Planning Template

In our digital world, disasters that affect our data and applications are a given. Whether it’s a deleted file, a ransomware attack, or a large-scale natural disaster, there are constant threats to IT infrastructure and the businesses that depends on them. But you can minimize the impact of an outage by making a disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan.

Download our free IT Disaster Recovery Plan Template to minimize negative impacts to company operations, people, and assets. Download now!