There’s been a lot of discussion of the various forms of Crypto Virus of late. This malicious family of ransomware has left lots of companies struggling to recover their data, and some failing to do so. As we’ve already discussed these issues at length in prior articles, it’s time to talk about protecting yourself against these and other threats, and minimizing downtime if you do get hit.

Here Are Our Two Golden Rules of Backup and Business Continuity:

  1. Never lose data
  2. Get back up and running as quickly as possible

Restoring Files and Folders on a Computer

Let’s take the simplest case first: someone deletes a file or folder, or gets hit with a variant of crypto virus. Microsoft makes this easy, with just a little planning and forethought, you can turn on shadow copies. The operating system sets aside disk space to store previous versions of your files. To get them back, you right-click on the file or folder, and select properties/previous versions. A list of previous versions will show, and you pick one, and get back the file or folder that was corrupted or deleted.

Recovering from Catastrophic Hard Drive or Server Failure

The next case requires just a little more effort. Modern server operating systems have backup software built-in to backup to a local external drive or network location, to protect you against a failure of the hard drive or catastrophic server failure. Because it’s stored with the server, you can quickly restore data once the server has been fixed. If you take an image copy, you can quickly reconstruct the entire server from the backup. And it’s there if you forgot to set up those shadow copies. You must keep several versions of the backup, so if the most recent one gets encrypted, you can still access the prior ones. It’s much better to lose a little recent data than the whole thing.

Establishing a Complete Business Continuity Solution

When the backup is stored in the same location as the server, it doesn’t protect you from losing the building to a fire, flood or other disaster. This leads us to the online (offsite) backup. This backup can take a couple of forms, save just those business critical files that you can’t afford to lose, or take an image of the server(s). The latter lets you spin up the image as a virtual server in the cloud, so you can operate your business using the cloud copy until your building is back in operation and new equipment has been installed.

The latter approach is what gives you the ability to rapidly resume business operations after a catastrophe. Especially if you are using a continuous backup engine to keep your images up to date, which minimizes loss of even the most recent data. And that technology forms the base of your business continuity plan.