Fri | Jul 23, 2021

ADVERTORIAL | Protecting your data in the event of a natural disaster

Published:Wednesday | July 21, 2021 | 10:58 AM
Roldane Henry, Infrastructure Services Lead at MC Systems.
Henry Osborne, Technical Product Manager at The Jamaica National Group.
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ADVERTORIAL: MC SYSTEMS

Local technology experts state that as Jamaica is susceptible to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, it is important that businesses have a disaster recovery plan, or business continuity strategies in place.

“When it comes to natural disasters, it is not a question of if, but more so of when”, said Roldane Henry, Infrastructure Services Lead at MC Systems, the technology company of The Jamaica National Group.

“Therefore, business operators need to have plans in place to: safeguard their data and systems from unwanted interruption or loss and to ensure that their business can continue functioning as normal or near normal operations after”.

Henry Osborne, Technical Product Manager at The Jamaica National Group, said that business continuity is developing a plan to deal with difficult situations; therefore, organisations can continue to function with as little disruption as possible.

“Disaster recovery involves a set of policies, tools, and procedures, which enables the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems, following a natural or human-induced disaster,” he explained.

These plans he said, are incorporated in the business's disaster recovery plans and employs backup solutions which essentially create a copy of the data residing on their servers; and stores this data on media, such as tape cartridges and disk-based storage devices.

“For greater resilience, additional copies of this data may be stored at other locations offsite, or even in a public cloud facility”, he explained. “Doing this at regular intervals--daily, weekly, or monthly, ensures that there is always a recent copy of the data backed up and stored, somewhere for safe keeping”.

The Technical Product Manager added that in the event of a disaster or cyber-attack, which causes system outage or loss of data, the backed-up data can be used to restore some, or all of the data on the systems which were impacted.

“The faster the business is able to recover their data, the sooner the business will be able to return to some semblance of normalcy. Data can also be replicated directly from the businesses servers, to other servers in different geographical locations. This means that, in the event a disaster causes the business's primary location to go offline, there is the possibility of a secondary site, where the replicated data is hosted, which can be brought online either automatically or manually,” he informed.

Infrastructural solutions for disaster recovery

Mr Henry explained that an infrastructure solution for disaster recovery incorporates external storage devices, such as: tape drives, disk based storage devices and appliances.

“A simple backup architecture includes: a backup software (such as Veeam), running in the environment that the data resides in; which is able to access and make copies of the data, then transfers this copied data over the local area network, to store it on tapes, via a tape drive; and/or stores it to disks, in a storage device on the network. Most modern backup software solutions can even encrypt the data while in transit and when stored (at rest), or even sends the data over the internet to a cloud storage facility, such as Microsoft Azure Backup,” he explained.

Citing some of the infrastructural solutions for disaster recovery, Mr Osborne said these disaster recovery solutions include: Cold Site, which is a work area for disaster recovery that is geographically separated from the organisation's primary location. It may include equipment, but information services need to be configured and updated with current data before use.

Other solutions he said, include: Hot Sites, which maintain up-to-date copies of data at all times. Hot sites are time-consuming to set up and more expensive than cold sites, however, they dramatically reduce down time, he explained.

There is also Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) which can be used in the event of a disaster or ransomware attack. The DRaaS provider moves an organisation's computer processing to its own cloud infrastructure, allowing a business to continue operations seamlessly from the vendor's location.

“There is also Virtualisation, where organisations can back up certain operations and data, or even a working replica of an organisation's entire computing environment on off-site virtual machines, which are unaffected by physical disasters. Using virtualisation as part of a disaster recovery plan also allows businesses to automate some disaster recovery processes, bringing everything back online faster,” he explained.

Another infrastructural solution is data centre disaster recovery, which is the physical elements of a data centre, that protects data and contribute to faster disaster recovery in certain types of disasters.

“For instance, fire suppression tools will help data and computer equipment survive a fire. A backup power source will help businesses sail through power outages without grinding operations to a halt. Of course, none of these physical disaster recovery tools will help in the event of a cyber-attack,” he advised.

 

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