Have you ever lost a work file? How much time did you or your team lose? Did you feel that cold sweat? That sinking feeling, where you hope and pray you’ll be able to recover that data?

Here I am, it’s a normal Sunday afternoon and I’m spending time with my family when my cell phone rings. It was one of our clients, one of our biggest clients. They’re an Accounting firm and it’s their busiest time – tax season. So, I answer the phone expecting a simple service request. They tell me their server is down…*gulp*

Because of this, their staff are unable to work. Days, weeks, months…years of their customer files and data were all gone in an instant. A catastrophic server failure had occurred and their on-site IT staff needed a full restore of all their online backups.

Panic is setting in, our client needs a solution and they need it now!

The discussion quickly turned to restores – do we have everything? How long will it take to get it back? This is a busy accounting company at a critical time of year. They can’t afford to be down for even an hour, never mind days or a week. We need to get them back to work as quickly as possible.

So I made a few phone calls and assembled our team. I rushed to the store to purchase hard drives for the data transfer, then met our team in the data centre because restoring to a USB drive was much faster than over the internet. I won’t bore you with the technical details but, in the end, the client was up and fully running in less than three days and they survived the tax season.

We asked ourselves: what could we have done better?

Data backups are a critical function in any business and there are many ways you can go about backing up your systems. But is having a copy of your data enough? If your business is anything like the example above, you probably can’t afford much – if any – downtime. You see, having your information stored outside the server is a good start, but how is it stored? And how long will it take to rebuild your server (physically and logically) if it fails? The data is only part of the puzzle. The environment itself needs to be ready to re-host this information. The process of creating a server or an entire environment from scratch can take days or weeks, making this the most time-consuming part of the recovery.

The solution?

A simple and cost-effective way to help minimize the downtime is to have a full image, or bare-metal, backup stored online and to maintain a local copy at the same time. This allows your IT provider to restore your server, in its entirety, on new or repaired hardware. It eliminates the process of rebuilding. This type of protection changes the narrative from “can we restore data” to “how fast can we restore data?” Keeping a local copy, also known as Hybrid Cloud Backups, will allow for quick access to the image and/or files without the need to transfer that data slowly over the internet. Maintaining an online copy protects you from a complete disaster – such as flood or fire – in which case the local copy is also affected.

Downtime is expensive. And at the end of the day, it’s all about getting you back to business as quickly as possible when disaster strikes.