Affordable Disaster Recovery Solutions for Small Businesses

Jay HineSecurityLeave a Comment

What Disaster?

When we talk about Disaster Recovery, we all think of the large corporations having spare offices setup in a different location with Desks, PCs and Servers just waiting for something catastrophic to happen to the old office. When it does, the idea is that people can swap into the spare office and continue working as if nothing happened.

This is all very well if you are a multi-million-pound company but for most people it is a ludicrous idea. What everyone wants is something that enables them to get back up and running as quickly as possible, in the event of something happening to their current office setup (flood, fire or even serious Virus attack).  But it needs to be cheap and it can’t mean wasting money on things that may never get used (spare offices, servers / PCs etc).

In todays working world the most important thing to most companies if their data, whether this is email based or stored on a Server or in a database.

If something happens to their data, they want to be able to restore it and continue working as quickly as possible. Office space is relatively easy to find, especially in the short term (i.e. serviced offices).

However, with the best will in the world if a Server is destroyed or corrupted rebuilding them either on the existing kit or on a completely new Server can be a longish process. Not only do the basics like installing the operating system, creating the users, restoring data (hopefully from an on-line source and not a water damaged tape) take time but databases must be reinstalled, and all the data restored.

Don’t forget all licenses have to be found for the software to be reinstalled.

All of this can take several days during which time there is little or no access to anything.

Emails are often okay a many people have switched to Office 365 so even if something happens to the internal Server these continue to operate on laptops, mobile devices etc.

Remember a disaster doesn’t have to be where the office becomes unusable it can also be a serious virus attack. If a Server becomes too corrupted and is unstable it needs to be rebuilt. This process is the same as buying a new server. But if you had an entire image of the Server as it was before the virus attacked being able to restore this in a few hours would be far better than a full rebuild.

So, what to do?

The trick is to be able to take a snapshot of your existing Server and back it up to an external device. This can then be taken off-site. In the event of a flood or fire a new server can be sourced and the snapshot put back on.

As it is a snapshot of the entire Server everything is as it was. User details, databases, security permissions, licenses, absolutely everything. All you need to do is attach a laptop or PC to the Server network and all access is restored. The only thing not kept is anything saved locally on a PC which is still in the old damaged office. But it is good practice to always save things on the Server as this tends to be backed up.

If the snapshot was taken several days ago any missing data can be restored from the on-line backups.

This process takes a matter of hours rather than days.

So, what do you need?

In order to do this, you need:

  1. A Server which has been virtualised, either on Hyper-V or VMWare.
  2. Backup software similar to Veeam
  3. A couple of external USB devices with enough capacity to carry 1 or 2 images.

With these in place the Backup Software can be set to backup the Server image once a week, the USB devices are then swapped over and the latest taken off-site. In the event of a problem the USB device is used to restore the Server image. The longest part of this process is the restore time which is based on the size of the file / backup. But unless you have huge amounts of data you are looking at a matter of hours to be back up and running.

If the reason for the rebuild is a virus and the PCs are all still okay, then they will reattach to the restored server immediately.

If the reason was a flood or fire, then any new PCs or Laptops will have to be attached to the Server Network. But this takes a few minutes per PC.

So, what can you do if you have an old setup and NO virtual servers.

Optima Systems Ltd is offering a service where we can move your existing Server across to a Virtual Server setup.

We do this by:

  1. Coming to your office to determine what you already have. This is a free visit.
  2. Once this investigation has been done, we can come along, usually at a weekend, and using our own Server / Kit we can migrate your Server onto ours, which converts it to a Virtual Server. Once the conversion has taken place, we remove the old Server from your existing kit, install VMWare and move the now virtual Server back onto your own Server.
  3. Once this is complete, we setup the Backup Software which creates the snapshot of the Server and save this to the attached USB Device.

What do you need to buy?

  1. You will need to purchase 1 x license of VMWare (approximately £500.00 (ex VAT) a year).
  2. 2 x USB External Drives. Price depends on the size required and whether you prefer to purchase Encrypted Drives.
  3. Purchase Backup Software to take the snapshots. This ranges for free to £………….
  4. Our time to carry out the work. If this is a single Server, this process usually only takes a day with a possible follow up the day after to ensure everything is working as it should. Daily rate for a Saturday £1100.00 (ex VAT) and for the Monday follow up £650.00 (ex VAT).

If this is of interest and for a free consultation, please give us a call.

About the Author

Jay Hine

IT Director

As a Director of Optima Systems Ltd Jay is responsible for overseeing Sales and Marketing, Human Resources, Customer Relations and Account Management. In addition, Jay is responsible for the design, development, efficiency and smooth running of the IT Networks of our clients, as well as our own technical infrastructure. More about Jay.

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