What are we talking about?
You must be reading from the same dictionary as your service provider. In addition to RPO and RTO (Part II), terminology in this market has become interchangeable and confusing.
Here are some definitions and guidelines where you and your cloud service provider should be speaking the same language:
- File Deletion – user deletes a file from the server.
- System Failure – The actual server or computer has experienced a failure that makes that device unavailable, perhaps permanently.
- Short Term site outage or disaster – power is out in the building, a steam pipe bursts, etc., meaning that the building is inaccessible for 24-48 hours, but nothing has happened to your files.
- Long term site outage or disaster – office burns to the ground, sprinklers went off, etc., meaning everything in the office is damaged beyond repair and that fact cannot change.
How do you identify what data is important?
Each environment must be evaluated individually. There are common classes of applications and data that must protected but it is imperative that the protection strategy be personalized for the company.
Business owners or managers must be the ones to identify which systems and data are the most critical. If you leave to your IT department, a junior admin will most likely be given the assignment, regardless of what you are told. You have to be involved in it. Period.
What is important to IT is not necessarily important to you. Your team may live and die by your Dropbox account, but if you don’t loop in your IT or your service providers, they can’t help you in the event of a loss.
Here is the checklist that will enable you and your service team to start identifying what is important:
- What applications does your business use?
- What is the version?
- Where is the data stored?
- What type of data is it? (structured or unstructured – PART I)
- Who uses the application?
- Who owns the applications? (which group in the company: Finance, IT, Marketing etc.)
- Can you transact business without the application?
- What is the maximum allowable time between backup sets? (RPO)
Don’t wait for an atomic situation before realizing that the conversation you have with your cloud service provider is possibly the most important conversation you can have about your business. The last thing to define is the difference between a “backup” and an “archive.” Part IV coming soon.