Data backup and disaster recovery for companies

Keeping your company safe and agile when disaster strikes.


Why data backups and disaster recovery are important for companies

The average company works with all kinds of data, some of which is crucial for business continuity. It must therefore be backed up in such a way that it can be restored quickly and easily when disaster strikes (disaster recovery).

The benefits are obvious: less downtime means virtually constant availability for customers, building trust in the company and improving its image. The company also remains in control and financial losses are kept to a minimum. That aside, companies are often required to keep accounting and financial data to comply with national laws.

As an entrepreneur, you will sidestep many risks by installing a sophisticated system to back up your company data that enables smooth recovery whenever necessary.

The connections between business continuity and disaster recovery strategies

Broadly speaking, business continuity management describes all measures to ensure that extreme or emergency situations (such as power failures, pandemics and natural disasters) obstruct a company’s operations as little as possible, i.e. that any negative consequences are dealt with rapidly. In this regard, disaster recovery strategies refer explicitly to the quick restoration of IT systems and the stored data.

But disaster recovery can only be successful if you prepare a plan for backing up your data to ensure it can be restored as smoothly as possible later on. You should ask yourself these and other questions when deciding how best to proceed:

How much data can I afford to lose? (Recovery Point Objective, RPO)

  • Your answer to this question determines the length of backup cycles. Backups need to be produced continuously if you can ill-afford to lose any data at all. You can extend the backup cycles a little if losing a few hours of data would not be so tragic.

How much system downtime can you accept before things become business-critical? (Recovery Time Objective, RTO)

  • Complete failure of the IT systems for just a few hours can mean the loss of significant revenue for major international shops. Websites with relatively low traffic might be less affected by an outage lasting several hours or days.

The best storage location for the data backups (external hard drive, network drive or the cloud etc.) and the frequency of storage can also differ significantly from company to company. Nevertheless, data backups in the cloud are likely to be the most flexible and convenient option, as the cloud provider is responsible for providing the latest hardware and software and for compliance with relevant standards.

You can use various backup methods. Which one best suits your needs depends in particular on how frequently your datasets change.

Which types of backup are available and what is the best way of using them?

Full backups

This backup method always includes your entire data inventory. It requires the most storage space. For this reason alone, the individual backup cycles will be quite long.

Differential backups

This type only copies data that has changed or been added since the last full backup. It requires considerably less storage space than a full backup. Shorter backup cycles are therefore possible. Individual restore points can be deleted without affecting others.

Incremental backups

Incremental backups only copy the data that has changed or been added since the last incremental or full backup. All incremental backups and a full backup can be used to restore systems and data. Very short backup cycles are sensible and possible, as the method does not require much storage space.

The various backup methods are combined: incremental or differential backups can be performed after a full backup.

Backup media: offline, online and hybrid backups

Offline backups – for instance on hard drives or internal network drives – have the advantage that they remain on-premises and are therefore less vulnerable to external attacks. The disadvantage: a fire at the headquarters might destroy the stored media as well.

Online backup media like the cloud and others are theoretically more vulnerable to an outside attack, but cloud computing providers have developed excellent methods of keeping your data safe, especially in Germany with its strict data protection standards. Multi-level data centre security concepts and geo-redundancy are just two of these methods.

Hybrid solution use both backup methods: you will be well-prepared for every eventuality if you keep the data inventory you are currently working with off-premises (such as a hard drive in a bank deposit box) and an online copy in the cloud.

Data backups with Cloud Backup from Acronis, and the Compute Engine

The graphical user interface of the Data Center Designer (DCD "Data Center Designer") and the state-of-the art cloud APIs are among the many particular strengths of the IONOS Cloud Compute Engine. Not only does the DCD let you build entire IT systems to suit your requirements by drag and drop, you also decide how each part of the system should be backed up.

It is not even necessary that all of your IT infrastructure is located in the cloud: combining on- premises solutions with components in the cloud is a common method. The Cloud Backup from Acronis still keeps all the components perfectly safe. You can also use the Acronis Cloud Backup for IT systems that are not located in the Compute Engine.

Ease-of-use is the biggest benefit: the button to access the Acronis Backup Console is conveniently found on the DCD interface. That’s where you go to define which backup methods should be used for the individual servers or VMs. It makes your life easier if you want to migrate all or part of your ‘real’ hardware system to the cloud later on: access to the Acronis Backup Console is always located in the same place, no matter how much your system changes over time.

Acronis starts by performing a full backup and then switches to the incremental method to save any changes. The backup can be restored at the push of a button if disaster strikes at a later date.


Backup and disaster recovery strategies are effective ways to prepare for serious incidents

Being well prepared for any eventuality helps to keep the economic or even existential risk to the company as low as possible. A disaster recovery plan influences which method you choose to back up your company’s data so that it can be restored as smoothly as possible – in the interests of your image and business continuity.

Acronis Cloud Backup in the Compute Engine gives you a powerful tool to back up each component in your IT system as best suits your needs: no matter which operating system you use, regardless of where the individual elements of your IT system are physically located.


Do not forget to document your disaster recovery plan!

Detailed documentation that meticulously describes how best to proceed in emergency situations is an integral part of any disaster recovery plan. Aspects such as the general organisation of your infrastructure – whether on-premises or in the cloud – needs to be documented precisely. When errors occur, a step-by-step guide to restoring services and all necessary configurations (such as IP addresses, DNS configurations, firewalls and routing) makes things less stressful for your employees and prevents them from making mistakes. You should also define the sequence in which systems should be put back into operation so that your restart proceeds as smoothly as possible.