Some businesses rely on onsite backups, whether in the form of external hard drives or perhaps tape or storage media such as DVDs or DVD-RAM, all of which are subject to failure. Hard drives typically have a life span of three to five years and even high-grade disc-based media is easily damaged by careless handling or incorrect storage (near a magnetic source, for example).
Legislation and E-health Driving Change
With the introduction of electronic medical records and legislation on data privacy, businesses are legally obligated to secure their clients billing, medical and personally identifiable information (PII). Many companies have a disaster recovery plan that includes an offsite data backup solution. For convenience, this primarily takes place in the cloud, as the process of storing onsite backups in a fireproof safe or manually transporting backups to another location is widely considered obsolete.
Whether your business network is on-premise only, already in the cloud or a mix of the two (typically known as hybrid IT), business continuity is the aim and most organisations seek to include a solution that allows staff to continue working, even if the power or broadband service is down. When your business processes are in the cloud, restoring from backups is easy and business continuity is assured. Likely, your clients will not even know that there is a problem with your on-premise network as normal service is uninterrupted. Cloud service providers have several redundancy options in place so cloud services are rarely impacted by hardware failure.
Moving to the Cloud
If your business does not have an automated backup solution in place, it is certainly worth considering, as onsite hardware failure can jeopardise your business’s reputation, even if just a few hour’s data is lost. When a hard drive fails, specialist recovery is possible but is expensive and requires specialist knowledge and equipment. When data protection is the aim, an automated and real-time backup offsite is the only failsafe solution and use of the cloud ensures local disasters (whether hardware, fire or water damage, or extreme weather conditions) have no impact on your business data.
Cloud Provider Selection
All cloud providers are not created equal and like any other industry, service quality varies as does administration access. Ideally, your cloud service provider understands healthcare processes and the importance of immediate access to data in a clinical environment. Professionals in this area will offer a customised solution to fulfil all your backup and restoration requirements. This solution should include but is not limited to:
Onsite analysis of your existing broadband solution—Your broadband may well be adequate for general business use but when backup schedules are involved (even if daily backups are scheduled outside business hours, you cannot afford to miss a backup due to broadband outage. Possible service provider recommendations could include an additional broadband connection, dedicated line or provision of a router that offers a 4G SIM redundancy option.
Backup method and process—The way you backup can determine the success of the solution. The speed of the process is determined by the speed of the broadband connection.
Data Storage—Data must be stored in a location that complies with state laws. For example, selecting a provider with U.S. servers is not compliant.
Remote access—Can the backup be performed remotely if needed? Can the resulting backup be accessed and verified remotely?
Auditing—Once a backup is performed, it needs to be verified as good. Many companies have found that unchecked backups are corrupt, failing when they need them the most.
Exit Clauses—Every customer has a right to change service providers if they wish. Verify that your potential providers offer the facility to migrate your data to a new provider easily and that it is very clear who own the data involved.
Disaster Recovery Plan
Auditing and indeed backups themselves are a key part of any disaster recovery plan. To ensure business continuity and comply with governing regulations and industry standards, healthcare organisations are responsible for the storage, backup and security of their data.
Fortunately, cloud service providers are held to a higher standard than typical businesses and their infrastructure must incorporate redundancy options, security and backup processes that are very costly for smaller companies to implement.
In conclusion, from a cost perspective, it makes sense for healthcare organisations to use the cloud for backup, storage and security. In doing so, business owners can relax, secure in the knowledge that real-time automated backups of all data are carried out in a secure manner. All that is really needed to ensure business continuity in a cloud environment is remote access using an internet-enabled device. AND ensuring the internet is present is easily achieved by adding an on-premise router to the network, with redundant connections to a 4G mobile network. If you haven’t already, can your business afford not to automate data backups in the cloud?