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File Sharing Gone Wrong: What You Need to Know About Disaster Recovery
Martin Horan

By: Martin Horan on September 12th, 2018

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File Sharing Gone Wrong: What You Need to Know About Disaster Recovery

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Have you ever accidentally deleted an important file? Maybe the power went out right as you were about to save something. When it came back on, all your hard work was lost. On a personal level, lost data is a nuisance. On a company-wide scale, lost data can be a huge problem.

Disaster recover is an important file sharing solution feature that is easy to overlook. You might be more worried about solution price and data security, forgetting to ask about disaster recovery in your selection process. However, disaster recovery plays a vital role in maintaining productive operations, with your backups essentially working as an insurance policy against lost data.

In this article, we’ll explore why disaster recovery actually matters, some common types of disasters you could face, and how you can mitigate the risks of lost data.

 

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Why Does Disaster Recovery Matter?

Disaster recovery is more than just a glorified trash bin for accidentally deleted files. It can play a crucial role in preserving operation continuity for your business. Downtime related to a disaster impacts your productivity, and ultimately your bottom line.

Think about the amount of work your team has done today, or even this week. Now, imagine if all that work instantly vanished. You would be out a week of productivity and in for a big headache. Disaster recovery means that you can get back any work that’s lost, so no files are truly gone.

How does disaster recovery work? If you’re using a cloud file sharing server, be sure that your FTP host offers disaster recovery capabilities. With daily incremental backups, all of your current data is stored in a server separate from your primary server. If a disaster happens – like some of the ones we’ll explore below – your FTP host can restore backed up data, so you’re back to regular operations in no time.

When it comes to disaster recovery, there are two key objectives you should talk to your FTP host about:

  • Recovery Time Objective – This refers to how long it takes to restore your data and put your FTP server back in working order. For FTP Today, our plan is to give you an operational FTP server within 48 hours and to recover all your data from the latest backup as fast as technology permits.
  • Recovery Point Objective – Recovery point objective is how old the data is that you’re able to recover. For FTP Today, recovered data is usually less than 24 hours old, but it can much less, since we perform incremental backups of your data every 4 hours. You want your data backup to be as similar to the moment the disaster occurred as possible.

One important aspect of disaster recovery you should talk to your FTP host about is the location of the backup server. Many people make the mistake of backing up their data to a separate server that’s housed in the same location as their primary server. If both servers are in the same location, a disaster that impacts one – like a power outage – could definitely impact the other.

Also, if you’re using a cloud-based SFTP server, make sure that it’s a high-availability solution. This means that the FTP host uses multiple servers, so you’re quickly redirected if one goes down, minimizing the amount of time you have to wait for your solution to be up and running again.

Now that you know a little bit more about disaster recovery, let’s look at a few examples of how disaster recovery can happen.

 

Human Error

Unfortunately, human error is one of the most common causes of data loss or disasters that can cause a server outage. Whether someone accidentally clicks a “delete all” button, or a clumsy employee spills their coffee on your equipment, your employees can be a huge cause of IT disaster.

Even top companies aren’t immune to human error disasters. Amazon had a widespread outage of their AWS servers in 2017, causing a massive number of websites to go down. In the end, the outage was blamed on human error. Employees took more server than intended offline.

In every business, accidents do happen. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to avoid human error-related disasters. First, you can educate your employees on best practices. When they have an in-depth understanding of how to use your file sharing solution, they’re less likely to make those big mistakes. Also, having a cloud-based server removes some of the risk of human error disasters. A cloud file sharing solution is hosted from another location, so employees don’t have an opportunity to knock the server over or accidentally unplug it.

 

Mother Nature

Sometimes, the power just goes out! Mother nature is unpredictable, and while a huge flood is less common than human error, a simple power outage due to a thunderstorm could take you offline for hours.

If a hurricane, fire, storm, or tornado hits the location where your servers are stored, you want to be sure that you’re able to continue working as soon as possible. And, these natural disasters don’t even need to be huge, newsworthy events. They could be as simple as a raccoon chewing through a power line. It might seem ludicrous, but there’s no predicting what could happen.

This emphasizes how important it is to have your primary and backup servers housed in two different locations. If a major hurricane hits the location of your primary server, it’s sure to impact your back up with the same potential for flooding and power outages.

 

Hackers

A major data breach could potentially cause your system to crash. If one of your employees opens a phishing email, a hacker could easily infiltrate your system. And today, hackers are using methods like ransomware to hold your system hostage. In this scenario, a hacker could break into your solution and demand that you pay a ransom to regain control over your data.

It doesn’t even have to be a hacker in some clandestine, remote location. A disgruntled ex-employee could do some major damage before they leave your company, deleting or corrupting numerous files.

When you partner with the right FTP provider who offers an expert disaster recovery process, they can simply restore your solution, rendering the hacker’s threats or employees’ nefarious activities useless. And if you partner with a provider that offers unparalleled security measures, the threat of a data breach is minimized anyway.

 

Dated Backups

If you have a data backup plan, you’re on the right track. But many companies fail to regularly check that their backups are actually working. Using dated backups is about as helpful as having no backups at all. You need to be sure that when disaster recovery is essential, your backup process is reliable.

Ultimately, working with a top FTP host ensures that you data backups won’t fail you. These hosts are expert in file sharing solutions, and they regularly review, test, and update the solutions they provide. This takes the burden off you, and you can trust that if you need to recover data, the process will be quick and expertly handled.

Disaster recovery is essential for any company that values its data, and you never want to lose productivity due to the unexpected. So, evaluate your current file sharing process for the role that disaster recovery plays. If your disaster recovery is ineffective or nonexistent, it’s time to find a new FTP solution.

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About Martin Horan

Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.