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Balancing Data Protection and System Recovery

May 27, 2008


This article looks at what small and midsize businesses need to do to rapidly and confidently back up and recover vital data and systems.


No matter how up-to-date your desktops and servers are, data loss and system crashes are inevitable. And no matter what the cause, when vital business information isn't available, every minute down costs you money. That's why you need to have a data protection and system recovery strategy that gets you back up and running within minutes, not hours or days.
This article looks at what small and midsize businesses need to do to rapidly and confidently back up and recover vital data and systems.

The data explosion

Every business has unique information protection and disaster recovery challenges. But organizations of all sizes face the same issues when it comes to keeping their data protected and available.
For one thing, consider the growth of corporate data. By numerous accounts, the amount of data that needs to be protected is growing at a rate of 50% per year. For small and midsize businesses, the challenge of backing up this data and recovering it quickly is proving more onerous than ever.
At the same time, Microsoft Exchange has become a mission-critical application for many companies. Today, various reports estimate that the majority of a typical company's intellectual property is contained in email. It's not surprising, then, that keeping this application highly available and protecting the associated data is not an option, but a critical necessity.
The objective of traditional backups is to minimize the downtime of the messaging environment while providing the fastest possible data recovery in the event of a system crash, database corruption, loss of a mailbox, or other data loss. This is primarily accomplished through full or incremental online backups of the Exchange databases. But as data volumes grow, so does the backup window, which leaves a company at risk of data loss. Also, if organizations need to restore individual email messages or mailboxes, a separate Exchange mailbox backup is required to restore an individual item without recovering the entire Exchange database, which is twice the backup time and twice the storage space.
Symantec Backup Exec for Windows Small Business Server eliminates the need to run daily full or incremental Exchange backups with continuous data protection, which backs up data continuously as it changes, eliminating the backup window. It also eliminates the need to run slow Exchange mailbox backups while still allowing the recovery of individual email messages, folders, and mailboxes through Granular Recovery Technology (GRT). As a result, not only can Exchange be continuously backed up while online, but individual messages and mailboxes can be recovered in seconds.

The importance of rapid system recovery

When organizations think of backup and recovery, it's usually about protecting information residing on a server. It's important to remember, however, that both data and system information are at stake. Too often, so much importance is put on protecting the data that the system is overlooked. But if the system isn't operable, the chances of accessing the data are slim. When a server operating system fails, it can take hours (days, in some instances) to rebuild and restore the server.
There's also the matter of having to replace the server hardware. Most small and midsize organizations can't afford the luxury of maintaining extra server hardware in case they need to replace an existing system. This introduces the issue of restoring a system to different hardware, while trying to preserve the integrity of the system state and the availability of the data.
Today, all systems – from servers to desktops to laptops – must be quickly recoverable, whether it's to the exact same hardware or to completely dissimilar hardware.
Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery Windows Small Business Server Edition allows businesses to recover from system loss or disasters in minutes—even to dissimilar hardware platforms, virtual environments, or in remote, unattended locations. Backup Exec System Recovery – a complementary, standalone solution to Backup Exec for Windows Small Business Server – captures a recovery point of the entire live Windows system without impacting productivity. When systems fail, you can quickly restore them without the need for lengthy manual processes.

ThreatCon integration

Symantec Backup Exec and Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery are now integrated with Symantec's recently updated ThreatCon global security alerting system. The Symantec ThreatCon is an interactive tool that alerts users to the current state of global Internet security. (The current ThreatCon level is displayed on www.symantec.com.) A free service, it provides users with information that can help protect them against a wide range of vulnerabilities and threats.
The integration of ThreatCon alerts with Backup Exec and Backup Exec System Recovery means that businesses can automatically run a backup when the ThreatCon level reaches or exceeds a specified level. The ability to proactively back up data and systems based on the threat landscape helps ensure businesses can easily restore their environment to the point-in-time before the virus or threat infected their network, thus reducing the overall risk of downtime.


All businesses need their critical data and systems to be protected and available. But given the exponential growth of corporate data, as well as the rapidly escalating cost of system downtime, the challenges facing small and midsize businesses are more acute than ever.
Today's solutions must offer best-of-breed data protection and system recovery. Businesses can't afford to waste valuable time and resources restoring a complete data volume or database when all a user needs is a single file or email message. Likewise, they need assurance that expensive system downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.

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