Chris Grossman • Senior Vice President
Enterprise Applications, Rand Secure Data
Like so many other industries, manufacturing has become dependent on digital data and the amount of data being generated has exploded. Design files, simulation data, sales systems, parts and assembly files, and ERP data are only some of the valuable electronically stored information (ESI) demanding gigabytes, even terabytes, of storage.
That’s already a lot of valuable information. But on top of this, many firms now encourage employees to collaborate on projects from remote locations and from multiple devices. File and version management—knowing which design file is the latest and ensuring the right drawing gets to the shop floor—are more complicated than ever.
As a result, many manufacturers are using data management tools like Autodesk Vault to both manage their digital information and enable collaboration. But keeping information up-to-date and readily available to all team members is only part of what must be considered. The growing volume of data stored in Vault must be protected so that it can be restored in the event of unforeseen disaster.
Well-planned backup and disaster recovery plans can, and will, allow business continuity in the face of an accident or other catastrophe.
Backup challenges to consider
When considering backup solutions, there are several common challenges that should be considered to ensure your business is protected from scenarios that are most likely to cause it harm.
Business continuity. When disaster happens, how long can you go without access to your data?
Data diversity. What types of data are you generating that require backup? Beyond the usual servers and email systems, do you also need to accommodate data from mobile devices, remote PCs, various operating systems or virtual machines?
Regulatory compliance. Are you—and your backup solution—mandated to meet security and privacy requirements and other regulatory standards?
Human fallibility. Can you rely on manual, human-initiated backups during work time?
Answering these questions will help narrow your field of options when considering an appropriately robust, sufficiently thorough backup solution.
Restoration: what backup is really about
The key factor to consider in a backup solution, however, is not in how it completes backups, but in how effectively it restores data in an actual crisis. Downtime affects revenue, cash flow, productivity and even compliance. It can only effectively be minimized in the event of emergency if backups support timely and complete data restoration.
According to the 2013 Rand Secure Archive Data Governance Survey, data restoration may be an area of concern for many organizations. Almost all respondents—98% of them—indicated they have a backup solution, but only 25% are extremely satisfied with their solution.
How to make sure your data will be restored
So that you can maintain peace of mind, dependable backup solutions should offer the following features:
Automatic backup. When it comes to backup routines, computers are more dependable than humans. The ability to schedule automatic backups to eliminate any conflicts between CAD managers and IT departments will keep the peace and enable round-the-clock work.
A single backup repository. Too often backups are created at different locations for different machines. Not only does this cause confusion when restoring, but also makes ensuring that backups are performed to meet recovery time objectives more difficult. Backing up all the information from across your enterprise in one place simplifies management as well as recovery and restore.
Restore validation. This feature will allow you to automatically test the recoverability of your data and exercise your data recoverability plan without affecting end users.
Autonomic healing. This functionality continually scans backed-up data and immediately notifies when a corrupted file is encountered.
Proactive checks. This feature automatically flags data health issues and corrects data corruption.
A NIST FIPS 140-2 certified encryption algorithm. This feature ensures you are compliant with regulatory and compliance requirements by encrypting your data in-flight and at-rest.
Agentless architecture. This eliminates the need to install individual agents on each device and machine that needs to be backed up, simplifying setup and operations.
Manufacturing is extremely dependent on electronically stored information, and must be vigilant in protecting crucial digital capital. Backup alone has no value. Unless data can be restored, business continuity after unforeseen events is impossible. Choosing a backup and data recovery solution that is thoughtfully and thoroughly designed and implemented can protect your business from true disaster.
Rand Secure Data