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When i ask people about their backup, data retention and disaster recovery policies, most people fall into one of three groups.
The first group responds by telling me about how often they do fulls and incrementals,
Only the third group is sophisticated enough to ask me what I mean: Am I referring to backup or archive? Which service level am I referring to? And so on.
The first two groups are guilty of focusing on the mechanics of their backup environment--dealing primarily with operational concerns, such as tape management. They share two common attributes:
- All data is essentially treated the same. There's little consideration given to the value of data to the organization or to customer requirements for service levels.
- Only the minimal number of policy attributes has been taken into account. Other backup policy dimensions have largely been ignored.
In contrast, the third group is more likely to be addressing business needs. They consider a variety of policy attributes. They have classified data and developed policies that are appropriate to each level of classification. They have formal service level agreements (SLAs) between the IT organization and its users. This is the direction toward which many organizations would like to head.
If the first two scenarios remind you of your organization, here are a few things that you can do to begin to evolve to a model more like that of the third group.
This was first published in July 2003