What you will learn from this tip: How to prioritize your backup data for effective disaster recovery (DR) planning.

It doesn't matter what how big or small your organization is; determining the most critical information to be included in backups is step one for DR

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planning. Regardless of what type of OS and network architecture make up an IT environment, the most critical information to be included in backups will always be your business critical application data.

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Beyond that, any information (or data) that cannot easily be recreated should be included in the backups. For example, many question the practice of backing up OS binaries since an OS can be reinstalled just as easily as it can be restored. Besides, you typically need an OS before you can restore anything (including the OS itself). However, any hardware, software or network configuration information should be backed up in some fashion if recreating it requires a lot of time and effort.

The order of priority for information backup after business critical data would be: The backup server configuration information (including the media catalog) since this will likely be the first thing you would restore following a disaster. Then, network configuration, assuming you will be restoring over the network and finally, configuration information based on system criticality.

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About the author: Pierre Dorion is a certified business continuity professional for Mainland Information Systems Inc.

This was first published in September 2005

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