Knowledge base

Backup and Disaster Recovery

A. Backup is the process of taking a copy of your IT systems, data and/or configuration to a separate location or instance for recovery and compliance retention. Backups are typically classed in one of two ways, hot or cold. A cold backup is an offline copy that can be used for recovery but must be manually acted upon. This is typically lower cost with a higher time to recover. A hot backup is an online copy that can be used for live failover and recovery. This typically higher cost with a lower time to recover.

A. Disaster Recovery is the end-to-end process of what you do at the point of identifying a disaster to the point of recovering from that disaster. In the context of backup, this includes scoping what you back up, where it backs up to and how quickly you can restore from that backup in the event of a disaster. Planet IT are on hand to assist you in scoping your Disaster Recovery plan.

A. “Production” refers to your live environment that is used by your business daily. “Recovery” refers to the cold site or storage in place to recover your “Production” environment in the event of a disaster. “Failover” refers to the hot site or storage in place to bring online and use in place of the “Production” environment whilst it is being recovered.

A. Replication is the process of mirroring your IT systems in a backup to another location. The replications can be used to bring your systems back online in a much smaller time frame than recovering from conventional backup or archive.

A. RTO and RPO stand for your Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective respectively. These objectives are typically integrated as part of a disaster recovery plan and the specify the amount of time you can afford to be without a production environment and how far back you can afford to restore from in the event of a disaster.

RPO limits how far to roll back in time and defines the maximum allowable amount of lost data measured in time from a failure occurrence to the last valid backup.
RTO is related to downtime and represents how long it takes to restore from the incident until normal operations are available to users

A. Backing up your data to another physical location is known as an off-site backup. This can be both hot and cold but must require a change in physical location from the production environment. This is designed to safeguard against a physical disasters such as fire, flood, extreme weather or power failure. Without an off-site backup, should your Production and Recovery environments become compromised, you run the risk of total data loss.

A. Live Failover is a form of “Hot” backup wherein your systems utilise “Replication” technology to automatically use your Recovery environment should your Production environment fail. This form of failover drastically reduces both your RTO and RPO.

A. A bottleneck refers to the slowest or least efficient point in your Backup & Disaster Recovery environment. This could relate to transfer speeds, storage capacities or processing resources. Planet IT identify and monitor potential bottlenecks in your strategy and network to ensure you are running at peak efficiency with your chosen Backup & Disaster Recovery plan.

A. Public Cloud refers to the rental of cloud resources from a third party such as Microsoft Azure/Office 365 or Amazon Web Services. These resources are pooled into a shared resource platform on the providers infrastructure and is typically separated logically but not physically. Private Cloud refers to the rental of space in a cloud host or datacentre where you either provide or rent/purchase separate physical equipment which is then made “cloud” available. The biggest differences are the responsibility of management and data storage. Please refer to the links below for more information on Planet IT’s cloud partners.

Microsoft Azure – What is a Public Cloud?
Microsoft Azure – What is a Private Cloud?
Amazon Web Services – What is AWS?
Amazon Web Services – What is AWS Virtual Private Cloud?

A. AES stands for “Advanced Encryption Standard” and can be used to safeguard your backup data from point of creation to point of recovery. In its most basic form, encryption takes your data and masks it with a private key so that it cannot be tampered with. Whilst encrypted, your data is functionally useless to anyone without the means to decrypt it and is therefore much safer. The 256-bit portion of the encryption refers to the key length that is used to encrypt the file(s) and typically, the longer the key, the more secure it is. In it’s current form, 256-bit is the longest key length available in AES encryption.

Voice and Connectivity

A. Stands for ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. ADSL transforms the existing twisted copper pairs between the telephone exchange and the telephone socket into a high-speed digital line, allowing Broadband access. ADSL delivers fast download speeds but slow upload speed.

A. Historically, Voice & Data networks were kept separate however changes in technology have meant that many businesses now run both voice and data over the same LAN, thereby causing them to ‘converge’. Cost savings are one benefit of Convergence but far more importantly there are significant productivity and efficiency gains to be achieved. VOIP, IP Telephony, Unified Messaging, Remote Working etc all come under the ‘Convergence’ umbrella.

A. Dedicated private internet access circuit – provides secure, fast and un-contended internet access.

A. This is a generic term for any broadband service that uses fibre optic cable, in place of traditional copper wiring, to connect a telephone exchange to the ‘green cabinets’ in the surrounding roads. This means that copper wires are only used in the last few hundred metres between a green cabinet and a customer’s premises. Unlike copper, fibre does not suffer from signal loss over distance and so provides much faster download and upload bandwidth speeds.

A. Provided in pairs i.e. 2 channels/lines per ISDN2e. A maximum of 4 pairs is a rule of thumb before moving up to ISDN30.

A. Provided over one large circuit (bearer/pipe) either as copper or in many cases fibre optic. The minimum number of channels/lines one can have is 8 moving up to 30. Larger organisations can rent multiple ISDN30’s should they require more concurrent calls.

A. ‘Public Switched Telephone Network’. This is the standard telephone service provided over basic analogue phone lines.

A. Stands for ‘Session Initiation Protocol’. It is essentially a communications protocol used to set up and clear down sessions with one or more users over the internet.  Can be used in a multitude of scenarios, but most common is in the initiation and termination of Voice over IP calls.

A. Enables you to access voice, fax, and text messages via one single email or telephone account.

A. An IP based phone system that is “Hosted” in a data centre. Customer sites connect to the hosted phone system via an internet connection. The phone system is held within a data centre and the on-site equipment is controlled by the central system. Customer communication profiles are configured via a simple web-based browser and individual users can control their own phone profile from any internet connection, with ease. Hosted Telephony is particularly beneficial for companies with two or more sites and can be used internationally.

Security

A: Ransomware, is a family of malware that locks the computer screen or encrypts the files. The recent types of ransomware called crypto-ransomware, ask the users to pay a certain amount to get an unlock key.

A: Yes! It’s recommended that this is done at least twice a year. Why? – It simulates a cyber attack against your company, and shows where the exploitable vulnerabilities are for your organisation. This gives you the chance to fix them before the bad guys find them.

A: No, not the meat you get in a can. Spam, an annoyance, or malicious. This is one of the biggest risks to a company. Spam is unsolicited e-mail sent to multiple people. Normally the carrier of links to click on, and aiming to deliver malware to a company. Or phishing for key information.

A: A broader term covering all types of viruses, or malicious software.

A: Normally an e-mail attack pretending to be from someone legitimate, but in fact malicious in nature, and quite often used to deliver malware, or collect data.

A: Software which infiltrates a PC and often collects personal data. It can also damage the system without user knowledge

A: Software which works with all the applications on your computer and stops viruses from being able to infect your computer/servers.

A: The telephone equivalent to phishing.

A: Where a system(s) is flooded with traffic which targets the bandwidth or resources usually causing a system(s) crash.

A: Several Internet-connected devices. They can be used to perform distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack), steal data, send spam, and allows the attacker to access the device and its connection.

A: Exploits take advantage of weaknesses in legitimate software. These can then be used for malicious purposes. This is one of the main reasons you should always patch!

A: A continual trial and error attack. For example, submitting multiple passwords until the correct one is guessed.

A: Any method used by the attacker which gains access around the normal security measures in place.

A: This is a network connected device which lures cyberattackers to detect, deflect and study hacking attempts.

A: A newly discovered vulnerability that was previously unknown by the software vendor.

A: The process of ensuring your systems software has the latest updates installed.

A: Malware normally disguised as legitimate software. Users are usually tricked into using the infected software by a form of social engineering

A: Mechanisms in place which stop software from being amended/changed. For example tamper protection is often present with anti-virus software to stop the removal of the product.

A: When two parties are communicating the “man-in-the-middle” changes the communication without either party’s knowledge. Or, the communication can be eavesdropped without change to the communication.

A: Where two methods of authentication are set-up for access to a system. For example, a username and password, and text message with pin code.

A: Any act which influences a person to take action that may not be in their best interests

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