When thinking about your strategy around backups, recovery, availability, and business continuity, one part of the plan tends to fall by the wayside: backup retention. We focus so much on things like recovery objectives, SLAs, and tiers of data, that our thinking revolves around the need to potentially recover the backup that we just made a matter of minutes afterwards.
But there are data sets that need to be available weeks, months—even years—after they are made. And, while, your backup certainly doesn’t replace an archive (in the case of email), it does serve as a means to retain easily accessible data for extended periods of time.
There are a few initial considerations in the mix when you begin down the path of establishing retention policies.
The outcome of all these considerations is a list of identified data sets—each with their own retention periods—that now need to be protected.
Most backup solutions have an ability to retain specific backups with the simple check of a box. The challenge here is that you must look at your current backup strategy, identifying whether you need to modify it to align with your retention strategy in two ways:
Keep in mind that not all data identified for retention will have the same backup retention policy. Retention duration and backup frequency may differ from set to set. The important work will be done in identifying what’s going to be needed by the organization years from now, and planning your backup strategy to facilitate a smooth and full recovery when the time comes.
Nick Cavalancia has over 20 years of enterprise IT experience and is an accomplished executive, consultant, trainer, speaker, and columnist. He has authored, co-authored and contributed to over a dozen books on Windows, Active Directory, Exchange and other Microsoft technologies. Nick has also held executive positions at ScriptLogic, SpectorSoft and Netwrix and now focuses on the evangelism of technology solutions.
Follow Nick on Twitter® at @nickcavalancia
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