It may be easy to believe and even to be convinced, that with the use of solid Enterprise applications such as those offered by SAP, that process control may be optimized to the point where other essential services such back-up can be minimized. This may be further from the truth than imagined. Data backup is critical to the survival of any business, as it offers the most efficient method of restoring what is one of the most valued assets, in the event of loss.
Unfortunately, SAP cannot offer backup solutions or recommendations, as these are alway individually tailored to suit business situations and are influenced by several factors that include the budget, allowable period for restoration, the amount of loss that can be tolerated, and even the implementation of the backup strategy, or operational environment. Third party backup tools and utilities are often useful as they contain several sophisticated features that can reduce resources and the back-up periods. However, even the most sophisticated tools, can be a waste if they are not used properly, and that involves the development of a suitable strategy.
One of the highly recommended strategies, is known as the 3-2-1 strategy, which means generating three copies of data. Two copies are local, one being on an external machine that may be dedicated for storage for easy retrieval, the other copy is also local, and may remain operational and can be uploaded to facilities such as online storage, and another copy is stored offsite. The three copies should ultimately be on different media. The onsite backup offers a fast and easy way to restore data in the event of local data loss, but the key is to have copies offsite or perhaps in the cloud, in case of extensive physical losses, such as destruction damage or theft. The 3-2-1 strategy may not be a perfect solution, but the approach can be an excellent start for the smaller businesses.
Because of increasingly easier access and reduced costs, cloud storage is available to everyone with an Internet connection. However, despite the growing use of cloud storage, a plan or strategy for remote cloud backup is also needed.
Three predominant types of backup for SAP are applicable, and the choice may be based on resources and quantity and types of data.
Engaging the full SAP backup, partial SAP backup or incremental SAP backup may depend on resources, but it is worthwhile to recall that backup services should be automated. There are also a few disadvantages that can be with seen the use of cloud backup services, with security being the biggest concern, and there also can be concerns with internal backup. An additional option is to ensure that all back-up data is encrypted.
A full SAP backup is more time-consuming, and uses more storage space, but it may be required in some situations, such as in the legal field or sometimes in the health-care industries, where detailed retention of documentation may be a legal requirement, and it makes complete sense to to a full-backup.
The incremental SAP backup, will only backup the new files, or the files that changed since the last backup. This option is faster than a full-backup, and needs less storage space, however there may be some disadvantages when it comes to restoration. The differential SAP backup will backup the files that have been changed or newly created files since the last full backup. Developing a perfect backup strategy may not be an easy task, because of the many variables and options available, and the choice will depend on the type of your business, and the resources that are available. These must also take into consideration, the risks that can be taken.
There are few rules that can be followed to ensure that the most suitable strategy is examined, and with the knowledge, there is some confidence in the realization that the backup plan for SAP can evolve as the business expands.
The plan should be in writing detailing what data is being back up, where is the backup located. Even more important is the backup period. Details should also include the names of those who perform the backups, and even those who monitor the success of the SAP backups. For reasons of security, there may also may be some differentiation between those who are allowed access to the backup files. In some industries, mandates are being developed as part of standards for regulation, and it is equally important to appreciate that backups must also be tested.