Backup items in a business continuity and disaster recovery plan

This article describes the Backup items in a business continuity and disaster recovery plan.

What is a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan?

A business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan is a document which describes how a company or organization will continue to operate during and after an unplanned disruption in service. The business continuity plan should include procedures for handling all types of disruptions, including natural disasters, cyberattacks, and other emergencies. The goal of a BCDR plan is to minimize downtime and ensure that critical business functions can continue to operate. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity planning. Disaster recovery plans involve restoring vital support systems. Those systems are mostly communications, hardware, and IT assets.

Backup items in a business continuity and disaster recovery plan

The following backup items should be included in your BCDR plan document. Depending your infrastructure architecture and BCDR requirements, you may need to exclude some of the items below.

  • Physical machines bare metal backup (workstations and servers, including hypervisor hosts)
  • Virtual machines backup
  • Application containers backup
  • Structured data backup, including SQL databases
  • Semi-structured data backup, including no-SQL databases
  • Unstructured data backup, including files in file-based (SMB, CIFS, NFS), object-based (S3 and S3-compatible) and block-based storage (iSCSI, FCoE).
  • Cloud workloads backup, including the following
    • SaaS, for example Microsoft 365 services, such as Exchange Online mailboxes, Sharepoint Online sites and OneDrive for Business files.
    • PaaS, for example Azure App Service web sites and function apps.
    • IaaS, for example Azure virtual machines and Azure AKS kubernetes clusters.
  • Configuration backups, including the following items:
    • Hardware appliance configuration backup and firmware setup, including storage appliances (NAS, SAN), managed switch appliances, firewall and router appliances and server hardware firmware (BIOS, UEFI).
    • System software configuration backup, including operating system configuration for networking, storage, security and encryption (e.g. Bitlocker keys) and applications.
    • Application software configuration backup, including hypervisor clusters, application server clusters and other enterprise-class application architectures.
    • Cloud infrastructure configuration backups. These can be achieved in the form of Infrastructure As Code (IaC) templates. Examples of IaC templates are ARM and Bicep templates for Microsoft Azure, AWS Cloud Formation, Terraform, Ansible, Chef and Puppet. Also custom scripts in Powershell for Windows and Python or Bash for Linux can achieve taking cloud infrastructure configuration backups.
  • Secrets backups, including the following items:
    • Passwords
    • TLS certificates
    • Application keys
    • Connection strings

The purpose of all above backups is to work in accordance with the BCDR plan document, to rebuild an infrastructure in its entirety or in part, in case of a disaster.