Determining your organization's critical data

Data protection is more than just making a backup of your data -- you have to be sure that you have copies of necessary data available to restore critical business functions as soon as possible after a disaster event. In this Storage Decisions video, Jon Toigo of Toigo Partners International discusses the steps IT pros need to take to ensure they capture all of their organization's critical data.

"Generally, we have to do a little research to find the data that's associated with the business process. You find the business process, you find the application that supports the business process and you look for the data that supports that application," Toigo said.

He said that administrators need to know what kind of data has to be protected, where it is located and the best approach to protect that data.

"You'd be surprised how often people have no clue what data needs to be protected. Generally, the client doesn't understand what data belongs to which business process. The data, just looking at it, tells you nothing about what its protection requirements are," Toigo said.

Toigo said one issue is identifying the physical location of where data is stored and what kind of infrastructure is used to support it. He said bringing in senior management early on can help identify which applications -- and as a result, which data -- needs to be protected.

"You proceed from there to define what data is associated with the applications that support that business process. That data is critical because that business process is critical," he said.

As an example, Toigo noted that data protection for an application like Microsoft Outlook involves more than just the mailbox. It also includes the mailbox configuration settings, valid mailbox databases and other data.

"There's a lot more stuff than just the mailboxes that are required to restore that application. And part of your job is to find all that and figure out a way to back up not just the mailboxes, but to back up all the necessary ingredients," he said.

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