Recently, we’ve been chatting about all things smart offices. Smart offices are buildings where automation and optimisation are built into their design, by way of systems and devices that simply “make work life easier”. With all this new tech in your office, you need to make sure that backup and disaster recovery are at the forefront of your mind. When systems fail, catch a nasty virus, fall victim to a natural disaster, or even just Terry goes on a tech-killing rampage when the printer refuses to cooperate again, you need to be prepared.
Backup and recovery of your smart office devices, settings, and autonomous flows, needs to be just as important as the backup of your data servers if you want to continue working with the least amount of disruption.
Cloud and hybrid cloud for data, services, and infrastructure
If you haven’t yet switched over to Azure cloud, or at least hybrid-cloud infrastructure in your business, then building up a smart office is a good time to do so. While on-premise data storage, applications, and systems infrastructure have been the traditional business tech model, perhaps with daily offsite backups, this model is approaching the end of its lifespan.
With the power of fast internet now available to many businesses, a cloud-based data, infrastructure, and services model mean that all these elements can be stored, run, and managed off-site. These are then available to use by people with correctly configured accounts, devices, and settings from anywhere with an internet connection.
Instead of having to dial in via a business’s VPN, users can utilise business data from the cloud. With a smart office configuration, this may look like checking all the office lights are off over the holidays, via a smartphone interface.
Key Microsoft Products & Services
In the modern digital landscape, the importance of robust backup and disaster recovery strategies for smart offices cannot be overstated. With the increasing reliance on digital systems and data, businesses must prioritise protecting their critical information from unforeseen events like cyberattacks, natural disasters, or system failures.
Microsoft offers a suite of products and services designed specifically for these needs, ensuring business continuity and data integrity. Here are key Microsoft products and services vital for backup and disaster.
Microsoft Azure Backup
Microsoft Azure Backup is a scalable and secure cloud-based backup solution. It provides data protection across diverse environments, including Azure, on-premises data centers, and hybrid setups.
Automated Backup: Azure Backup offers automated backup schedules, ensuring data is consistently backed up without manual intervention.
Data Encryption: It encrypts data during transit and at rest, providing a high level of security.
Centralized Management: Manage and monitor backup operations from a unified Azure portal.
Geo-Redundancy: Data can be stored in geographically dispersed locations, enhancing disaster recovery capabilities.
Azure Backup is ideal for smart offices that rely on cloud and on-premises data. It ensures that critical business data, including office documents, emails, and application data, is securely backed up and can be quickly restored in case of data loss.
Microsoft 365 Backup
Microsoft 365 Backup redefines the recovery process for OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange Online data. It offers a ground-breaking restore SLA, enabling rapid recovery even for large volumes of data, all within the secure Microsoft 365 environment.
Selective Backup: Choose to back up specific SharePoint sites, OneDrive accounts, and Exchange mailboxes.
Granular and Large-Scale Restore: Restore files, sites, and mailbox items either in detail or at scale to a previous point in time.
Efficient Content Search: Filter and search through backup content using metadata like item names, owners, or event types within specified date ranges.
For businesses with non-Microsoft 365 data or those with preferred partners, Microsoft 365 Backup’s APIs allow integration with partner applications. These applications can provide a unified view for both Microsoft 365 and non-Microsoft 365 data, maintaining the high backup and restore speeds and security assurances of Microsoft.
Microsoft 365 Archive
With the exponential growth in content creation, driven by collaboration and data importation for leveraging Microsoft’s AI services, there arises a need for a more cost-effective solution to store long-term data securely within Microsoft 365.
Archiving in SharePoint
Microsoft 365 Archive introduces a cold data storage tier in SharePoint, allowing for cost-effective storage of inactive or aging data.
In-Place Archiving and Reactivation: Archive or reactivate entire sites within SharePoint without external data migration. File-level archiving is slated for release in the second half of 2024.
Comprehensive Security and Compliance: Retain full access to admin-level search, eDiscovery, DLP, retention policies, and other security functionalities.
De-cluttering and Site Lifecycle Management: Automate site archiving using PowerShell scripts or policies in SharePoint Advanced Management, integrated with workflows for site lifecycle management.
Azure Site Recovery
Azure Site Recovery offers disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). It provides orchestration, replication, and failover capabilities to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster.
Automated Replication: It replicates workloads running on physical and virtual machines.
Flexible Recovery Plans: Customise recovery plans to meet specific business requirements.
Health Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of replication health and integrated recovery plan testing without impacting production environments.
Application Consistency: Ensures consistent recovery of application data through app-consistent snapshots.
For smart offices with critical applications and workloads, Azure Site Recovery ensures minimal downtime and data loss. It’s particularly crucial for maintaining operations during major disruptions, offering seamless failover and failback processes.
Windows Server Backup
Windows Server Backup is a feature in Windows Server for backing up and restoring files and data.
Volume Backup: Backs up entire volumes, system state, and specific files or folders.
Bare-Metal Recovery: Allows recovery of the system state and data to a bare-metal server.
Integration with Azure Backup: Can be integrated with Azure Backup for offsite storage and additional protection.
Windows Server Backup is suitable for smart offices using Windows Server environments. It provides essential backup capabilities for server data, ensuring recoverability in case of server failures or data corruption.
Microsoft Azure Storage Solutions
Azure Storage provides highly available and scalable cloud storage solutions, essential for backup and disaster recovery strategies.
Durable Storage: Offers Blob, File, Queue, and Table storage for various data types.
Redundancy Options: Multiple data redundancy options, including locally redundant storage (LRS) and geo-redundant storage (GRS).
Scalability: Easily scale storage resources according to business needs.
Azure Storage serves as an excellent option for storing backups, and archival data, and for implementing disaster recovery solutions. It accommodates large volumes of data and integrates seamlessly with other Azure services.
Your smart office is growing
At the end of the day, everyone’s smart office is growing, some at a faster pace than others. If all that you have automated in your office at present is your self-opening entryway, then you already have your backup and recovery handy – the key, and perhaps replacing a fuse. However, once you start adding things like automated temperature control, smart room bookings, and smart lighting, you want to ensure that if these systems go down, you can get the information and settings back to their previous state.
Over the next 10 years everyone’s office will start utilising these automation and optimisation systems, so managing them correctly from the beginning is key to a harmonious IT infrastructure. The faster that you realise what needs to be done to reduce the risk of failure across the office, the better prepared you’ll be should you encounter bumps in the road. And as we all know, there is always a bump or two in the road when it comes to IT. But at least with the right measures in place, if a device goes haywire and needs a replacement, it’ll pick up right where its faulty counterpart left off.
A1 Technologies can help with the creation and management of your smart office systems, or other cloud or hybrid cloud infrastructure. It’s our mission to allow businesses to capture the power of advances in automation, optimisation, and decentralisation of IT systems, to get your business running more smoothly, efficiently, and effectively than ever before. Ask us how we can get you up to speed.
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