The Importance of Redundancy: The More the Better

By Lenildo Morais, Project Manager  |  August 01, 2022

Redundancy is important to ensure your systems are always accessible and running smoothly, no matter the situation. But, what exactly does redundancy in your IT infrastructure mean and how do you implement it in your own company?

Now more than ever, companies are looking for ways to increase their cybersecurity to keep their data safe. All sorts of antivirus measures and software are used to keep hackers and malicious people at bay. However, to ensure that all your data is as safe as possible, you should also consider all types of physical threats. After all, all your data is on hard drives, and these can eventually fail. There are also external threats that can disrupt work. One way for a company to deal with these types of threats is to create redundancy.

However, in many cases this is seen as a backup of your data for safety. This is a bit succinct as it involves many other different measures that could one day save your business. The term is not always clear, so we would like to clarify this for you. We'll briefly show you what it means and why it matters to your business.

All in Double

Typically, the definition of redundancy has a negative connotation and refers to material redundancy. In the world of IT, however, redundancy is a little different and comes with a much more positive meaning. Redundancy, also called deduplication, refers to the splitting and duplication of your information technology systems. So you'll copy a certain configuration, so to speak, and keep it as a backup in case of an emergency. If one of the systems goes down, the other just takes over.

A good example of redundancy or deduplication in action can be found in the RAID configuration of your file server. Your data is distributed across hard drives in different ways and is configured to work together. There are different RAID configurations, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. If one of these disks suddenly structurally fails, you will still have access to all files through another disk. So, you don't have to worry about losing any of your precious data. In some cases, this also ensures that you have a backup available in case you fall victim to ransomware, for example.

This is one way to protect yourself from ransomware, but redundancy is not just about protecting your data. It can be applied to many areas of your infrastructure. Complete deduplication of your data is important, but there are also other things you should consider.

What if, for example, a desktop or router breaks down? In many cases, companies have an extra device and the problem is easy to solve. But, what if, for example, your power goes out? That’s nearly impossible to predict and why, in some cases, it is also necessary to include emergency generators in your configuration. They can take over as soon as you run into power problems.

Accessibility

One of the most important points in deduplication is the search for various bottlenecks. These are also known as single points of failure. These are the points in your system where a failure of a particular piece of infrastructure leads to a failure of the entire system. Think of an internet connection that is lost so that no one in your office has access to the cloud, a data server that fails, or your own laptop that fails. These "single points of failure" should be proactively incorporated into your configuration to eliminate potential downtime as much as possible.

For example, you can always get enough spare hardware at home or use multiple servers that work independently of each other. That way, you create redundancy and work around potential problems as they arise.

Access to your data is a priority. After all, an employee or organization that is unable to work because of these types of problems costs money. With multiple employees, these values can quickly increase. In addition, your reputation as a company may also suffer from possible lack of service. That's why it's important to think about it and look for worst-case scenarios and find solutions for them. Obviously, the intention is not to provide an infinite amount of backups for that statistically exceptional case where they all get corrupted. This also involves high costs, so it's worth reviewing and knowing what's within your capabilities.

Double in the Cloud

As a business, you can choose to keep all your data on-premises. If you are planning to deduplicate your systems here, you will soon be faced with some disadvantages of creating redundancy. After all, you need to bend some of its physical components, which comes with a significant price tag (News - Alert). In addition, you also need to provide the space required for this new configuration.

You can easily solve all this by working with an external cloud service. They have the infrastructure needed to quickly and easily duplicate all your data. If one of the servers that contains your data goes down, the second one will simply be turned on immediately. They always keep an eye on your data. This redundancy can even occur at a second location. Some cloud providers use multiple data centers. If you choose to deduplicate your data, it will end up in two different physical locations, so you are assured of access to your data even in the event of natural disasters. In addition, they are equipped with emergency generators that can also take over during power failures.

Cloud services also use the term Availability to indicate accessibility to their servers. This is usually expressed as a percentage that indicates the amount of time per year that the servers are accessible. For data centers, this number should be as high as possible. So keep this in mind when looking for a suitable cloud to select the most affordable service. The more measurements, the less downtime you and your customers experience.

Create Redundancy in Three Steps

Implementing redundancy in your system should be taken very seriously and can be implemented extensively. Fortunately, there are a few basic steps you can start with to solve the biggest problems.

Back-ups – For starters, it's important to always have enough backups of your data. Try to provide them as often as possible so that you can always work with the latest data. Also make sure you test them regularly, because these backups aren't completely foolproof either. Here it is worth working in different ways. After all, it's safe to put your entire data collection in the cloud, but if you also store it in your own location, you're always guaranteed access.

Simplicity – Keep everything within your business as simple as possible. Think about your network setup, but also don't forget about your hardware. The more complexity in your infrastructure, the harder it is to create redundancy or find a solution if something goes wrong.

Preparedness – On your network, consider physical threats to your hardware and data as well as digital issues. Secure access to your servers with a robust port and impenetrable firewall. Hackers are increasingly inventive, and a prepared network can work wonders.

The more the better

Regardless of the size of your business, sooner or later disaster strikes in one of its many forms and you or your customers sometimes run out of data at crucial moments. By building in enough redundancy, however, you are prepared for anything. This always requires a certain amount of work and money, which is not equally desirable for all companies. After all, there is a chance that as a business you will never be affected by problems and therefore make a worthless investment. However, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of sufficient redundancy. At best, one of your employees will not be able to work for several hours. At worst, you actually lose everything, which can be a killing blow. We believe it is worth the investment of time and money, regardless of the size of your business.




Edited by Erik Linask