Tips for Self-Served File Restorations

By CIOReview | Friday, August 26, 2016

If enterprise data can be described in one word then it would be ‘sporadic’. This is why backup and restoration solutions play a major role in enterprise data protection by covering full range of data sources, storage media, file types, and backup models–from streaming to snapshots.

However, one would never know when individuals will want to recover damaged, lost or accidentally deleted files. Enterprises need to ensure a level of self-service restoration in the organizations ecosystem. This will help improve user productivity and boost help-desk efficiency.

Lately, self-service restorations have begun to serve a good purpose for various backup applications. End users can recover data at will by excluding the help desk in the process and avoiding a scenario where they have to wait for the help desk to respond. This works well for the help desk too, since they are no longer flooded with file restoration requests.

Interestingly, every backup vendor has a unique approach to self service restoration. No matter how reliable self-service restorations are, it is still important to abide by few practices that make the process fool-proof before allowing users to recover their data.

Delimit User Operation

One of the most vital pieces of self service restoration is to spend some time in the process to determine who should be permitted to restore what. For instance, some enterprises set service capabilities to specific or power users whereas other organizations authorize basic restoration permissions to everyone. Subsequent to these decisions, enterprises need to contrive how their backup software can implement their designed permissions model. Backup products range from a basic mold to a more stark permissions model. The enterprise then needs to decide the kind of data that can be allowed to restore by the users. Many backup applications that provide self-service recovery capabilities permits users to recover file data; however, there exists other backup applications that allow individuals to recover virtual machines, executable files, and other sort of data. Based on the level of risk the recovery operation showcases, enterprises should assign types of self service recovery accordingly. For instance, enterprises might consider recovering of an excel sheet as a low risk task, on the other hand they might set administrative review or assign permissions to specific users before permitting recovery of a virtual machine.

Data ownership is another aspect that enterprises should look upon. It is a misconception that self service recovery systems are instrumented to let individuals recover personally created files only. Backup applications have evolved over time, and currently there are backup applications that allow authorized end users to recover files that don’t belong to them. In such scenarios, enterprises need to determine to different contexts under which users should be allowed to recover other people’s data. They can allow users to recover files which are created by them and also allow supervisors to recover data for users in their department. However, when enterprises authorize power users like supervisors to recover other user’s data, they need to delimit the level of access of the user who is performing recovery on the data. Enterprises also need to look upon considerations like the type of storage devices used to recover and permissions to open the recovered files. There exist few backup applications that let delegated users to recover data but to their original location which means that they can’t open the file unless they have the user’s permission to access and alter the data.

Backup Documentation

Enterprises can provide users with legit documentation or a guide for the process of self recovery operation. Since not all backup interfaces are easy to follow and operate, users might need some guidance to operate the software to conduct a recovery process, especially if users are not acquainted to  performing recoveries, or if the backup console consists of intricate processes.

Some organizations provide documentation by storing PDF files containing instructions inside a shared drive or SharePoint document library. There are myriad ways to deliver users with documentation, ranging from tutorial videos to a simple PNG image.

Thoughts on Shared Data

Self service recovery on shared data is a disputed subject. Enterprises need to be careful while making decisions on whether users should be allowed self service recovery on shared data. Imagine that all the employees in a department share the same folder containing data related to a certain project. If an individual randomly executes a self service recovery on a file within that folder, it might affect all other users in the same department. In such cases, the enterprise can allow self service recovery to be carried out by a department supervisor or disable self service recovery entirely.

Self service recovery definitely has many upshots for organizations but if it is carried out in a sloppy fashion, it can cause trouble instead of aid. Hence, it important to adopt various measures such as the permissions model to ensure that self service recovery serves your organizations needs.