The recent flooding in South Carolina has brought the issues of disaster recovery back to the minds of many business owners. Disaster recovery it is not a one size fits all scenario. Most businesses have core data and functionality that needs to be back online quickly while other data and functionality may not be critical. When designing a disaster recovery plan it is important to consider data survivability and business continuity as well as insurance.
Data survivability is the process of installing backup systems that will house data inactively while a business works to restore operations. This planning should include an offsite backup to one or more data centers preferably not in the same geographic region as the business. When this type of backup is in place the business data is stored periodically so that it may be retrieved if a physical machine or building is damaged. Companies such as Microsoft or Carbonite are perfect solutions for this kind of backup. The restore process may take a few days or even weeks to complete depending on the size of the data and the speed of the internet where it is being restored, but the data will survive the catastrophe.
Business continuity planning seeks to minimalize the down time of the restore process described above by storing data offsite in a manner that it can be actively used. The goal with business continuity is to reduce down time for active data to a few hours no matter what the disaster. In order to do this a business needs to be running virtual servers in a data center with backup and redundancy so that employees may access the data and work on it inside the hosted environment. The reason a cloud based solution is key is the data centers in which the clouds exist are built to handle power failure, internet outages and natural disaster. This keeps the data safe leaving the business only the need for computers and internet access to remain productive.
The final component to any plan is business interruption insurance. This is basic insurance that can be purchased to insure a business in case their building is damaged to the point that it is inoperable for a period of time. The best case scenario when this happens is a business can continue to function by having employees work remotely accessing the cloud, and the insurance company steps in to rebuild the physical location.
Data survivability and business continuity are the two main components of any disaster recovery plan from an IT standpoint. Every business must consider its needs and requirements as well as tolerance for down time when planning for disasters. Call us for more information or to assist you in developing a data survivability and business continuity plan!