A good business continuity and disaster recovery plan should be
considered essential for organizations of all types. However, data
protection rarely gets proper attention — even though ignoring it can have
serious implications. So, why should you care?
Downtime is Expensive
If your employees or customers do not have access to essential applications
and data, there will be a direct impact on productivity and revenue. While
this sounds obvious, many organizations do not consider the actual costs of
downtime. To better understand the cost of downtime, consider the following
example. Let’s say your business has 100 employees, average hourly revenue
is $1,500 and the backup data set amounts to 2 TB. Given these parameters,
a full restore from a local backup using traditional backup software would
take over 8 hours. The associated downtime cost would amount to $34,000
in lost revenue. Some modern data protection products offer the ability to
run applications from the backup device or in the cloud. This allows users to
continue operations while primary application servers are restored. Choosing a
BCDR solution aimed at reducing downtime makes good business sense.
Backup Alone is Not Enough
You’d be hard pressed to find a business today that doesn’t conduct some
form of data backup. But, what happens if a flood wipes out your primary
and backup servers? Sending a copy of data offsite for disaster recovery
should also be considered essential. Historically, this meant sending
tapes to a secondary location or tape vault. As noted above, modern BCDR
products can run applications from backup instances of virtual servers, and
some can extend this capability to the cloud.
This approach is frequently called cloud DR or disaster recovery as a service
(DRaaS). The ability to run applications in the cloud while onsite infrastructure
is restored is widely considered to be a game changer for disaster recovery.
“Lower-case d” Disasters Not every disaster is a widespread natural
disaster. In fact, most IT downtime is a result of things like accidental (or
intentional) data deletion, damage to computer hardware and poor security
habits. For example, a recent CompTIA study found that 94% of respondents
routinely log into public wifi, in spite of security risks. And, 69% of this group
accesses work-related data over public wifi. A cryptolocker attack or virus
can halt operations just as easily as a burst pipe or a power surge. These
“lower-case d” disasters happen regularly and the associated downtime
costs build over time. Having technology in place that allows your business
to continue operations following these small disasters is equally, if not more,
important than protecting against a hurricane that may or may not occur.
Business Continuity is Everyone’s Concern
Data is essential for all types of organizations today, so ensuring access to
applications and data following a disaster is critical. But it’s just one piece
of the data protection puzzle. Evaluating your business’ ability to restore IT
operations can be a good starting point for company-wide business continuity
efforts. Good business continuity planning should look at the business as a
whole, and the goal should be to develop business resilience. In fact, many
business continuity planning efforts start by conducting a business impact
analysis or risk assessment — these studies can reveal weaknesses in your
business’ ability to continue operations that go far beyond IT.