Disaster may strike when you are least prepared for it. It is true when it comes to natural disasters where people are hurt, displaced or killed because of unpreparedness. The same thing applies to your digital life. As more businesses rely on technology to maintain and grow their business, more and more processes are computerized to make things faster and easier.
However, it has a major flaw. Since technology relies on power/ electricity to function, any power interruption or outage can put a temporary halt to the business and render both machines and files useless for a while until the power returns. It can happen when your town was hit by a major storm and there has been flooding all over the area – even your office was not spared. You may end up with computers soaking in water and files you may never be able to retrieve anymore.
You close your small business for the day and go home. You come back the next morning, and a leak has caved in the roof and it has fallen on your office server. If you don’t have an IT disaster recovery plan, your day is going to get much worse.
According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and its Prepare My Business program, 90 percent of companies fail within a year unless they can resume operations within five days following a disaster.
It is the reason why a business recovery plan is a must for any business to flourish no matter what kind of disaster threatens its existence.
An IT disaster recovery plan is a process put in place for responding to unforeseen events effecting your data with a documented and structured approach and a clear set of instructions. These instructions include a step-by-step plan designed to greatly minimize the impact of any disaster and to allow your business to swiftly resume operations.
The broader terms business continuity or disaster recovery, generally describe a similar concept. They are procedures allowing you to recover from a disaster quickly so you can continue your business with minimal disruption. However, the IT disaster recovery plan refers specifically to data and other IT operations.
The other two descriptions may also apply to procedures providing for things like replacement for damaged equipment or inventory and even additional part-time or full-time help where needed.
It begins by analyzing the business process and the continuity needs of the company. It requires a business impact analysis and risk analysis to establish the recovery time objective and recovery point objective — both important when setting up the plan.
All companies should anticipate for disasters and establish their very own disaster recovery plan to protect important data and files of the company as well as expensive machines and gadgets that are just as difficult to replace with.
Asynchronous vs synchronous. Dark disaster recovery vs. active architecture. Active/active vs. active/passive. No setup is objectively better or worse than another. The best one for you primarily depends on your level of tolerance for what happens when the server goes down.
Security experts say how individual companies choose to save their data in anticipation of an outage depends on how long they can survive before the “lights” are turned back on. What level of availability does your company need? Is the face of your company an ecommerce site where even a few minutes offline can cost an astronomical sum? Will the cost of an active-active system outweigh the potential loss of business from an outage?
“It isn’t about one being more efficient than the other. More to the point of what needs are you trying to solve for. For example, buying a Ferrari to get groceries will get the job done, but is it really fit for purpose?” says Don Foster, senior director of solutions marketing and technical alliances at Commvault.
A company has to take into consideration everything that has to do with the operation of the business when preparing for a disaster recovery plan – whatever the disaster may be. But once you understand what needs to be done and the amount of preparation required, your business will not only survive any disaster but even thrive while others struggle to pick up the broken pieces of their operation.