Fool proofing availability during natural disasters

Rather than anticipating the calamity, business leaders should focus on developing an effective disaster recovery strategy. However, Disaster Recovery (DR) is often considered as an afterthought or planned separately from the core data protection strategy. Business leaders must tap the potential of DR, and should centrally align DR with the overall Availability plan

Natural disasters are rarely predictable and often arrive without a warning. The recent Mumbai floods due to incessant downpour proved that some calamities are beyond human control. While the financial capital of India came to a grinding halt, businesses suffered several losses that are irreversible. Such events of large magnitude put the spotlight on the need for business continuity and the importance of a tested plan to drive Availability for ‘Always-On’ enterprise.

In the digital era, businesses are expected to be available 24.7.365, However, making an assumption that your computing resources will never go down is a sure shot recipe for failure. The hard fact is that disasters do happen! And it is no surprise that some businesses fail to recover and suffer losses that can impact their existence. This leaves organizations with no room for any downtime of data and applications. According to a latest report, the availability gap due to unplanned downtime costs $21.8 million per year to enterprises.

Among the key challenges for availability are the large volumes of data exploding every day and legacy systems that are ill-equipped to address the demands of a modern enterprise. A fool proof Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) should be at the heart of a comprehensive disaster management strategy. When implemented strategically, a well-oiled DRaaS not only protect the company post effects of any event but also automates the process to drive reliability for Always-On business.

In the planning phase, CXOs are frequently faced with the question of how efficiently and cost-effectively can a disaster recovery plan be implemented? The truth of the matter is that in the digital environment customers have limited patience to avail services online. Any incidence that results into unavailability of services can result in losing the customer to your competition.

Rather than anticipating the calamity, business leaders should focus on developing an effective disaster recovery strategy. However, Disaster Recovery (DR) is often considered as an afterthought or planned separately from the core data protection strategy. Business leaders must tap the potential of DR, and should centrally align DR with the overall Availability plan.

Often IT backup is considered similar to DR. While both are critical to businesses, their functionality and adoption approaches are different. Backup is more about storing your data for archiving and regulatory purpose. While DR is about creating a secondary function to take over when the primary fails in the event of a disaster.

People-first Approach – The safety and life of people must be prioritised in a Disaster Recovery plan. No data or machines are more important than the lives of employees.

3-2-1 Approach – Ensuring at least three copies of your data on two different forms of media (cloud, disk, tape, etc.) is critical. Additionally, physical separation of copies with one backup on cloud/offsite is also a good option to ensure ‘Always-On’ business.

Planning for Maximum – While standard practice recommends keeping a copy at least 10 miles away can be sufficient. However, in an event of a large-scale disaster, it is best advised to plan for maximum and store data 100 miles apart. Thanks to cloud-based backups, organizations of any size can avail this benefit.

From what Point you can recover? – Every data point is critical for an organization and customer. However, what truly restores customer confidence is the availability of latest data sets. For example, if the last replication was taken 45 minutes back, this eventually means that secondary site will not have the latest data. Streamlining disaster recovery and simple, secure off-site backups, helps achieve recovery point objectives (RPO).

Testing for Continuity: Test, test, and test. Various functionalities like application availability, data reliability and access through a network are critical during an event of a disaster. To ensure DR operates for all possible scenarios, setting up automatic test backups for recoverability and periodic failure tests are critical. The key is to recover on time and remove errors from backups that can prevent recovery.

Every moment of data loss and application downtime will have multi-million dollars of revenue loss and customer satisfaction at stake. To address this, business leaders require a robust and efficient DR strategy to deliver Always-On business. Availability solutions that drive agility and flexibility help to reduce the disruption caused by unscheduled disruptions. While it takes years to build business equity and reputation, a natural disaster can ruin seamless functioning of operations and fortune of your organization.

Authored by Gregg Petersen, regional director, MEA and SAARC, Veeam Software

Please Wait while comments are loading...