There is a very slim change that your business will never experience a disruptive event or disaster. Natural disasters are at the highest level they have ever been – up 400% in the last two decades – and man-made disasters are threatening businesses like never before – data breaches alone were up 40% in 2016 and in 2017 they were larger in scope and faster moving than previously. As a business owner, you should be afraid of what the 2018 reports will say when it comes to disasters.
All experience tells us that what we do in the first few hours after a disaster dictates just how well we will survive. In the emergency services this is referred to as the 'golden hour'. FEMA says that more than 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster and for those that do, only 29% were still operating after two years. Furthermore, those who lost their information technology for nine days or more went bankrupt within a year.
When disaster strikes, businesses experience loss in two ways – tangible and intangible. The tangible is easily measured – what would you have earned had your business been operational during the downtime. The intangible is a little harder and include things like customer churn, lost business opportunities, reputation damage and decline in employee morale. But what if I told you that you don’t have to go through any of this? With a little bit of disaster recovery planning you can minimize and even eliminate downtime in the wake of a disaster.
So how do you continue business as usual? Here are five things you can do to survive.
- Backup regularly.
Implement a disaster recovery plan that creates a series of incremental online data backups so you can easily restore your files to an error-free state. Utilize redundant firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software to ensure that security breaches are protected against. Improve your internal processes and quality assurance activities to prevent human error.
- Rely on the Experts.
An ideal disaster recovery plan would place your production servers in a top tier data center with no single point of failure on the power and network connections. Your disaster recovery backup servers would be at another data center at least 45 miles away in case of a severe natural disaster. This would ensure that you’re virtually protected from any downtime, and you have put your business in position to survive the most brutal IT disasters.
- Rely on the cloud.
Cloud computing can be the start of a solid base for backup solutions, giving you near real-time data replication and high availability of stored data. Your backup solution should use high-speed storage and high-volume IOPS to ensure you don’t spend hours or days waiting for backups to “thaw.”
- Prioritize your applications.
Know what data you need recovered immediately and what data can wait hours, days, weeks to get back. The data needed immediately should utilize a disaster recovery as a service – based plan (DRaaS). This type of plan could include restoring data from a cloud-based backup storage device to a cloud-based compute tier with application-ready storage. DRaaS should be able to create virtual instances of applications and then, without moving the data, create an accessible volume for the virtual instance to use. The goal is to return the application to production as fast as possible.
- Test early and often.
If you have a DRaaS plan, testing can be as simple as pushing a button that isolates the network and starts recovery. Without DRaaS, DR testing often involves moving IT staff to an off-site location for a weekend and manually running a disaster recovery drill. Either way, you better make sure you plan works today, tomorrow and five years from now so regular testing is an essential part of recovery.
There is no silver bullet to preventing a disaster from happening. However, with some basic planning and preparation, every company can put themselves in a place to survive one. Disaster Recovery is often times compared to buying insurance. Those that are young and healthy do not think they need it. That is until the unexpected happens.
Learn more about the various Disaster Recovery as a Service plans available from Involta by downloading the information sheet.