Today, more than ever, disaster recovery (DR) – also called ‘business continuity planning’ –  is a vital layer of protection for many organizations. However, a surprisingly large number of organizations do not have the proper plan in place to protect important I.T infrastructure, applications or software. In the past, the most common reasons cited by businesses for not protecting important data with disaster recovery services are because of cost, complexity and unreliability—making it unsuitable for all but the most mission-critical, enterprise applications. However, this is no longer the case.

High availability systems keep both data and systems replicated off-site. This then enables continuous access to systems and data after a disaster. Using this type of system involves the creation of point-in-time ‘images’ or virtual copies of systems, usually on a daily basis. Then, these images are sent offsite and can be launched from the offsite location when needed—keeping a business up and running. Even companies that cannot fully deploy into the cloud may want to use cloud-based disaster recovery as it is much faster than traditional methods like tape backups.

When choosing disaster recovery, it is important to think of it as a type of insurance that protects your IT assets if disaster strikes. Just like the best insurance policies, the best disaster recovery service provides excellent protection with minimum hassle. What are some of the things that an organization should look for when comparing disaster recovery protection? Consider the following aspects of this type of service so you can make sure you have the protection that you need.

Replication and Automatic Failover

Replication and failover act as your safety net against all types of potential issues. If one of your production systems goes down, you will automatically failover to your offsite replica. This means users can still access the services and applications needed with minimal disruptions. Then, you and your IT team can work to restore normal operations (either by moving back to the normal production system upon repair or rehoming to work fully within the cloud.) This option unifies backup and recovery into a single solution.

Granular File and Email Recovery

Disaster recovery should not be useful only during catastrophic failures. Look for a disaster recovery service that includes the ability to restore emails or other single files on demand. In the past, this required multiple backup systems. However, total protection can now be accomplished using one high-quality system.

On Demand Testing

You want to assure that your recovery procedures work as they should. The best disaster recovery service for you will allow you to test recovery failover at a time that is convenient for you. While this is generally recommended as something you should do on a quarterly basis, you may have other needs and the right service for you will allow you to meet those needs.

Encryption and Compression

You want to protect your sensitive data, so look for a disaster recovery service that has on-site encryption. This means that data is encrypted at your site before it is sent off site, using your private encryption keys.  That means only the customer can access the often very sensitive data. Another consideration is saving space: Images and other large pieces of data should be compressed before being sent off site and stored—this can provide a huge savings in storage costs.

DR Planning: RPO and RTO

RPO is the maximum period tolerable in which data could be lost. RTO is the target time for resumption of IT activities after disaster occurs. These are two of the most important considerations for your disaster recovery plans. Look into both of these numbers before you choose a plan. This will help you make certain you choose a plan that helps you accomplish your disaster recovery goals.

No matter what type of business you operate, it is important to look at the big picture when it comes to your IT services. The best way to avoid downtime is through elimination of single failure points within your IT configuration. Disaster recovery adds redundancy and peace of mind. By choosing a quality disaster recovery service, you can relax with the knowledge that even in the case of a massive IT failure, your sensitive data and even your infrastructure is protected through off-site storage.

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