Many of us take into consideration how a disaster could impact our physical possessions, but do we also consider how our digital assets could be affected? Hurricanes, floods and cyber attacks are all varying forms of disasters that produce downtime and data loss. While physical possessions can be replaced, lost revenue caused by lapses in service or an absence of client information cannot.
Disasters can never be predicted but action can be taken to guarantee minimal downtime and maximum data recovery. Developing a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is imperative to surviving all forms of attacks. Having a backup strategy in place will provide peace of mind to both staff and clients and help you get back to business faster!
Threats Affect Everyone
There are numerous threats waiting to strike. Small to medium size businesses are no more immune to a Ransomware attack then they are to flash floods or fires. Human error also poses a significant risk to security. No matter how well-trained and diligent employees are, there is always a chance that a minor mix-up could extensively cost you. Preventative measures are a great practice, but the risk still remains.
Cost of Downtime
Many companies rarely calculate the real cost of downtime. Your system could go down any time for any reason. When it does, your customer-base is left waiting. The longer the wait time, the heavier the impact to both your reputation and your revenue. The more hours spent staring at black screens, the more your staff morale will suffer.
For some industries such as healthcare and emergency services, downtime doesn’t just mean angry customers and cantankerous employees – it could mean the loss of lives.
No matter what your business specializes in, it is clear that having a failover plan is an important component to staying on top!
5 Ways to Be Ready for Anything:
1. Ask Yourself: Am I Backing Up Everything I Should Be?
We have come a long way from the time when backup storage was expensive and limiting. Now, storage is affordable, scalable and adept. You can (and should) be backing up entire workloads, operating systems, applications and data.
2. Service-Level Agreement Tiers
Just as storage has evolved, so has the outdated ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Defining your service level tiers is an effective way to understand your disaster recovery needs.
There are two concepts to consider when developing the solution that is right for you: Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
- RPO = how much data an organization can afford to lose, in terms of time
- RTO = how long it takes after an incident to restore service
Setting these metrics will help you to clearly define your organization’s unique needs.
3. Your Backup Strategy Aligns with Your Business Requirements
Not all pieces of infrastructure can be considered critical. Top-tier infrastructure is categorized as the most important equipment for running your business. These are the pieces that need the highest availability.
Second-tier tools are often those that make it hard but not impossible to operate without. Email is usually considered second-tier.
Third-tier infrastructure could be systems such as your business’s print server. However, tiers are classified based on the individuality of your organization. Remember to match the importance of your data and workloads to the characteristics of your backup strategies.
4. Recovery Preparation
The recovery phase is time spent getting things back up and running following a disaster. This process starts with determining the bare minimum that you can operate on. If the lifeblood of your business were email, it would be your priority to restore this system immediately before anything else.
Define your strategy for getting back to business. Consider if this meets the requirements of the organization. Ask yourself how long you can afford to have secondary systems down. You should be able to confidently communicate anticipated uptime and performance expectations to your employees and your internal stakeholders.
5. Restoration Preparation
This phase tackles the work of putting things back together after a crisis. This can be done with the implementation of backup technologies. The fastest available disk-to-disk solutions are virtual-machine (VM). These are effective for the restoration of virtual environments. However, they do not always work for physical servers. Choosing your restoration plan depends heavily on the type of environment you are working in.
To be successful in the face of disaster, your business needs to be able to get back up and running quickly. Having a plan in place will undoubtedly help you to recover workloads and vital data so you can continue to move forward without substantial revenue loss.
No one wants to think of the bad things that could happen, but being realistic and preparing for all possibilities means you will keep composure if anything goes wrong. Take our recommendations into account when you’re crafting your plan so you can have the most customized and intuitive procedures at the ready.