Disaster Recovery: What Your Business Deserves
Disaster: “A sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage.”
Recovery: “A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.”
In the last 7 years, there have been several studies surrounding disaster recovery uptake within SMBs globally. These surveys have revealed that around 50% to 60% of small and midsized businesses worldwide have no DR plan. Of those that ‘do’ at least have a plan, around three-quarters of them reported that they have never actually tested it. Within the quarter of those who ‘did’ actually test their plans, at least 25% of them reported that the tests failed and they were unable to recover as expected.
No matter which survey you look at, or which statistics you quote – it would seem that the vast majority of SMBs are both under-prepared and ill-equipped to deal with a business-critical event. The initial challenge for many businesses is to first understand the need and to agree internally that such a requirement cannot be ignored indefinitely. In the US, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) revealed that following a disaster around 25% of business fail within 1 year, and amazingly around 40% of businesses hit by a disaster did not even re-open at all. Despite this, the challenge to design, deploy and (most importantly) test a disaster recovery plan continues to fall to the bottom of many businesses’ to-do lists.
Similar to the Datacentre ‘Tier’ rating system, there are also several schemes that are used to measure the level of DR planning and implementation a business has achieved. The most common one uses eight levels and every business will be somewhere on the scale, which goes from Tier Zero (no protection) to Tier Seven, the maximum possible protection. A good starting point for any business (whether a plan already exists or not) would be to first establish the current Tier which they are at. This process in itself will spark discussion in areas such as ‘acceptable downtime’ and the ‘regression period’, so how long it will take to recover and how much data (time) will have been lost when the recovery has been completed.
All the tiers from one up to seven require the use of an off-site location. Tier Zero has no off-site requirement it is also the only tier where 100% data loss (with no recovery at all) is highly likely. Selecting the off-site location should be part of a detailed analysis program, covering key criteria such as geographic location, security, availability and resilience. There is no point having a DR plan where your backup site has the potential to be offline when you need it the most.
Working closely with the DR facility is also key. Factoring in the availability of office space for staff, both end-users and your IT team, is critical to the successful real-world deployment (and testing) of your DR plan.
Custodian Data Centres is ideally equipped to act as a either DR facility or a prime location – with an abundance of technical space accompanied by standby turnkey office space and a 24/7 technical engineering team on site. Whether outsourced or internally developed, your business deserves a well engineered and thoroughly tested DR plan, don’t let it down!