09-03-20 | Blog Post

What is Downtime? A 2020 Guide

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There’s been a huge uptick in the use of remote worker and collaboration technologies, expansion of cloud and SaaS usage, and rapid distribution of workforces. These changes have impacted users and suppliers alike. Some changes will revert to their pre-pandemic state while others will provide lasting impacts on the way we work, service our customers and do business together. All of these changes represent new opportunities for downtime and will impact the business continuity plan. Below are just a few examples:

Addressing new downtime risks

The rapid growth of WFH networks combined with new access methodologies, broad expansion of the security perimeter and increased use of cloud and XaaS (link) services has both expanded business IT and, in many ways, jump started the next generation of business networking and digital transformation. While business IT revamps its budgets and future network plans based upon the events of 2020, it’s also important to assure business continuity planning considers all changes, evaluates them as temporary or permanent, and defines their value in the event of downtime. Assigning a cost of down time to each area of the network (based upon value to the business: e.g. transaction, data/information access, customer support, etc.) provides the business with a baseline to determine the necessity and value of budgeting for increased protection that enhances redundancy and survivability.  A couple of examples of how understanding the value of downtime can impact a business:

  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) defines the maximum allowable downtime for an application or process. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) defines the maximum allowable data loss an application or process can undergo. (e.g. time between backups.) Typically for DR services, the shorter the time interval required to achieve the designated RTO and/or RPO, the higher the cost. The business may decide to budget more for improved RTO/RPO for a customer facing application vs a lower RTO/RPO for a database of employee collateral.
  • In the era of increased WFH across all levels of employees, the access and connectivity for key process owners or remote IT support may justify purchasing redundant and survivable access (redundant FTTH and cable high speed access, Wifi and 5G, etc.) and computer stations for specific individuals.

When properly completed and incorporated into a business continuity and disaster recovery plan, your predictive analysis will begin paying benefits in the form of reduction or even virtual elimination of unplanned events in the areas deemed most critical to the business. You’ll also have a better ability to optimize your IT budget based upon assigning specific values to critical aspects of the business.

How to get started? Otava, in partnership with Zerto, provides a simple and effective downtime calculator. The calculator can be used to see just how much you could lose due to human error, power outages, malicious attacks and more. When you put in your actual company information, you’ll not only see firsthand what every second of downtime does to your bottom line, but also the ramifications compounded by minute, hour, day and week!

Looking for help developing your business continuity plan, disaster recovery plan, or understanding the costs of downtime? Otava can help. Our experts can help you create and execute a DR runbook and plan, design and architect your recovery environment, and even manage it for you, all with Disaster Recovery as a Service, powered by Zerto. If you’re ready to put your organization, large or small, into a high state of IT resiliency contact us to get started today.

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