11-14-11 | Blog Post

What’s Your 2012 IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

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Do you think you’re ready for a disaster to hit in the upcoming year? Can your business survive the impact, and are you prepared to recover all of your applications and data quickly and accurately?

Most businesses just don’t think it’ll happen to them – when in actuality, disasters happen more often than we think. A study by research firm Forrester dispels the myth that disaster declarations are rare occurrences with the statistic that 27 percent of companies had declared at least one disaster during the past five years, in a Global Disaster Recovery Preparedness Online Survey.

Disaster Declarations
Disaster Declarations

Although 73 percent had no declarations of disaster, 14 percent declared one disaster event in the past five years, and 5 percent experienced more than five disasters. These companies had to not only declare a disaster, but they also had to recover operations at their recovery site.

Another myth the Forrester study dispels is the idea that natural disasters, like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, are the most common cause of downtime for a company. In actuality, power, IT and network failures are the most common causes.

The survey question asked, “What was the cause of your most significant disaster declaration(s) or major business disruption?” The respondents attributed downtime to power failure, IT hardware failure, network failure, IT software failure and human error as the top five most common causes, while floods, other, hurricanes, fires, etc. ranked lower on the list.

Causes of Downtime
Causes of Downtime

If your disaster can be attributed to things you can control, like choosing a more reliable IT company to host your critical data and applications with, then it may be worth the initial investment. Symantec’s 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey estimates the average cost of downtime for a small-to-medium business is $12,500 per day.

What can you do to be prepared for a costly disaster in 2012?

Problem: Power Failures
Solution: Partner with an IT company that has a N+1 or redundant power infrastructure to avoid a power failure. Check to see if your data center provider has backup power sources – a pooled UPS, battery and generator power systems can be effective against outages.

Problem: IT Hardware & Software Failure
Solution: What causes hardware and software failure? While many factors play a part, lack of maintenance or improper maintenance of your hardware can lead to failures and downtime. Often you or your IT staff might not be able to pay full attention to all of the necessary upgrades, patches and fixes in a timely manner if you’re busy focusing on your applications or other business goals. Handing over the reins to a certified, experienced IT support team that devote their days to managing your servers can be the simple (and effective) solution.

Problem: Network Failure
Solution: Protect against network failure by choosing a quality, fully replicated network infrastructure design. Ask your IT company how often and closely they manage their networks – while the setup and design can be quality, the support provided is also important to ensure high availability of your data and applications.

Hosting your data at a company that offers multiple Internet providers (ISPs) with diverse entry paths can also help eliminate network downtime. In the event of a disaster, the network will automatically failover between providers to ensure you’re always connected without server interruptions.

Problem: Human Error
Solution: It happens. But why not cut down on it as much as possible by outsourcing your hosting project to a team of certified professionals that are dedicated to providing unlimited, 24×7 support? Make sure your data center hosting provider has an asset and change management system that can track and record all changes and corrective actions to the network, servers and OS so you can keep tabs on your server maintenance. Or, use a remote server monitoring system to have complete visibility into your server(s) status.

In addition to investing smart, your company needs a comprehensive IT disaster recovery plan in place. Choose a plan that is affordable and reliable with a fast recovery time – beware of traditional disaster recovery plans that require error-prone tape backup.

The Complete Solution: Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

Disaster recovery in the cloud is the latest and most reliable solution that also happens to cost less than half of the production environment. It’s considered more reliable because the entire hosted cloud (including servers, software, network configuration and security) are replicated to an offsite disaster recovery cloud.

Plus, it’s faster – recovering your servers, apps and data into a cold site environment is entirely replaced by only a few clicks to spin up the replicated servers. Online Tech’s disaster recovery cloud solution (DR Now!) has a warranted 4 hour recovery time objective, specifying the worst case availability in case of a disaster. Our SAS 70 and SSAE 16 audited data centers prove we follow standardized processes to cut down on human error and power, network, hardware and software failure.

Don’t gamble with your chances of declaring a disaster and potentially losing critical data and applications – protect your company by making an educated investment in an updated 2012 disaster recovery plan.

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