The emphasis on data security is rightly overshadowing all other technology topics today. The threats are real and dangerous to your business. Since we are all the kind of people who can chew gum and walk at the same time, we have the mental bandwidth to consider disaster preparedness as well.
The hurricane season is hopefully winding down, but not before Hurricanes Michael and Florence did real devastation to areas on our eastern seaboard. Our thoughts and prayers are always with the families of victims whose lives were lost in those storms. As a business entity, business continuity is a topic that requires thoughtful planning. Many businesses relegate this task to their IT people, but it is NOT an IT function. Certainly, IT has a place at the table but businesses that have successful business continuity plans have executive sponsorship from someone at the C-level in the organization. Business processes need protection as well as data.
One question we urge our customers to consider is “How long can I reasonable be without a particular business function during a disaster?”. This defines the recovery time objective for that function. Different business functions may have different recovery time objectives and that is fine. One mistake we commonly see is business that overestimate their ability to handle downtime. Time and time again, we hear a business can survive a couple of weeks without their systems, but when the Internet goes out for 20 minutes, their office is in chaos. Setting unrealistic expectations for how downtime will impact your business is only fooling yourself. Get the opinion of several key people throughout the business and come to a common consensus.
Once the recovery time objectives are defined, it is time to evaluate your existing business continuity plans. Do they meet the stated recovery time objective? Here is another area where we see businesses fail in planning. Do not expect everything to go smoothly during a disaster. It surely will not. We see businesses underestimate the time it will take to recover from a disaster. Again, here is an area where a faulty number will only cause your business grief in a real-world disaster. Be realistic.
If a gap is discovered between the recovery time objective and the current business continuity plans, it is time to research options. Many businesses incorrectly assume that since their data is backed up to the cloud, they will be able to access it when they need it. In many cases, you need to have the underlying infrastructure in place to restore that cloud data to in order to recover. Not so, with the backup and disaster recovery (BDR) appliance. From a technology perspective, Colden Company is a proud partner of Datto, a leading provider of backup and disaster recovery appliances. This technology can greatly reduce downtime by allowing businesses to virtualize their infrastructure either locally, or in the event of a site disaster, in the cloud. These are backups you can use. (hence the disaster recovery component) Imagine being able to spin up an exact copy of your production servers in the cloud in minutes after a disaster. That is the power of the Datto solution. We recommend this solution frequently for those that have a gap in between their stated recovery time objective and their current plans.
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