Business continuity is a vital aspect of consistent, reliable business operations. Many industries live and die by the uptime on their information technology resources. Banks and financial institutions rely on complex computer systems to execute and track orders, and those in the medical industry are required to keep meticulous records for compliance with record retention standards, just to name two examples. Natural disasters can pose a threat to any industry that uses technology. As such, every industry should utilize data protection solutions and have an effective disaster recovery plan in place.
Data protection solutions and disaster recovery plans should be aimed towards addressing hazards presented by natural and manmade disasters that are both large and small in scale. While the mysterious hacker figure captures the attention of the media, malicious users are often the rarest type of hazard to impact business continuity and information technology resources.
How To Identify And Understand Hazards
The first step when seeking data protection solutions is to develop an understanding of what hazards can impact IT resources. Natural disasters are the most recognizable hazard to any structure. IT resources rely on IT infrastructure to communicate with remote users, and they rely on power to not only run computers and servers, but also to control climate. Many natural disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes and floods can easily knock out power. The damage from these occurrences is long lasting, so even a generator is not enough to ensure business continuity and a prompt disaster recovery plan. Standing water and the loss of transportation infrastructure will leave IT resources stranded without the option to have them repaired. All of these possibilities are addressed in effective data protection solutions.
There are also smaller scale accidents that can disrupt business continuity. Local power outages can put an office building or bank branch out of operation, usually occurring during peak usage times. Human errors can result in file loss, damage to storage systems, or a failure to properly back up information. Hardware can fail due to poor climate control, incorrect installation, or just by accident. These issues need to be examined as part of disaster recovery.
Considering Data Protection Solutions
The basic way to keep IT resources up and running is through duplication, right down to computers, servers, software, and files. However, this can lead to extremely wasteful spending, instantly doubling overhead. While duplication and replication are important aspects for disaster recovery, they are just one part of the whole picture.
The second major consideration is timing. How long does it take for mission critical systems and information to become available after it is lost or a system crashes? Will a patient miss their medication if medical servers are unavailable for hours? Will banks suffer hardships if no one can access their money for a day? Are some systems so complex and integral to business operations that they have to be restored as close to instantly as possible?
Envisioning Effective Disaster Recovery
Taking the above concerns and hazards into account, defending business functions against loss is best accomplished with cloud computing and virtualization. These technologies focus on removing the need for physical computing resources in order to accomplish business technology functions and manage information.
For instance, data center colocation can offers dedicated housing facilities for a company’s information resources. These housing facilities have multiple layers of safeguards for power management and climate control along with dedicated personnel using the latest in technology and industry best practices to manage data protection solutions. Extremely resistant to data loss, these facilities form the backbone of reliable disaster recovery.
Cloud computing and managed IT services can also be used for effective disaster recovery. In order to duplicate business resources without unneeded costs, data protection solutions utilize priority tiers to separate information according to availability requirements, record retention, and costs. Mission-critical files are routinely backed up and stored on quick-access media, while archival files are stored on less expensive, long-term media. Managed services handle the backup time frames, management, and consolidation.
Cloud computing and virtualization technologies offer the benefits of a fully fledged and funded information technology department without the capital costs and overhead associated with having an in-house staff. From collocation to virtualization, these types of IT services can and should be utilized for comprehensive data protection solutions and efficient disaster recovery schemes.