Disaster Strikes – Is Your Business Ready?
Cybersecurity Manager & Partner
NET Xperts LLC
Let me paint a picture for you. You are running a successful business (this sounds familiar already, right?). You’re having one of the best years that you’ve ever had. Production is great, morale is through the roof, and revenues are pouring in. As a result, you’re a happy business owner, right? Then suddenly, the unexpected happens: a sprinkler pipe breaks in your server room. Water floods and destroys your entire server infrastructure. Not only does this small event ruin thousands of dollars of equipment, but it brings production to a grinding halt.
Now, you’re thinking to yourself, “I have insurance. Insurance will cover the damage to the equipment and to the facility. I’ve also got backups that are stored off-site because I understand the importance of having my data elsewhere. So, this is no problem… but production is dependent on the computer, and none of the production systems are currently working. This is going to cost the business thousands of dollars in revenue loss because we can’t operate. No problem though – just restore the backups and good to go, right? But what can they be restored to? I hadn’t thought about that… Oh, and there’s an equipment shortage, so it might be a month before I can get a replacement server. What a mess!”
The scenario above is one that is not thought about nearly enough. This is where Disaster Recovery plays a crucial role. Disaster Recovery (or “DR” for the short buzzword) is driven around how to restore your business to limited or full operations quickly. Backups are good for restoring or archiving your data, but they cannot operate alone as a Disaster Recovery solution. Backups generally take hours (or days) to fully restore (especially from a remote location), and that’s given that you have the right puzzle pieces together already, such as having the hardware to restore to. Disaster Recovery Solutions are centered around getting you back up and running quickly while losing the least amount of production time and data.
So, what’s important in a Disaster Recovery solution?
The goal of Disaster Recovery is to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible. There are many different types of Disaster Recovery solutions, which could involve a downtime of 15 minutes all the way up to a day or 2. Some Disaster Recovery solutions are dependent on having hardware available while others leverage cloud solutions. Sometimes it’s a balancing act of recovery cost vs. downtime cost. Regardless of the solution, it should be reviewed annually and TESTED quarterly. Oh, and did I mention TESTED quarterly? Having a solution that isn’t working when you need it is like not having a solution at all.
Something that commonly gets overlooked with small businesses is having a Disaster Recovery plan. This plan encompasses your solution, what to do, who to contact, etc. in the event that a disaster happens. It’s just like coaching and drilling your kids where to meet you outside in case of an emergency at home. Being proactive is the best approach to ANYTHING IT-related for your business. Some good talking points when thinking about a disaster recovery plan and solution are:
- How long can we afford to be down? Downtime is costly, and it’s something that business owners don’t typically think about until it happens.
- How much data can we afford to lose? This is a tricky one because this will typically determine the cost of a solution.
- How often do you run your snapshots?
- How much storage do you have in your offsite solution to store this data?
- How much data is getting pushed across the wire to your solution, and can the connection handle the data load?
Once you have this figured out, you can work with your IT Team and/or Managed Services Provider, such as NET Xperts LLC, to determine a solution that is right for your objectives. A good Disaster Recovery solution uses real-time replication to an off-site location, and it can directly spin up and interface with your users quickly to continue production. If a DR solution is set up correctly, you could be back up and running in hours, not days.
Nobody has a magic crystal ball and can predict disasters that may strike. Your business must be ready for what you can’t predict. NET Xperts LLC can help you be prepared for the unexpected by providing guidance, solutions, and assistance with developing a plan. Talk to our team today – tomorrow may be too late! Give us a call at 412-244-NETX (6389).