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Monday, 01 June 2015 23:08

Business continuity, disaster recovery and your business

Posted By  Russell Cook

Russell Cook, SIRE’s Managing Director, talks about the simplicity of implementing cloud-based disaster recovery solutions and how they can bring your business back to life in seconds.

There are a lot of figures banded about on the chance of a business recovering from a disaster such as a fire or flood, though the odds are that most of them are made up or are so old they’re meaningless. Regardless, however, of whether 80% or 20% of businesses fail after a crises, IT failures do and will happen – and it’s more likely to happen to you if you don’t have some form of business continuity solution in place. According to the London Chamber of Commerce, only half of businesses have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

Think of your own business and how much more reliant you are on IT today than you were 10 years ago or even just last year. What would happen if your Exchange server was to be taken offline for a day, a week, or a month, and what about your e-commerce server, your ERP system or your warehouse management systems? How long would it take to get the systems back online and how long could your business cope without them – just how long would your loyal customers stick with you if you couldn’t email or answer emails? And there’s also your reputation to think off – with social media you no longer operate in a vacuum. An IT crash is one of those things that Twitter users love and it can’t be hidden or forgotten; social media never forgets.

Preparing for the worst begins with business continuity and putting a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. The good news is that with the cloud it’s getting easier and cheaper to implement a DR system. With the very latest DR solutions your business can have peace of mind as it enables your business to be up and running again so fast that your customers won’t even notice the fail.

In the past, creating a business continuity solution was costly and DR involved matching your current IT solution server for server; if your IT cost £100k then your DR solution would cost £100k or more. Yes, having a mirror of your systems will give you a system ready to go if the production server fails – assuming you have access to the site – but this comes at the cost of a server sitting there with no value to the business until 'fail-over' is required, tying up finances in an asset that may do nothing for its entire lifespan.

However, with the move to virtualisation and the cloud your DR solution no longer needs one-to-one mapping and can be updated in real-time. By using a Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS), you get a system that will locally mirror your server to the cloud with a reduction of up to 38% in infrastructure costs, and which provides protection for your business on-site and off, both accessible at a flick of a switch and with instant virtualisation. Additionally, a cloud solution means that you only pay for the system in a dormant state, so there are no licensing implications plus reduced demand for local power and physical space.

Other benefits include;

  • Pay for recovery only when you need it
  • Keep availability high and costs low
  • Continuously protect data, applications and processing
  • No recovery fees
  • Reduce server recovery time
  • Improve recovery reliability
  • Recover seamlessly to newer technology
  • Intelligent data duplication and local compression

Another benefit of an intelligent DR system is the ability to de-duplicate data. Much of the data your live systems contain is copied time and time again. For example, when you cc an email to other people in the business, the same data is saved multiple times across the business. With a modern DR system only one version of the email will be stored, with a resulting reduction in data storage of up to 95%.

With BCaaS, Business Continuity is no longer something to add to the business wish list – it’s something you can do now and is affordable and easily manageable. Indeed, it’s something all organisations, regardless of their size, should be planning and investing in now.

About the author

Russell Cook is Managing Director at SIRE. He joined the business in 1995 initially as Technical Director before moving to Managing Director in 2011. Prior to SIRE he held a range of ‘hands-on’, technical-focused positions in the IT industry - including Special Projects Leader with TEAM Systems (now part of Mysis plc). 

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