5 Lessons in Backup and Disaster Recovery From Industry Leaders

5 Lessons in Backup and Disaster Recovery From Industry Leaders
Seeking out a backup and disaster recovery solution involves a ton of research. We can follow vendor news, hit the discussion forums and sift through the marketing hyperbole as we compare product features, but sometimes we need a consultant, a seasoned veteran in the BDR world to remind us to think, ‘ big picture’, or to warn of technical pitfalls that one can only discover by having lived through the process of implementing a backup and disaster recovery solution for an enterprise or small business. To make your research a bit easier check out these priceless lessons in BDR from industry leaders that even the most seasoned professional will find helpful.

In a Dimensional Research Study commissioned by Axcient, a cloud based RaaS Solution, the organization surveyed several IT leaders and found that 90% of businesses had more than one BDR solution set in place, and 60% of respondents reported that these tools had overlapping functionalities (for good measure). However, this backfired more often than was helpful, because of the steep learning curve involved with trying to figure ‘whats what’, in an attempt to operate several BDR systems. Additionally, maintenance and licensing of those systems resulted in higher costs. Lesson learned? Keep it simple. Overlapping an in-house database, and cloud, and three vendors to host the services will get messy. While it’s wise to keep data in several sites, try to find a BDR solution that does all of this under one license and one set of instructions- IT will thank you.

Speaking of IT, in the same study commissioned by Axcient, half of all IT professionals who were surveyed suggested that if their businesses data is compromised or lost, and unable to be recovered, their department is held responsible. The best BDR solutions take IT into consideration, making intuitive platforms, and quick/seamless integration. Find a solution that will help them create an all-encompassing plan for disaster recovery, to minimize worst case scenarios. Every time you invest in a IT friendly BDR solution, an IT professional gets their wings. Save the profession from headache and heartache.

The importance of a good disaster recovery solution should not be eclipsed by the backup. DRaaS solutions are gaining popularity, and since planning for the unknown has a large price tag it is often neglected or over pruned. Look at the news recently, you’ve got wildfires that displace thousands in Canada, tornadoes doing the same in the Midwest US. Be it snow, flood, electrical- DRaaS solutions should never be left out of your BDR equation. The aid that a quality DRS will send your way in times of need can include new computer servers, real life human technicians to help recovery data onsite (or worst case, offsite), large, powerful generators – whatever your business needs to regain continuity. Additionally, pricing for these services (with the advent of the cloud pay-as-you go pricing model sweeps the industry) is becoming much more affordable-  Don’t forget the DR!

Conduct a business impact analysis or risk assessment before you purchase a BDR product. Quorum, a BDR solutions provider and market leader, conducted a study about the relationship between business ‘down time’ in the event of a catastrophe, and how significantly the business had been impacted by the down times. The study found that a businesses eCommerce web site, a CRM system, and a critical transactional database can typically tolerate 2 hours, 10 minutes, 1 minute, and 6 seconds of downtime per week without significantly impacting the business, representing an availability level of 99 percent. Quorum asserts that businesses need to conduct a similar type of assessment to understand to how frequently data should be backed up for each unique enterprise. For some applications, a weekly backup might suffice, while others might require backups be done in much shorter time periods to avoid losing critical data. Quorum suggests that businesses incorporate their recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) numbers into service level agreements (SLAs) that IT or a DR service provider must meet.

Times are changing and most of that change is happening in the cloud. Sending a copy of data offsite for disaster recovery purposes is essential. Historically, this required sending tapes to an offsite location or tape vault. Now, modern BDR products run applications from virtual servers, and from the cloud. The ability to run applications in the cloud while onsite infrastructure is restored, is widely considered a game changer for disaster recovery. There are several vendors who are offering cloud BDR products to enterprises who are taking advantage of other cloud capabilities for business, as cloud services are often sold in a pay-as-you-go model, and offer unlimited storage.

BDR planning should take the form of developing business resilience. The folks at Quorum recommend conducting a business impact analysis or risk assessment in their CIO executive insight breif. These studies can reveal weaknesses in your business’ ability to continue operations that go far beyond IT. The CIO brief reiterates the need for next generation backup and disaster recovery solutions for a changing operational landscape:

“Several factors are causing companies to re-evaluate their approaches to maintaining high availability and fast recovery. For most companies, the general issues have factored into their strategies in the past. However, recent changes in the way businesses operate (notably, the need for always on access for today’s mobile and global workforce and customer base) is making the need for change more urgent.”

Understand the sheer financial catastrophe that a even one minute of unplanned downtime can cause an enterprise. In a recent Ponemon Institute study, “Calculating the Cost of Data Center Outages”, research analyzed costs at 41 data centers in varying industry segments. The study found that the average cost of data center downtime across industries was approximately $5,600 per minute. The report cited the highest cost of a single event at about $1 million, about more than $11,000 per minute. Implementing a quality backup and disaster recovery solution is no longer an option. Protect your enterprise with a BDR solution that takes your organization’s unique specifications into consideration.