Get serious about disaster recovery!

Following on from my blog last week on backup’s; I want to talk this week about disaster recovery and the importance of having a solid DR plan in place for your business because if ever there was a time to get serious about disaster recovery (DR), it’s now.

Over the last few years the UK has been hit with major floods, 100mph winds and even the odd small earthquake. Many lives and properties have been disrupted because of these events but the unsung story is all the businesses that lost everything – all their precious information. You can move to a new office, buy new computers, everything – except get your information back.

That is, unless you had a solid, working DR plan in place before the disaster struck. We have heard many stories of businesses throughout the UK which were able to evacuate their people in time, but not their servers. And without a strong DR plan, including offsite backups, these businesses are likely to fail.

In 2011, Acronis concluded another round of their Global DR Index, a study into DR practices and concerns of 3,000 IT professionals supporting SMBs around the world.

Participants concluded that some of the better DR practices are:

  • One solution across physical, virtual and cloud
  • Investing more in DR (average 10% of IT budget) to gain greater recovery confidence
  • Full boardroom support
  • Well documented processes, procedures and controls to reduce downtime

Some of the worrying behaviours considered by the same group include:

  • Five or more unrelated DR solutions across physical, virtual and cloud environments
  • Under-investing in DR (less than 5% of IT budget) lowers confidence in recovery capability
  • Ad hoc or no offsite backup strategy
  • Not backing up virtual servers or backing them up less often

The study covered UK, Western Europe, Scandinavia, US, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

But there is more to DR than merely backing up, much as that might be the function of Acronis’ product! In the UK floods of 2007, many companies were forced to operate in ‘work from home’ mode. Only then did they discover the inadequacy of their remote working arrangements. In many cases, communication lines which were quite adequate for occasional evening work became hopelessly clogged, rendering work impossible, and severely interrupting revenue flow.

For our managed accounts, we insist on a solid DR plan which includes frequent backups, offsite backup storage, automatic notifications of all backup anomalies, monthly backup checks (including checking the viability of backups) and annual full disaster recovery checks. These are not as expensive as you night think, and are essential to recovery confidence.

If you need help defining and implementing a comprehensive DR strategy, or you have any other concerns in this area, please call Imagine IT Consultants We will help you ensure your priceless company information survives the next disaster.

Tel: 0113 328 0611 or e-mail us at info@imagineitc.co.uk

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