Natural disasters can be a serious threat to IT operations, potentially leading to periods where high availability is nearly impossible or worse, like long-lasting outages or permanent data loss. To protect against these outcomes, it’s vital to have a robust disaster recovery (DR) strategy that takes into account all potential disruptions.
Natural Disasters Can Have Major Consequences
Storms may seem like a manageable threat because most data centers have redundant or backup power supplies for short-term electricity outages. Yet, severe weather like Hurricane Harvey can cause a widespread breakdown of regional or local infrastructure and utilities. Any lapses in these areas can cripple business operations, frustrating employees and customers alike. Severe weather could even potentially destroy your data center through flooding or wind damage.
Prioritizing Disaster Recovery
In a competitive environment in which any period of downtime can have significant financial and PR impacts on a business, DR solutions must be quick and thorough. Verifying preparedness can’t simply be about checking a box; it must involve finding the best solution to ensure fast and complete data recovery in the event of a disaster.
The process of developing an IT disaster recovery plan can be a complex undertaking. Many businesses have some version of a plan documented somewhere, but they are frequently incomplete or out-of-date. For those that don’t have a comprehensive plan, it’s essential to begin work on one immediately.
Being aware of all your software, hardware, and its network of interdependencies, as well as who is responsible for emergencies and how they should act is essential for all IT departments. Without this information prepared and ready to use, a business is one disaster away from a significant outage or, worse, a complete collapse.
The underlying foundation of disaster recovery lies with your data backup system, and how effective it is at restoring your data in the event of an unanticipated disruption. In the past, many businesses relied on physical media backups that were stored offsite or in protective vaults.
More recently, backup has largely been accomplished through redundant servers or cloud backups. As businesses have increasingly embraced server virtualization, the cloud has become a significant part of IT operations at many companies.
Businesses still relying on on-premise backup (or a self-managed off-premise backup without the benefit of any cloud-based redundancy) may be in a dangerously vulnerable position. This is especially true for those that have data centers in close geographical proximity to each other. Severe weather in the area could potentially affect every data center location, impacting availability and operational capacity.
Embrace the cloud
The best way to withstand the impacts of severe weather is to leverage the cloud for recovery. Many businesses do this to some degree by making use of server virtualization with built-in cloud-based backups, or by backing up on-premise servers using a cloud-based solution.
These cloud solutions, especially those offered by established providers, make use of large networks with numerous data centers to ensure backup data is redundant across many locations. A natural disaster that affects even a large region of the United States would not impact these operations as long as they had internet access. By taking advantage of these services, a business can avoid significant downtime when their on-premise operations are affected by severe weather.
Still, backing up your IT operations to the cloud does not solve every challenge related to DR. Designing and implementing a DR plan and ensuring resources are online quickly can be difficult when a business itself is responsible for manually restoring data from a cloud-based backup. Properly preparing employees for this process can be time-consuming and, even with extensive practice drills, most employees may be dealing with a real-world disaster scenario for the first time.
The Benefits of DRaaS
The best approach to DR is to craft your strategy with the support of experienced providers. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions take a lot of the guesswork out of the planning and implementation process. The right partner can help you audit your preparedness, address any critical vulnerabilities, and routinely re-evaluate your plan in light of changes to your IT ecosystem.
When a disaster occurs, recovery can as simple as accessing an administration tool and choosing which services or data to restore. DRaaS providers offer flexible recovery options and faster recovery times that minimize business disruption from natural disasters. Ultimately, performing DR internally is more expensive, with high costs for training, staff, and offsite data centers. Strategic partners provide long-run cost savings and greater peace of mind.
For organizations still operating on-premise servers and backups to those with virtual servers and cloud-based backups, DRaaS is an important evolutionary step that helps ensure consistent business operations even when primary IT functions are damaged by a severe weather event.
Interested in finding a DRaaS partner but not sure where to begin? Contact us today and let our team of DR experts help you evaluate your disaster preparedness and match you with a service provider who can exceed your expectations.
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