|By Fredrik Schmidt||
|September 4, 2014 01:00 PM EDT||
It's an oft-cited FEMA statistic that 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. Almost certainly contributing to this eye-popping failure rate is the fact that an estimated 74 percent of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) lack a disaster recovery plan, while 84 percent haven't bothered to obtain disaster insurance.
On an annual basis, flooding ranks as the most common and costly type of natural disaster in America. This hurricane season alone is expected to boast 10 named tropical storms and five hurricanes. Those SMBs that don't want their data to wash away with the rest of their possessions should consider revisiting the planning process, strategies, and cloud technologies that help businesses stay afloat in the event of a disaster.
Be Proactive - Planning Improves Reaction Time and Outcomes
Most businesses naively believe that they won't experience a true disaster, or that they'll just cross that bridge when in happens. However, according to the Aberdeen Group, disaster is arguably inevitable with the average business experiencing 2.26 downtime events per year, at an average cost of $163,674. Since all businesses aren't created equal, and many are constrained by dollars and cents, businesses must carefully calibrate their strategy for response to be commensurate with their risk. A well thought out business continuity and disaster recovery plan that takes into account the following six steps can make all the difference between a business that is poised for continued success, and one that is done in by something going awry:
Step 1: Identify mission-critical applications and data by performing a risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA) as well as taking an asset inventory. This analysis will allow the business to calculate the potential impact of its most likely threats and prioritize their response accordingly.
Step 2: Estimate when operations should/will resume by measuring success against established RTO/RPO through frequent testing to ensure flexibility in the disaster recovery technology solution(s) the business chooses. Companies should keep in mind that, while accurate RTO/RPOs are easy to attain with specific systems, they are very hard to meet when data becomes more agnostic and distributed across more systems.
Step 3: Identify a backup worksite in the event the business becomes unsafe.
Step 4: Design and publish the business continuity plan/disaster recovery plan (BCP/DRP), making sure it is accessible to everyone from anywhere.
Step 5: Make sure employees know about the plan and are familiar with it. When disaster strikes, businesses with a clearly defined plan and consistent communication can more quickly cut through the chaos and get back on track.
Step 6: Businesses should regularly put their BCP/DRP to the test to ensure it meets current and future needs, and to expose areas that can be updated for improvement. With the maturity of cloud solutions, you also have to take into account migrating and living with a more diverse private/public cloud portfolio. Ensure you have a go-to plan for the future to expand into new things like high availability, and archiving within clouds.
Disaster-Proofing Strategies & Technologies for Every Situation and Budget
First, let's get one thing out of the way: tape is not a recovery solution. With the dizzying pace of innovation, today's modern business continuity and disaster recovery solutions available in the cloud have proliferated almost beyond count. This is making it challenging for a business to hone in on the right solutions, so let's take a quick look at some solutions that can fit various needs and budgets.
In the SMB market, one strategy we are increasingly seeing is "community cloud" initiatives, which allow businesses to share risk and pool resources to stretch their dollars. For instance, through a mutual agreement, two companies in the same region could house one of their servers in the other's data center. Thus, rather than having to set up, manage, and pay for a duplicate data center, the companies are each afforded off-site protection. However, in event of a regional disaster, such as a storm, each of the sites might be subject to identical threats. Therefore, this option should be reserved for businesses with shoestring budgets, in areas that face low regional threat risk.
Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
The emergence of cloud-based DRaaS over the past few years has been a game-changer for businesses of all sizes and budgets. DRaaS solutions can enable complete recovery of data and entire production environments in minutes - not hours or days. On a predetermined basis, a company's physical and/or virtual servers send images of their environments to the cloud of a DRaaS provider. In the event of an adverse event at the company's site, such as a storm or fire, a virtualized (and fully-operational) version of the physical server can be rapidly spun-up in the DRaaS cloud. Additionally, the affordability of DRaaS is attractive as it doesn't require capital investment and even some appliance-based solutions are offered as Hardware as a Service.
Despite its abundant benefits, though, DRaaS still doesn't solve the age-old problem of "what" a business needs to protect unless it's set up manually by default. Moreover, while advances in WAN Optimization equate to more rapid transfer of data to the cloud, there are still some bandwidth issues.
Hybrid Cloud Solutions
Hybrid cloud solutions are bursting onto the market and freeing applications from the need to be tied to a physical piece of hardware. They enable applications to live both locally, as well as in a cloud environment, at the same time. These hybrid solutions mean businesses don't have to DIY for their own disaster recovery sites and can instead designate a cloud provider to provide the infrastructure
In turn, these cloud vendors can achieve efficacies of scale and performance rarely seen with individual operators. For a small number of application-centric situations, such as finance institutions, this won't be the best solution. But for almost any other business, it leaves no reason not to move disaster recovery to the cloud.
The disaster recovery landscape continues to evolve at a breakneck pace and very soon businesses will have the ability to operate between many clouds and avoid being locked down by just one. For instance, companies can now choose solutions that enable virtual and physical loads to be recovered inside multiple cloud providers and even orchestrate cascading failovers between different providers. This freedom essentially enables businesses to place their recovery eggs in multiple baskets. In the distant future, we can logically surmise that businesses will one day be able to move between cloud providers on a whim by simply pushing a button and failing over on top of another cloud platform.
Choosing the Right Solution
Businesses can narrow their search a bit further by choosing universal products that address their basic need around recovery (failover/failback) while being as agnostic to hardware and software as possible. At the same time, they should expand their horizons and look for application-centric solutions that enable them to focus on what matters: the actual data that drives their business. Any company that maintains a business continuity plan and implements the right cloud technology to meet their needs is well on the path to saving itself from becoming another morbid statistic the next time disaster strikes.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief Architect at CTS, will explore the synergy of Big Data and IoT. First he will take a closer look at the Internet of Things and Big Data individually, in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. Then he will explore the relationship between IoT and Big Data. Specifically, he will drill down to how the 4Vs aspects intersect with IoT: Volume, Variety, Velocity and Value. In turn, Tony will analyze how the key components of IoT ...
Oct. 5, 2015 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 211
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Oct. 5, 2015 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 561
Today, we are in the middle of a paradigm shift as we move from managing applications on VMs and containers to embracing everything that the cloud and XaaS (Everything as a Service) has to offer. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hoffman, Advisory Solutions Architect at Pivotal Cloud Foundry, will provide an overview of 12-factor apps and migrating enterprise apps to the cloud. Kevin Hoffman is an Advisory Solutions Architect for Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and has spent the past 20 years b...
Oct. 5, 2015 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 686
While testing is often ignored when it comes to DevOps - it could be the most important aspect of achieving true DevOps success. Without rethinking automated testing from the ground-up, the entire DevOps productivity gain cannot be realized. Large tech companies build their own rapid test automation that runs in minutes across functional, performance, security and other tests. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kevin Surace, CEO of Appvance, will discuss how we learn from these real-world succe...
Oct. 5, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 418
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Oct. 5, 2015 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 680
SYS-CON Events announced today that Logz.io has been named a "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Logz.io provides open-source software ELK turned into a log analytics platform that is simple, infinitely- scalable, highly available, and secure.
Oct. 5, 2015 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 855
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and hig...
Oct. 5, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 763
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
Oct. 5, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 175
DevOps delivers remarkable results. But does it help all of IT? Can traditional ‘mode 1’ IT benefit as much as innovative ‘mode 2’? How about the rest of your business? Or have you just shifted your bottleneck? And if so, what can you do about it? Improving dev and ops is necessary, but not sufficient. It often just shifts the burden sideways (e.g., to PMs, SQA, InfoSec, DBAs, NOC, etc.), upstream (to the PMO, Controller, Business Liaison, etc.), or downstream (to TechPubs, Service Desk, Traini...
Oct. 5, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 685
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...
Oct. 5, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 114
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text...
Oct. 5, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 157
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
Oct. 5, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 719
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect ...
Oct. 5, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 572
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Alert Logic provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for cust...
Oct. 5, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,360
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated a...
Oct. 5, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 415