|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.
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
May. 26, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,739
As machines are increasingly connected to the internet, it’s becoming easier to discover the numerous ways Industrial IoT (IIoT) is helping to shape the business world. This is exactly why we have decided to take a closer look at this pervasive movement and to examine the desire to connect more things! Now if you need a refresher on IIoT and how it is changing the world, take a moment and listen to Greg Gorbach with ARC Advisory Group. Gorbach believes, "IIoT will significantly change the worl...
May. 26, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,850
As the rapid adoption of containers continues, companies are finding that they lack the operational tools to understand the behavior of applications deployed in these containers, and how to identify issues in their application infrastructure. For example, how are multiple containers within an application impacting each other’s performance? If an application’s service is degraded, which container is to blame? In the case of an application outage, what was the root cause of the outage?
May. 26, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,835
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 26, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,217
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 26, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,948
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
May. 26, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,315
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 26, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,062
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
May. 26, 2016 12:48 PM EDT Reads: 227
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 26, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,985
18th Cloud Expo, taking place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some...
May. 26, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,011
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
May. 26, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,849
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, will explore the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences betwee...
May. 26, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,564
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 26, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,000
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's [email protected] at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, high-productivity enterprise web applications for any device. SmartClient couples the industry’s broadest, deepest UI component set with a java server framework to deliver an end-...
May. 26, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,993
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 26, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,185