Business Continuity Overcoming Data Loss and Downtime

Fear. Confusion. Despair. It unfolds like a nightmare, except it’s actually happening in your workplace: you’re at the centre when there’s a data loss disaster, and with spirit-crushing agony, you realize you won’t be able to restore your systems quickly enough to meet your company’s most urgent needs.

The most frightful and threatening experience is when you lose all your data, as all companies will, which leads to delay in how you do business, lose fortune in productivity and revenue, and watch helpless as customers get frustrated.

In fact, according to a recent ITIC study, 98% of organizations report that a single hour of downtime costs them $100,000 or more, while 81% state that the hourly cost is $300,000 or more. And those are just averages: the actual duration and cost of an outage can be far higher, even for small-to-medium sized businesses, often reaching millions of dollars per incidence.

Watch out—and be sure “disaster recovery” applies to your company, not your career.

Standard metrics, substandard results

Data protection has traditionally focused on two key metrics—Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which measures the time it takes to restore your data, and Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which measures how much data you’re willing to lose in an outage.Over the years, IT professionals have often focused on RTO as the primary way to guarantee a business to getback to normal. Many organizations can now get their data back online lickety-split—doing it in mere minutes, rather than hours or days.

Does this solve the problem? Not necessarily. That’s because the other key element—the age of your dataalso plays a vital role in whether you’re able to recover from disaster. With RTO, you will be able to  back up your data in the blink of an eye. But what if your last backup was 10 hours ago, and the data cannot be restored or fulfil any customer orders that were placed during that time span? You would lose revenue that was already a “done deal,” without ever knowing who placed the lost orders or whether there was a chance of converting them into long-term customers who would provide significant lifetime value.

Budget concerns, a cost-cutting straightjacket

There is a need to establish the RTOs and RPOs that are right for your systems and applications. But budget is always a factor. In terms of RPO, you simply may not have the necessary funds allocated to your IT department to successfully back up all your data as frequently as needed. Infrastructure and people costs can gobble up funds quicklyand limit how many resources you can commit to a backup solution capable of supporting RPOs of minutes.

Unfortunately, to meet these budget restrictions, many organizations are forced to give a back seat to performance. It’s a case of the old “penny wise and pound foolish” recipe for disaster. Tightening the purse strings may look wise in the short term, often with executive-level backing, but it can later create great problems.

Increasing complexity, non-sustainable status quo

Perhaps the biggest change in data protection over the past few years is the level of complexity in your IT environment. That’s because there are so many moving parts that createsmore confusion and friction, leading to delays in recovery time. Consider the following:

Variety of options are available today. We are dealing with on-premises, cloud, hybrid and virtual environments, big data, video and photo. All dispersed on mobile devices around the globe, which must be protected, most likely with varying Service Level Agreements (SLA).

More backup mechanism and vendor mean more hassles. You may have a great local backup system, but it is quite possible to not be connected to the cloud. Or your cloud backup may be managed by a different vendor than who handles your data centers. When we talk about mobile backups we look at individual app providers. It’s to the point where Gartner reports that average midsize companies have 3+ backup solutions as part of their decentralized operations, with a quarter of these companies looking to switch vendors as soon as possible.

Data is siloed and unequal. Given the many environments above, your company’s data is probably siloed in many locationsin your data center, in the public cloud, at a remote location, etc . But the data is not only separated by where it’s housed, it’s separated by degrees of importance. Your IT team should be well versed to restore Point of Sale (POS) data in a few minutes rather than restoring a presentation from a marketing conference two years ago. You must be ready to execute a first-to-last action plan when downtime and data loss occurs. Easier said than done—a lot easier.

With so much complexity in today’s computing environment, it’s fair to say we’ve entered a new computing era. However, it’s likely your business continuity plans were put in place during the preceding erawhen the path to data recovery was clearer and simpler. Hence it is imperative to devise plans that with reduce your costs, remove complexity while reducing downtime and eliminating data loss.

Authored by: Nikhil Korgaonkar, Regional Sales Director India & SAARC, Arcserve.

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