5 Tips for Establishing a Data Center Disaster Recovery Plan

As businesses continue to utilize Internet technologies, data has become central to operations and productivity. Companies have a variety of data that they must manage and protect, such as employee information, customer details, policies and procedures, and so on. In many cases, companies use data centers to store their information. However, it’s important to establish a data center disaster recovery plan to ensure your business critical items are protected. Not sure where to start creating your data center disaster recovery plan? Here are 5 tips to help you get started.

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  1. 24/7 Availability: Disaster recovery plans typically need to accommodate high availability requirements, so make sure your data center provides 24/7 assistance.
  2. Overcome Redundancy Limitations: If your company requires full data redundancy, the hardware costs may be more than what you’ve budgeted for – especially if you have multiple sites that need a redundant connection. Fortunately, there are options to help you overcome any budget limitations, such as virtual machine snapshots or thin provisioning.
  3. Be Sure to Manage your Disaster Recovery Spending: In addition to managing redundancy costs, it’s important to sync your disaster recovery plan with your budget. Relocating vast amounts of data offsite to a data center facility can be quite costly if your company doesn’t have the technology to support it. Some companies have found great success in utilizing their existing WAN set up to transfer the data over their Internet connection.
  4. Learn from Mistakes: Disaster is the name of the game, and sometimes even the best laid plans aren’t enough. Companies that are in the early stages of their disaster recovery planning have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by others.
  5. Create a Plan with IT Members: Having the right hardware and software in place isn’t the only aspect of a disaster recovery plan – you need to have an actual plan. It’s important for your IT staff to sit down and create a plan that works best for the needs and requirements of the company.

Haven’t found a data center to store your company’s information? Find the right facility for your business by clicking here.

Data Loss and Business Downtime

Over the past year, computer users worldwide created 1.8 billion gigabytes of data. Much of that data was pertinent for business dealings and operations. Unfortunately, some of that data was also lost, causing expensive downtime for businesses – many of which will never recover from the loss.

There are several factors that commonly contribute to the loss of data. However, the two top causes of data loss are the failure of an uninterrupted power supply and human error. Some of the other top causes include exceeding UPS capacity, cyber-attacks, equipment failure, water incursion, weather-related issues and circuit breaker failure. There are several business continuity tactics and procedures that companies can put in place to prevent or diminish the impact. However, businesses need to implement a disaster recovery plan as well in case their prevention methods were not enough.

Of companies that lose a data center for 10 days, 93 percent file for bankruptcy within a year. Additionally, 43 percent of companies that experience such disasters never reopen. Only six percent of companies without a recovery plan will survive long term. Companies that design and implement a disaster recovery plan have a better chance of surviving catastrophic data loss.

First, businesses need to perform an impact analysis, which involves organizing the data by order of recovery importance. It is important to identify your company’s most valuable assets and critical business functions. These are the tools that must be preserved in an emergency in order to keep your business operational.

Next, companies should perform risk assessment in which they identify potential points of system failure and then take action to eliminate as many as possible. By proactively testing your operational functions for a weak spot, you may be able to prevent a larger problem from occurring. Finally, each company needs to manage their risks by instituting solutions that address points of vulnerability.

This infographic was supplied to us by SingleHop. SingleHop is dedicated to bringing cloud hosting solutions to businesses. They build and maintain hosted infrastructures for companies worldwide.

Is it Worth the Risk?

Surprisingly, there are several businesses that do not see the value in establishing a continuity plan to protect them from any unforeseen events that may disrupt their ability to operate. Even though the development of a business continuity plan can consume time and resources, the impact of not having one in place during a disaster is far greater. Below is a list of the ways in which an unexpected event can impair your business if you don’t have a plan in place.

  1. Customer Impact. Customers are the most valuable asset for any company. Ensuring that your customers are satisfied with the service or product that you are providing them is imperative. By having a business continuity plan in place, customers can be rest assured that any issues that may occur will be handled accordingly. Additionally, informing customers about your continuity plan will assist in managing their expectations if a disaster occurs.
  2. Loss of Company Information. Many companies store their data and information electronically. As a result, these electronic documents could be lost during an event if they are not stored properly. A loss of records can permanently impact a business as well as their customers.
  3. Loss of Revenue. Every minute that your company is down, the more money it will lose. If a disaster has rendered your business inoperable, your productivity will come to a halt. Several companies depend on technological devices to conduct their business. Without access to these devices, employees are not able to do their jobs.
  4. Damage to Company Reputation. If your company is not prepared for a disaster, it is likely that the situation will not be handled well. Under times of high stress, customer service may not be the first priority while restoring business operations. As a result, any existing customers may churn if their expectations are not met. Additionally, any loss of company or customer information during an event can reflect poorly on the business and result in a loss of potential customers.
  5. Loss of Employee Support. If your company does not have a plan in place, it is the employees on the front line that may be significantly impacted. These are the members of your staff that are in direct contact with customers, and it is critical that they convey confidence that the issue will be resolved. If your employee does not believe in the capabilities of your company, it may come through when they are communicating with customers. By having a continuity plan in place, your employees can be assured that any problems are being handled accordingly, and they can then pass that along to their customer contacts.

Having an understanding of how an unexpected event can harm your business is an important part of developing a plan. If your organization does not have a plan in place when disaster strikes, your entire company will be negatively impacted. By proactively planning for a disaster, your company can reduce the overall impact on your business and speed up recovery.

Fill out our complimentary Disaster Readiness Assessment to determine how prepared your company is by clicking here.

Blog posted by Vanessa Hartung.

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