Now that disaster recovery (DR) is as big a concern among CIOs as it is for potential customers, a piecemeal solution combining in-house servers with several off-site backups will no longer suffice.
Ensuring business continuity for internal and external customers in the midst of a disaster can separate your business — and your leadership — from the pack. And, in a short manner of time, it will be a minimum requirement for even the SME crowd.
According to a study by KPMG, 20 per cent of all organisations will undergo some type of disaster during a five-year period. And 40 per cent of businesses that survive a disaster will go out of business within a two-year timeframe. As businesses become more aware of their vulnerability, the demand for comprehensive disaster recovery will only escalate.
As your organisation considers a disaster recovery plan and begins vetting solution providers, question their ability to meet these DR requirements.
1. Do they cover the DR gamut? Before diving into the details of each component, make sure you’re dealing with a full-suite DR solution. Verify they offer:
- Server infrastructure services that cover assessment and reporting to demonstrate the state of your data, optimised server architecture to create the appropriate solution and hosting/management of systems infrastructure to ensure your data isn’t compromised if your location has been compromised.
- Enterprise storage infrastructure, primarily data security and management, that guarantees the data that supports the processes is unharmed and available.
- Strategies and solutions for DR as well as business continuity that go beyond hardware and data to prescribe the actions everyone from senior management to the janitor should take in the event of a disaster.
2. What recovery time does the provider offer? The answer will vary from organisation to organisation and situation to situation. But after providing a glimpse of your services and size, expect fairly concrete answers during the proposal process. Focus on the two key areas of recovery time:
- Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) – the time necessary for your business systems to return to functionality after a disaster.
- Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) – the time necessary for the most recently saved data to become available after a disaster.
Of course, the time necessary for recovery goes hand-in-hand with the DR system’s availability. As you negotiate the service-level agreement, look for an extremely high guaranteed server and network availability number, usually 99.9 per cent. During the 2011 floods and cyclone that hit Queensland, Datacom was able to help one metals producer maintain 100 per cent uptime throughout the disaster and offer 24/7 remote support.
3. What stability and scalability do the company offer? The concept of stability goes far beyond hardware, processes and data recovery for a quality DR provider. You’ll need a service provider that can grow with your organisation and remain in it for the long haul. Be sure to discuss scalability and flexibility. Can the provider adapt to your evolving organisation? Is it at the bleeding-edge of technology, procedures and thought leadership? Is it prepared for your pending expansion?
If the DR provider you’re evaluating meets these criteria, you’ll be well on your way to launching a comprehensive DR solution that ensures business continuity during the unexpected.