Tag Archive for disaster recovery

Weighing the Costs of Backup and Recovery

Weighing the costs of backup and recoveryWith technology critical to all organizations no matter their size, both profit and non-profit leaders are betting their company’s life on having the right systems in place at the right time. Some leaders look at technology as a mere accounting expense. Although one does not need to be a CPA to manage an organization’s finances, a basic understanding of the concepts is required to make sound financial decisions for the business. When it comes to technology the same applies in order to make informed decisions on the IT budget. For example, a basic understanding of data storage is important when projecting costs related to backup and recovery in case of a disaster.

As would be expected, storage requirements and protection of the data can range widely in price depending on the vertical market of the company (see Gartner IT spending forecast for 2013 below*). For instance, data storage needs differ greatly between a bank and a non-profit. In the former, high-availability storage is needed for fast access to critical data so speed and performance with absolutely no down time is imperative (requiring a higher investment); in the latter, stored data may be less critical and thus can be backed up on less expensive media with longer intervals between full backups.

Knowing the risk of data loss and weighing that against the investment in appropriate computer hardware and software is also critical. One just needs to look at the damage inflicted upon the telecommunications industry following Hurricane Sandy in 2012**. A lack of investment in infrastructure was to blame for widespread outages. The damage hammered the credibilty and was a financial blow to telecom providers; even spuring an FCC inquiry***.  Despite this, and other natural as well as man-made disasters, many businesses are still not implementing disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity.

One way to get on track is to do disaster recovery and business continuity prepartion audit.  Many of my company’s partners can provide this service and I am happy to refer you – please email me here at tom@tomfedro.com if I can be of assistance.

Sources:

* IT Spending To See Modest Growth In 2013, Informationweek, January 04, 2013.

**Looking beyond Hurricane Sandy, CounterPunch.org, November 15, 2012.

*** FCC holds Hurricane Sandy hearings into telecom failures, fixes, NJ.com, February 05, 2013.

 

Business Continuity in the Wake of Sandy

Tom FedroOctober 29, 2012 will live in the history of the North East United States as an epic disaster. Two days after Sandy, the superstorm, there were still millions of people and businesses without power. Homes and commercial property were flooded, communities devastated. The loss of human life and the emotional toll on all the survivors has been almost unprecedented. For the average company in the area, Sandy put business continuity and disaster recovery plans to the test.  Statistics point to the prospect of many of the effected businesses may never recover.  How did your plan hold up?

If you were fortunate enough to miss the megastorm, then consider it a wake up call. If you were one of the victims and you are conducting a post-disaster audit, then there are some points to evaluate while doing so.

  • Did your communications procedures and processes perform as planned?
  • Was everyone trained and prepared to conduct their responsibilities before and after the storm?
  • How long did it take to get the business up and running and how does it compare to your estimates?
  • Did gaps in your recovery plan appear?
  • Did the business recovery plans integrate well among all departments?

At Paragon Software, we are experts in the processes and technology required to prepare for and, when necessary, rapidly recover from disasters like Sandy.  With our consulting services our resellers and their customers are able to evaluate and design disaster recovery procedures and processes uniquely tuned to their needs. More information on this service can be found at http://paragon-downloads.com/disaster-recovery-planning.

The Growth of the Disaster Recovery Software Market Segment

By Tom Fedro

As storage and data management demands continue to grow year after year, sales of storage and disaster recovery software have undergone dramatic growth as well. Just about every company today relies on systems and data management software for efficient operation and data protection. Although the first mention of this kind of disaster recovery technology occurred in the 1970s, it wasn’t for decades that the importance was fully realized. Back then, technology really wasn’t intertwined with a company’s operations the way it is now.  Today, most companies would find it strange to think of technology processes and business operations as independent, the way we find it strange when we watch a TV show from the 1980s and see people using pay phones instead of smart phones.

Although technology is still advancing at breakneck speed, the data protection industry is essentially mature, and a number of companies fight for market share. When a business decides to determine which solution is correct, there are some important considerations that need to go into the decision-making process. First and foremost, they need to conduct a needs assessment / analysis.

Too often, this step is skipped. Companies tend to examine what’s available and make choices based on the four or five alternatives they come across. That’s the wrong way to do business. The smartest people in the world make mistakes like this one, but they shouldn’t! There are a couple of cardinal rules about shopping at the grocery store that come to mind – First, never shop hungry; you end up overbuying. In the same manner, don’t wait for a crisis to buy your disaster recovery software; you’ll end up buying more than you need in most cases.

The second rule: shop with a list. Without a list you end up buying food you don’t need and you forget items that should be in the cart on the way to the car. In the world of technology, your list is called a needs assessment. Sit down with your tech department and your operations team to figure out what you need. Here are some conversation starters.

  1. How much data can we afford to lose in a given period of time? One week? One day? One hour? This answer will tell you how regular your backups will need to be, and thus how important the ease of backup and the interruption the procedures cause will become to your decision making.
  2. How reliant on the systems is each department? It’s possible your inside sales department could handle a few hours of downtime. On the other hand, it might cripple your accounting department. When you’ve got all the information, you not only have criteria to determine purchasing based on restore times but also a blueprint for which departments should receive first attention from your IT department in the event of catastrophic failure.
  3. Which particular elements of the system or the data are most critical? If your employees have a dramatic need for email but not other documents, you’ll want software that can provide tools for partial and immediate restoration of that critical information (commonly called granular restore) while the rest of the system comes on line.

Don’t fall into the “Ready, Fire, Aim!” trap. Make your technology decisions like you make other business decisions. Identify the correct solution first. Then go out and get it.