By Dan Tully, executive vice president, Conduit Systems
According to a 2009 National Archives and Record Administration report, 93 percent of companies that lost data for 10 days or more, filed for bankruptcy within one year, and 50 percent of those companies filed for bankruptcy immediately. Disasters can strike at any time, and in any form. Power failures, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, snow storms, data breaches, and human error are just some of the ways that a business can be seriously affected. The up-front and hidden costs of downtime to repair your business can be just as devastating.
Hurricane Sandy, still the freshest example that comes to mind, caused an estimated $50 billion in damages, rendered numerous office buildings and IT systems unusable and without power, and even lowered the nation’s gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2012. For many, Sandy serves as a reminder that long gone are the days when data centers were the nerve centers of only the market titans. Today, they are just as critical to ensuring the business continuity of SMBs. But you already knew that.
According to Computer Economics, companies outsourcing disaster recovery rose from a low of 34 percent in 2009 to 44 percent in 2012. Much of that growth came in 2012, which accompanied a recovery in IT spending and outsourcing. As disaster recovery planning continues to become more widespread, choosing the right data back-up solution in a market flooded with options becomes the tricky part. As we move deeper into the calendar year, staving off risk, reviewing your disaster recovery options and ensuring the continued operation of your business might just be the best investment of your time.
The data and information that small businesses collect and retain is their most precious commodity and protecting it is essential. Disaster recovery as a service has grown more popular, offering the potential for greater flexibility, reduced costs, and simpler, more frequent and less expensive testing. When disaster strikes, the cloud offers a recovery speed that is second-to-none. Cloud as a backup solution is often best utilized for SMBs with a sizeable mobile work force. In such situation, employees do not log in and connect to a central location; therefore, each time they connect to the Internet data is pushed to cloud-based servers where it can be easily retrieved in the event of a disaster. This approach requires no transportation and minimal risk of data loss due to theft.
Tape Backup and Records Management
Traditional backup via tape is a decades-old standard in the industry, and for good reason. The method is efficient, reliable and cost-effective. With its long shelf life and low cost, it remains an optimal data back-up solution. However, with reliability comes latency. Data placed on tapes is slower to retrieve compared to more modern, digital solutions and the solution has a high impact on network bandwidth. For this reason tape backup is often a method of last resort. But with reliability in mind, tape backup is without a doubt the most dependable option available.
The Hybrid Approach: Cloud-Integrated Backup
Not all SMBs are comfortable placing all their data in the cloud, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, customizable solutions exist specifically for SMBs that hold this preference. The hybrid, cloud-integrated backup approach simplifies backup by providing seamless access to data while providing an invaluable tool for ensuring continuity when faced with an emergency. With the installation of an appliance on-premise (physical or virtual), a cache of information is collected, duplicated and pushed to the cloud in real-time for storage. This is true disaster recovery in every sense of the term. When catastrophe strikes, the most up-to-date information is readily available to be pulled down on to a new server.
IT systems are critical to the vitality of SMBs. Ensuring their rapid, post-disaster recovery and continued operation is an effort that cannot be underestimated. No matter where you are in the selection process, just being cognizant of data backup is a major step. When you have a recovery plan in place, there is less need to worry when the next disaster strikes.