Thursday, April 05, 2012

Disaster Recovery Is Now a Service

It’s one of those days that’s warm, too warm. The skies are darkening and its eerily quiet. It’s the kind of day when bad things can happen quickly. You don’t have to wait long. The skies quickly darken, the wind picks up and there is a roaring noise that grows louder by the moment. The next sound you hear is the storm sirens going off all over town. You run for cover in the basement storage area where you are protected. Up above, windows shatter and you can hear the wrenching sound of metal being ripped from the roof and sides of the building. Then the chaos dies down and it’s quiet again. You go up the stairs and open the door to see...

Can you recover from this level of destruction?What you see is a landscape littered with debris to the horizon. That includes what little is left of your business. File cabinets, computers, server racks, desks and what used to be office walls are strewn in all directions. You spent a decade going into business and a half hour going out of business. Is it even possible to pick up the pieces and keep going?

Every year many long established businesses face this scenario or one of equal consequence. The utter destruction of sudden unexpected disaster knocks them out of business so hard that they just can’t put it back together again. Without some sort of disaster planning, all that critical business information on hard drives, CD-ROM backups, as paper files in thin metal file cabinets and cardboard storage boxes can be annihilated right before your eyes. You have no order records, you have no customers lists, you have no written procedures, you have no tax files, you have no proprietary drawings. Years, even decades of writing, drawing, entering data, making notes and carefully organizing it all vanishes. Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes of digital data representing the sum total of your business knowledge is smashed beyond retrieval. Worse, the cost and time involved in putting it all back in place are too much to bear. It’s time to pack it in.

Does any of that send a shudder up your spine? It should. Unless you’ve put bulletproof disaster recovery processes in place you are vulnerable. At this point it’s just a matter of time before the worst happens. The good fortune that’s smiled upon you up till now might not be there tomorrow... and there’s no way to know when that tomorrow will be. Doesn’t it make a lot of sense to take control now and put measures in place that can ensure the continuity of your business?

The advent of the cloud is creating some opportunities for disaster prevention and recovery that were hard to do previously. For instance, you know that you need copies of everything critical to your business stored in at least two places. Your computer hard drive and the desk drawer with the backup disks isn’t even close to adequate. Smaller companies may choose to have a safe or storage room for backup materials. Larger operations can afford a second data center across town. In the event of a massive tornado, hurricane, earthquake, flood or fire that devastates an entire city, neither business is protected. They are both wiped out because the disaster claims their primary and backup data.

The nice thing about the cloud is that you can pick a cloud that is located far away. It’s unlikely that any man made or natural disaster is going to wipe out geographically separated data centers at the same time. Certainly it makes sense to backup your electronic data to the cloud, but what if you could replicate your entire electronic operation in the cloud?

This is the service that Windstream is offering with their Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). The idea is to replicate your physical and virtual servers in the Windstream cloud. It’s not just a place to go and get new IT resources to replace what you’ve lost. This is a system that shadows your data center operations on a continuous basis. In effect you have a real business operating in-house and a virtual copy running in the cloud. They operate in parallel until something happens that puts your local operation out of commission. Then you pick-up where you left off using the cloud copy of your business. Once you get re-established locally, you sync your new data center with the cloud and your are back in business as if nothing ever happened.

Would you sleep better knowing that your business is protected by a mirror image in the cloud? If this sound like that type of service that you would find valuable, then check out cost and features of disaster recovery as a service for your particular business. It’s the continuity insurance that no paper insurance policy can provide.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

Note: Photo of tornado destruction courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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