Employing the Cloud to Make sure Enterprise Continuity

In today’s fast-paced society, companies of all sizes need affordable ways to deliver quality IT services reliably and continuously.  One of the key benefits of cloud computing, one that is also often overlooked, is how cloud computing can help ensure business continuity, as well as speedy disaster recovery.  Cloud hosting offers a low-cost disaster recovery and business continuity solution for small to midsize businesses and a more cost-effective DR alternative to larger, cost-conscious corporations.

With the cloud as your disaster recovery solution, you can use your in-house systems to run your core business and work with a cloud hosting provider for your business continuity and disaster protection.  With cloud hosting, your data and software are replicated automatically in the cloud, creating increased redundancy.  You don’t have to buy extra hardware or software to mirror your data center environment.  Instead, cloud servers can be easily partitioned to create multiple environments in the cloud, and these cloud servers can be spun up and configured in a matter of minutes.  In addition, with cloud computing and cloud storage, you only pay for the resources you use, so the cost is minimal.

A cloud-based disaster recovery/business continuity solution works well for any business with a low tolerance for downtime and data loss.  For example, most SMBs and larger businesses today fall into this category, rather than the local irrigation maintenance company, who may be able to survive a week without their data.  Businesses like hospitals have very minimal tolerance for downtime and data loss due to the urgency and sensitivity of their data.

With cloud hosting from a premier cloud hosting provider like Atlantic.Net, your data and applications reside in an offsite, secure data center facility with a backup, uninterrupted power supply, and dedicated support staff to support business continuity in any situation.

DR and Crisis Management

Recently, DR/BCP professionals have sent me inquiries about how to handle crisis management or crisis communication, especially during a DR event.  DR/BCP professionals may be highly involved in managing a data or system recovery and unable to devote attention to managing the entire crisis that may result. They need crisis management professionals on their team.  It wouldn’t be practical to have a crisis management professional on each DR/BCP team, but it w0uld be an excellent time to partner with the corporate or organizational crisis management/crisis communication professional.

I’ve done Incident Management Team training for private sector organizations, sometimes at several of their critical facilities across the nation.  The Incident Command System (ICS) model provides a framework for integrating crisis management, crisis communication and DR/BCP operations when disaster strikes.  Most private sector organizations have found ICS to be extremely helpful and affordable if it has be tailored to their business and presented by consultants who understand both the private and public sector uses of ICS.  Private sector CEOs also see the benefit in being compatible with public emergency response organizations.

Crisis management is NOT DR/BCP.  It is a necessary subset.  In my experience, ICS can be taught from the bottom up, rather than the traditional top-down, command and control orientation.  I teach private sector Incident Management Teams that the key figure in response is the Operations Section Chief (the DR/BCP CIO or designee in the case of an IT emergency). This is the person and section that can “fix the problem,” as Ed Devlin would say. All other ICS positions are there to support the Operations Section. I like the Incident Commander (ICS term) to be thought of as an “Incident Manager.”

How are you prepared to manage a crisis and to communicate critical information to stakeholders? Do you have crisis management expertise to support you DR/BCP resiliency team?

DRJ’s and Market Conferences’ Most Beneath-Valued Advantage

After every conference I undoubtedly get a variation of the same question, “How was the show? How was the attendance?” And every year I give the same response…… “Show was great. Wish the attendance was a bit higher.” I think we all know that BCP and DR are some of the first casualties of budget cuts. Well, conference privileges get cut before BCP and DR. As we go into budget season for most organizations I suggest you fight a bit harder to attend local and national conferences. Sure we all benefit from the content and keeping up with the latest technology but one of the most under-valued benefits of attending conferences is the networking that just happens. Networking doesn’t just happen in the sessions or at the vendor exhibits. It can certainly also happen at the bar, or at the Gym, or while checking out the local surroundings. This networking is very hard to report back on, but I believe in this virtual world we live in now that one hand shake at a conference can create an everlasting relationship….. For the record this blog is purely the opinion of Fairchild Consulting and the Arnold’s had nothing to do with influencing this blog ;o)

The Value of a Disaster Recovery Plan

It is extremely important for businesses to have a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in place for situations where downtime or data loss may affect the business’ ability to continue operating smoothly and effectively.  To protect your data, it is essential that you know what you’ve got, understand what’s at risk, and then create a Disaster Recovery plan to keep risk at a minimum.

Disaster Recovery ties directly into business continuity because with so many businesses relying on their websites and/or the Internet in general, the loss of data could greatly affect their revenue.  The reality is that if your information system is taken down due to a flood, malware, hack attack, etc., you have both a business continuity and disaster recovery issue on your hands.

When putting together a Disaster Recovery plan, there are several key factors that will need to be considered so that the plan is as effective as possible.  Take the following factors into consideration when creating a DR plan for your business:

  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – What is your business’ objective time in which you should be able to restore systems to a point where you can carry out the impacted operations, even perhaps with limited functionality?
  • Maximum Tolerable Downtime (MTD) – How much downtime can your business handle before the impact of this downtime becomes long term and results in substantial loss?
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – At what point can your business cope with data loss?  This will determine whether your business should implement data backup routines consisting of constant synchronization, daily backups, weekly backups, etc.

Having a Disaster Recovery plan in place will allow your business to recover from disaster in a relatively short amount of time because of the protocols in place to restore lost data, as well as to restore hardware resources that have been affected.

Atlantic.Net has been recognized by top disaster recovery hosting professionals throughout the world and has been chosen by the Disaster Recovery Journal as their official data center