How to Make Disaster Recovery Work for Your SMB

doodle building earthquakeHave you ever lost your phone and not had your data backed up anywhere? That was probably a really bad day for you. Or has your mother called you in a panic because she accidentally deleted that letter she was about to send to the women’s church group, and she can’t find a saved copy anywhere? Talk about drama.

Most of us have lost files or personal data at one time or another. It is a royal pain when that happens.

But for a business, loss of data can be catastrophic.

Have you given much thought to your business’s disaster recovery plans?

The Difference Between iCloud and Business-Level Disaster Recovery

Data backup has been around long enough that most people understand what it is, even if they don’t know exactly how it works.

You probably know that you can send your important data somewhere and retrieve it if you lose their original. Apple created iCloud for this very purpose (well, that and to make more money). You can back up your entire phone – music, contacts, calendars, etc. – to iCloud and restore it to a new phone if you flush yours down the toilet.

This type of data backup and data restoration is one type of disaster recovery in its simplest form.

Business-level disaster recovery is on a much bigger scale.

If your business has terabytes of data constantly being sent to a server and that server crashes, it can take several days (or even weeks) to get a new server, set it up and restore all that data. By that time you may be out of business.

“Disaster recovery” means many things, but in business it means being able to recover from a disaster in the timeframe defined by and acceptable to the business.

For some businesses, being down a day might not be a big deal; for others being down 10 minutes is life threatening. So the first step in disaster recovery is defining what is best for your business and then creating a disaster recovery plan to support it.

With more and more businesses needing to work from anywhere at any time on any device, the importance of having a solid disaster recovery plan and process is now mission critical. You not only need to know your data is being backed up, you need to know you can recover it and be back online within your defined timeframe.

How Your IT Support Team Prepares for Your Disaster Recovery

Let’s take email for example. For most businesses email has become a critical application – it cannot be down for more than an hour. If your email is down, you need to know with certainty that it will be back up and running within the hour. You don’t care how it happens, only that it does.

To make this happen, your IT staff or IT vendor has to have technology and infrastructure in place before the disaster happens, and ideally the process of recovery should be automated.

Your email may be stored in a datacenter in Dallas and backed up to external storage in that datacenter. But what if that datacenter goes down? You’re out of luck unless that data has been copied, a.k.a. “replicated,” to a second site in another city. Not only that, there needs to be infrastructure (machines, servers, etc.) in that second datacenter that can run the email software.

To have true disaster recovery, your data must be replicated offsite to a location that also has the spare hardware ready and waiting to kick into action if your primary location fails.

Types of Disaster Recovery Solutions

Disaster recovery can be done using multiple methods based on criticality. The solution you choose typically comes down to speed and money. The quicker you need your systems back online, the more expensive the disaster recovery solution. Here are a few examples –

  1. Cold Recovery – Data is backed up to a second site but there is no hardware onsite to bring up the systems. Hardware must be brought in, configured and connected to the data to get back online.
  2. Warm Recovery – Data is backed up to a second site, and hardware is ready and available but not running. When a disaster is declared the systems are brought online and users are rerouted to that location.
  3. Hot Recovery – Data is backed up to a second site, and hardware is running and consistently in sync with the primary site. When a disaster happens in the primary location users are automatically rerouted to the second location, never missing a beat.

Because the cost for each type of recovery varies, not every business or every business application falls into one category. In fact, a single business may find it needs some of all three based on the criticality of their business applications, the season of the year (think Christmas retail) or even the time of the week (think Realtors on the weekend). Some systems may not even need to be covered by disaster recovery at all.

DRaaS Today: Easy and Affordable

Disaster recovery is usually something businesses think about – always on their mind and to-do list. But often for the small-to-medium-sized business it just never quite gets done. With the cloud, disaster recovery is now very affordable and fast to implement, even for SMBs. You no longer need to purchase, manage and support all the hardware, software and IT labor to create a disaster recovery infrastructure.

Any business can now use the cloud to selectively choose what they want and need for disaster recovery, and they can use a cloud provider to provide those disaster recovery services (now called Disaster Recovery as a Service, or DRaaS).

At Fluid, we have many clients that use our Disaster Recovery services and replicate only the critical systems they need to one of our datacenters. They sleep much better at night knowing if they have a disaster here in Dallas, they can be up and running in minutes in San Jose. And that peace of mind comes at a very affordable price. In fact, it’s a fraction of the cost of business being down for hours or days.

You might be surprised at just how easy and affordable it is to implement a disaster recovery solution for your business. Times have changed, and so have capabilities and cost. If you really want to protect your most valuable business assets – your data – call us today and find out how a disaster recovery solution can work for you!