After a disaster such as a flood, businesses may face extended periods of costly downtime.

Maintaining business continuity with disaster recovery

Stephen Perkins

Many organizations fail to consider the importance of a comprehensive business continuity strategy until disaster strikes. When disruptive events such as sustained power outages or natural disasters occur, access to mission-critical data files may be temporarily cut off, if not lost entirely. This can adversely affect a business' ability to regroup and continue operations following an incident. It is essential that organizations have a data protection and backup solution in place to restore their critical systems without delay.

The Globe and Mail contributor Tony Wilson recently highlighted the need for a comprehensive business continuity plan by examining the damaging effects of flooding activity in Calgary, Canada. He noted that 350,000 commuters were unable to get to their place of business for days and an untold amount of destruction was heaped upon local organizations. While companies wait for repairs to be completed and systems to be brought online, the costs of running  a business continue to amass, even as operations have ceased to bring in any revenue streams. 

"Even during an emergency, business owners will still have to pay for rent, taxes, and the salaries of key employees that are indispensable to the business, presuming non-key employees have been laid off temporarily while the business is closed," Wilson wrote. "And of course, just because your business might be able to open up a couple of weeks after the emergency is over, it might be that your key supplier of widgets needed to manufacture your products is closed for an extended period of time, forcing you to source out to other (more expensive) suppliers."

Implementing a cost-effective disaster recovery plan
Businesses can mitigate the cost of operational downtime by having an effective disaster recovery plan in place. According to Director of Finance contributor Matt Rhodes, company leaders can reduce the cost of investment of these endeavors by taking on some of the responsibility for implementation themselves. He stated that the first step to deploying a cost-effective data recovery program is to develop a thorough plan of action. This includes analyzing the potential impact downtime could have on the enterprise and determining an acceptable length of time for operations to cease, developing contingencies and testing the finalized plan. 

Once a suitable plan is in place, businesses can then go about choosing the right disaster recovery solution to implement. Rhodes explained that small and medium-sized businesses may be able to reduce their cost of investment by implementing an inactive/active disaster recovery tool. With this flexible model, clients can directly control which data and systems are backed up and are only charged a fee when new information is uploaded to the service.

Categories: Disaster Recovery