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8 minute readIT Disaster Recovery and Backup

How Do Disasters Occur and What to Do If You're Concerned About Your Data

Get an in-depth look at how emergencies happen and how data backup, colocation, professional services, and the right equipment can help you. Specific disaster recovery plans, refurbished hardware, on-site spares, and a robust backup platform will save the day.

Know Your Options in Dealing with Data Center Disasters

As the world becomes more connected and reliant on technology, it is important to know what can happen in a disaster and how best to plan and prepare to minimize the impact.

It doesn’t matter if you are a startup or an enterprise organization with sites around the world, when disasters happen, the impact on the business, technology, and its clients can be crippling.

Disaster recovery and backup solutions are becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes, but what should we plan for and how much is enough to ensure business continuity in 2022 and beyond?


Understanding the Impact of Disasters

Natural Disasters can impact your data centers for hours or days

There are emergencies that come and go almost overnight. Disasters like storms and floods might only directly impact your data centers for hours or days, with damage primarily confined to infrastructure, property, or individual IT equipment.

Longer-term consequences of serious catastrophes, however, can be significantly greater. With the increased interconnectivity of companies and businesses, the disruption caused by a disaster in one area often has many further-reaching effects.

For instance, the shipping freighter that got stuck in the Suez Canal had global implications on supply chains still being felt by Technology leaders six to eight months afterward.

In the case of major hurricanes, for example, businesses that are not directly affected can still experience significant issues due to the server, storage, communication, and transportation failures that can have an impact on employees, vendors, and customers, both near and across a continent.

This can result in widespread losses that go beyond property damage or loss of income. More importantly, it can lead to a decline in confidence amongst customers who might think twice before returning.

While it appears that environmental disasters are increasing in volume and severity, the importance of your disaster recovery plans increases in importance. The financial impact of such losses is considerable and, in many cases, business insurance is not sufficient to make up the shortfall. Better to avoid the problems before they come.

In the wake of major hurricanes, how many businesses closed down because they could not overcome their supply chain failures? Was it even worth trying to rebuild if you had no means of preventing another catastrophe from destroying everything again in a matter of years?

While consumers can have some sympathy for widespread environmental issues, when disasters are caused by human errors, that sympathy rapidly diminishes. The fact is disasters are avoidable and can be prevented if proper measures are taken to minimize the damage caused by such events.

It’s not just natural disasters that cause IT problems. Servers going down and insufficient storage can have catastrophic results for companies as well as their customers.


Disaster Recovery Solutions

Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions are focused on business continuity even in the case of disruptive events such as system crashes, natural disasters, political unrest, or other incidents. No matter why a system is down, a company should have a disaster recovery plan template as immediate recovery is needed.

IT Disaster Recovery Solutions

Backup. Data backup is the most common DR strategy and involves making periodic copies of information and holding that information locally as well as offsite. Your local instance may be the quickest piece of your business continuity plan even if it is not the most complete copy of the data. Backups are important to provide quick access to files. But when problems occur, backups stored offline and offsite (especially older tape-based systems) cannot be recovered fast enough to shorten the business disruption.

Multiple Sites. With DR solutions, organizations are encouraged to secure methods of replicating data, in real-time, across two or more sites in different locations. These sites are then used to provide redundancy, with the data continuously synchronized between locations. When selecting where the different sites should be, it is critical to consider the impact of a disaster. The triple redundancy rule states to have three backups, and one of them should always be off-site. Many companies look for sites in different cities and states to minimize the risk of any disruption. Global organizations often consider backup solutions in multiple countries to further protect themselves.

DRaaS. A newer technology that is gaining popularity is DRaaS: Disaster Recovery as a Service, and is similar to other SaaS services and is provided through the cloud. The added flexibility available through a DRaaS solution is considerable as it allows organizations to provision a DR site whenever they need one, without having to wait for the time and costs involved in setting up off-site infrastructure.

Disaster recovery as a service, is a category of cloud computing used for protecting an application or data from a natural or human disaster

Spares. Your data center team or maintenance provider should already be in the habit of stocking spares onsite for all of your critical IT equipment. It is important to store your spares in a protected location away from ground water and be secured from theft or accidental damage. These spare boxes are critical in keeping your data center functioning across a wide array of issues.

Used Equipment. When the OEM’s supply of replacement parts or equipment is impacted by disasters impacting global shipping, manufacturing, or the supply of raw materials, don’t forget used, refurbished, and certified pre-owned equipment. This equipment is typically widely available from trusted IT Support brands, can save you money, and can be up and running much faster than most OEM’s can order, build and ship your impacted equipment.

Pro Tip: As part of your business continuity plan, create a specific disaster recovery plan for your team to follow during an incident. This will help your team pro-actively think through a wide array of possible local and global disasters that could impact your technology infrastructure. This plan should detail how and who will respond to unplanned incidents, SLA for responding during certain situations, and how your team will work together to identify and resolve the issues. This plan will include a step-by-step process on how your team can alleviate the headaches associated with a disaster.

create a specific disaster recovery plan for your team

Your plan should involve an after actions report. Once a crisis is averted and your technology stack is back under control, have your team meet to discuss how you can improve your disaster recovery plan. This document is likely going to change after every disaster. Having a plan is super important but don’t be afraid to veer off the plan if necessary, not every situation can be accounted for.


Weighing the Options

It should be noted that not all disasters are alike: some may be natural dangers that affect warehouse locations, even if you are not located near the coast, while others could be product failure, affecting suppliers located only in a specific location.

Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana in mid-2021 and three days later the storm caused historic flooding as far as 1,300 miles away. This hurricane affected businesses across the northeastern United States including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

Likewise, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to disasters. Companies need to have many different and flexible plans that can be used when needed, based on the situation.

Third-Party Maintenance Is The Logical Solution

Disasters are a fact of life, but with the right partner, can be planned for and overcome. At Reliant Technology we can help you navigate potential disasters by creating a plan that works for you and your business.

Our team of experts is experienced in working with IT departments of every size and across multiple industries. We can help you choose the best Disaster Recovery solution, or solutions, for your company.

Reliant Technology will work with you to build a remote disaster recovery plan that will have you prepared for any unforeseen problems.  Contact us today, to learn how we can help you protect your infrastructure, now and in case of any challenges.

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

Reliant Technology Cares

Reliant Technology Cares

When you have Reliant Technology support your data center, you help us support SERV International and provide thousands of meals for starving children.

About Reliant Technology

As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.

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