Essential Elements of a Business Continuity Solution – Part 1

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I was glued to the news coverage and wondering how those in the worst-hit areas were faring.  I couldn’t help but wonder how its victims would recover.  Did they have flood insurance? Will it cover their losses? How long will it take them to rebuild?

Working in IT, I couldn’t help but wonder how many businesses lost data because of server damage caused by the flooding. Did they have an IT business continuity plan? Did it work well enough for them to resume operations quickly? Too many businesses who think they’ve planned for the worst have a solution that doesn’t perform as they’d hoped when something happens (from accidentally deleting a file to a force of nature).

Events like Sandy are a stark reminder about why an effective IT business continuity plan is so important.  In this blog, and in part two, let’s talk about why we need a good BC solution, why we don’t implement one , our options for backup and recovery, and the features of an effective solution.

Why you need a backup and recovery solution

When servers go down or data is lost, your business is completely disrupted.  How worried should you be? The statistics are sobering.
  • Small companies lose an average of $25,000 a year to system downtime.
  • Catastrophic data loss causes 75% of SMBs to fail. If they lose access for 10+ days, it jumps to over 90%.
  • 43% of computer users back up their data only once a year or never; 36% do so only monthly.
  • Nearly 25% of PC users lose data each year due to user error, theft, hardware failure, or other forces.
  • When hardware fails, the chance of a 2nd failure is 33%. The chance of a 3rd failure jumps to over 50%.

Why don’t most businesses have an effective solution?

Many small and medium businesses (SMBs) don’t protect their data because they think it’s too difficult or expensive. Others are so busy performing core business activities, they just don’t get around to it. Still others don’t appreciate the risks. So their strategy essentially consists of hoping that nothing bad happens.

Even businesses that try to address this critical need (backing up data to external drives or tape) find their efforts less reliable than they think.
  • 75% of tested tape backups fail, and only about 35% of businesses routinely test their tapes.
  • Manual backups are time-consuming and labor intensive.
  • A data dump can’t act as a failover server, and down-time can run into days or weeks.
  • On-site backups are as likely to be destroyed by physical threats as servers.
  • Physically transporting data offsite is expensive, inconvenient and risk-prone.

Your backup and recovery options

Backup has come a long way from manually copying data onto external drives or tape.  There are many solutions available for SMBs, from software programs that copy user files to the cloud up to a completely managed service that continuously backs up and monitors your servers.

The challenge for SMBs is to find a solution that is easy, effective and affordable.  For most, that involves a solution that is somewhere between the two extremes, providing the level of service and cost that is appropriate for their needs. This often involves an integrated hardware/software solution that incorporates and automates the best practices of the business continuity field.

What should an effective IT business continuity solution include?

In Part 2 of this blog, I will cover the best practices that a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution should provide.  Hint: it encompasses more than just making a copy of your user data!

Zenith Infotech’s BDR-G12 business continuity solution protects businesses from the unexpected. At a price that can’t be beaten, BDR-G12 makes peace of mind just a click away. To learn more about BDR-G12, visit http://www.zenithinfotech.com/en/Solutions/Backup%20and%20disaster%20recovery.aspx


Maurice Saluan is senior VP of sales for Zenith Infotech as well as seasoned sales veteran in the managed service arena. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s Platinum sponsorship. Find all of Saluan’s blog entries here.
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