Making Disaster Recovery a Priority for Your Small Business

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If you run a small or medium-sized business, you’ve probably experienced a pain or two of frustration after reading story after story about how you should be implementing a complete disaster recovery plan. These stories are inevitably filled with great tips, but many businesses don’t have the resources or capital to implement them.

This may leave you facing a conundrum, something along the lines of, “If I spend the time and money needed to implement the kind of disaster recovery plan they’re talking about, I won’t have any time and money left to run my business.  But if I don’t, and I lose my data in a disaster, I’m out of business.”           

Thankfully, there is a middle ground here. InformationWeek recently offered up four key disaster recovery tips for small and mid-sized businesses. In no particular order, along with our thoughts:

  • Lose the cloud fear. The magazine quotes a company’s CIO/CFO as saying that “moving to hosted platforms can help IT pros create a DR plan without separate costs.” We agree. In fact, Windstream offers an entire range of managed solutions options, from simple cloud-based backup to hosting your company’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). With Windstream’s disaster recovery and backup solutions, businesses have the ability to encrypt their backup and hold the encryption key, so they can realize the cost economies of a public cloud environment while knowing their data is absolutely secure. Whatever option you choose, know that keeping your data secure and available should be your provider’s top priority so that it’s there when you need it most.
  • Stop fretting over ROI. If you think of a disaster recovery plan as an insurance plan, the magazine argues, you can easily get past the traditional ROI discussions. That’s a reasonable way to justify the expense associated, but that shouldn’t give you carte blanche to spend exorbitant amounts of money. We know that, and have developed a number of cost-effective disaster recovery plans to help you achieve your objectives.  Keep in mind that two the biggest benefits of cloud-based services are reduced costs and enhanced levels of service.
  • Become a pragmatist. The article says you should focus on which applications and systems require top priority and should be saved first, assuming you can’t save everything when a disaster hits. With all due respect, we disagree. In our recent Cloud Computing Predictions blog post, we noted that cloud reliability has progressed to the point where tiered levels of recovery are no longer required—or even desirable. We believe that high-availability implementations are easily deployed across the board. You shouldn’t have to pick and choose.
  • Put the plan through its paces. This may be the most important point.  Plans that aren’t tested and retested may be worse than having no plan at all. Untested plans sit and gather dust until they’re needed—at which point you discover that things have changed since you initially wrote the plan:  people have left, network configurations have changed. At Windstream, we work with you to ensure that what is supposed to work will work when you need it to work. 

These tips, of course, will work for companies of all sizes, but are especially applicable to SMBs.  We often hear people say, “If money were no object…”  Well, money is an object, of course. And how wisely you spend your IT budget on things like disaster recovery may well determine whether, down the road, you even have a company.