Think Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery—It Could Be Another Wild Year

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The 2013 Hurricane Season Starts June 1st.

The big question is: How are your business continuity and disaster recovery plans shaping up? We almost hate to bring it up—but the official start of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1 and from all indications, it could be another rough year.

If you don’t have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan, it’s time to get started. And for those who do have plans in place, but haven’t yet reviewed and tested them, now would be a great time to start that process. Protecting and securing your IT infrastructure and data is a critical component of comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity strategies, so having plans solidified before a major storm is vital.

What could 2013 bring? In April, Weather Services International (WSI) released their predictions for another active tropical season with 16 named storms, nine hurricanes and five intense hurricanes. Colorado State University (CSU) also issued its first forecast for the season calling for 18 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes, with a 72% chance of one Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane making landfall on the U.S coastline—from Brownsville, Texas to Eastport, Maine. (By comparison, the average over the last century is 52%.) And as many know first-hand, you don’t have to be physically on the coast to be adversely affected by these storms.

If you’re preparing a business continuity and disaster recovery plan for the first time or evaluating and assessing your current plans, there are several data center technologies and service solutions to consider. Many businesses prefer off-site data center colocation. Others may opt for new data center cloud-based technologies and managed services with viable options for reliable, secure, cost-efficient business continuity and disaster recovery solutions.

Some options to consider:

Colocation: Colocation in off-site facilities, like Windstream’s Data Centers ,provide highly secured, protected and environmentally controlled facilities to maintain your critical data, server operating applications, network and communications assets. You control your own assets and operations in secure dedicated space within shared facilities or outsource various managed services to the host provider, minimizing overhead, optimizing efficiency and supporting business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. Windstream’s 2N infrastructure offers dual power sources, multiple generators and contracts with at least three diesel companies for additional fuel. This internal design, combined with a structural architecture that includes walls and roofs re-enforced to withstand strong hurricane-force winds, is standard across all of our data centers.

Managed Services: The host service provider manages and maintains your network infrastructure, applications and systems within their highly secure, enterprise-class data center. Colocation, dedicated server, cloud computing and managed hosted services (such as network, storage, security, DBA, OS management, middleware server management) support business continuity strategies and recovery in the event of a disaster. 

Cloud Storage and Managed Remote Backup: Cloud-based solutions managed by a third-party provider offer greater cost efficiencies, eliminating upfront capital expenses for hardware and lowering service costs with usage-based, pay-only-for-what-you-use pricing. Cloud-based managed services support business continuity and disaster recovery strategies with data storage, security and protection functions such as replication, backup/restore, data archiving, data and application mobility, data availability/security and elastic capacity. Managed Remote Backup solutions include options to backup data and applications to state of the art hardware located in a secure, enterprise-class data center and quickly restore to on-premise hardware in the event of a disaster.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS): Disaster Recovery as a Service provides comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery as a service in the cloud. With DRaaS, servers, storage and other infrastructure as well as replication software is owned and managed by the provider. Costs for shared infrastructure resources are much lower than in-house disaster recovery operations. DRaaS provides reliable, fast, managed recovery of your servers, virtual machines, storage and data in the event of a disaster and is an option of choice for organizations with aggressive recovery time objectives (RTO).

When reviewing your business continuity and disaster recovery service options, consider this: an International Data Corporation (IDC) study cited in TechTarget shows considerably greater success with outsourced disaster recovery services versus in-house. Businesses leveraging in-house resources spent 32% more than those that outsourced services. Average loss for in-house vs. outsourced services was nearly four times greater per disaster incident ($4 million in-house vs. $1.1 million outsourced). Outsourced services provided faster recovery times with an RTO reduced factor of 0.62 versus in-house operations.

It’s no secret that Mother Nature has been increasingly unpredictable lately. Hurricanes making landfall in the Northeast are a relatively rare occurrence, but as we’ve seen, many are still recovering from Irene in 2011 and reeling from the devastation 2012’s Sandy. Last month I came across a report of a Colorado fire, tornado and blizzard occurring within a 50 mile-radius—all on the same day! And another one on earthquake drills—in Indiana! And record snowstorms in May! All stark reminders that disasters can strike anywhere, anytime.

At Windstream, we’re happy to share our ideas and solutions to help you protect your business. Getting business continuity and disaster recovery plans in order should be a priority. We could be in for another wild year – give us a call. Let’s do this together.