Data Management


5 Ways Disaster Recovery Can Calm Hurricane Jitters

The word “hurricane” means “evil wind spirit” — and the 2010 hurricane season is predicted to be the most active of the past five years. In fact, in just the first two weeks of the season there were nine named storms in the Atlantic basin.

So if the technical disaster recovery plan that you have in place involves holding your breath, crossing your fingers or some other interesting but ineffectual ritual to ward off the evil wind spirits, your business is at serious risk.

A Server Under Clearer Skies

A less shamanistic and more practical approach to data protection this hurricane season is to implement a disk-based backup and recovery technology. Disk-based backup and recovery simply means having an extra server located out of the hurricane zone that will automatically take over for your production server if the production server stops responding.

This take over is called “failover,” and it can happen in seconds — in fact, users probably won’t even know anything happened. These days backup and recovery software is so advanced and simple that you don’t even have to pre-load the extra server with any software. Good backup and recovery software will “push install” everything for you at failover — including the operating system, applications and all the data.

But good and fast is never cheap, right? In this case — wrong. When you consider that the average company loses US$40,000 per hour of downtime, an extra server and backup software pay for themselves in the time it will take you to shut the windows when it starts to rain.

But let’s say you’re not the average company. Let’s say you’re smaller, even much smaller, than average. You probably don’t have an IT staff and you don’t have a lot of extra cash for hardware and software that you may or may not use. Well, good software is simple software designed to be used by non-technical staff, and it’s out there. Even if you don’t use your new backup system in a hurricane, chances are you will use it; most outages are caused by viruses or simple human error (and the Small Business Administration asserts that every business will suffer through one sooner or later).

Time, Money and Safety

Regardless of the size of your business, disaster recovery technology is a must this hurricane season — and here are five reasons why:

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  1. Job Security: Forty percent of companies who suffer a disaster never recover. There is absolutely no reason to risk jobs, revenue or the time and hard work your employees have invested in your company. Backup and recovery technology keeps users online — no matter where they are or what’s happening outside.
  2. Time Is Money: More directly, downtime is lost money. At an average loss of $40,000 for every hour that users can’t get to data and applications that run the business, how many hours of downtime can you afford?
  3. Legal Paperwork: Depending on your industry, data protection might be required by law. If you’re regulated by any government organization, it’s likely you’ll need to provide complete IT records on demand. Regulatory organizations consider data protection your responsibility; hurricanes are not an acceptable excuse for data loss and you will have to pay hefty fines.
  4. Personal Safety: It might just keep your people safe. In a hurricane, getting people to a safe place should be the focus. If you know the data on your servers is safe and your technical equity is safe, there won’t be any risky last-minute scrambles to save the server.
  5. Peace of Mind: Downtime is expensive, risky and frustrating. When employees can’t get to the data and applications they need to do their work, everybody is frustrated. When customers can’t get to service, information or shopping sites, they lose confidence. Backup and recovery technology doesn’t just protect your data; it protects your time and reputation.

Robin Howard is project manager at Double-Take Software.

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