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Building a high availability plan for business continuity

Kevin Wee, Director, Colocation Business Development, Asia Pacific, CenturyLink | Oct. 2, 2015
Providing a reliable infrastructure or engaging a trusted service providers not only safeguards business operations but can also minimise any chance of disruption.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Kevin Wee, CenturyLink
Photo: Kevin Wee

Consider these questions:

 

  • What happens when your business goes down — if your network and all the systems and applications that rely on it, were suddenly unavailable?

  • Can you mitigate the business impact during such an interruption?

  • Is your IT staff prepared to deal with the unthinkable?

Today, millions of servers globally are processing an enormous quantity of data and data is crucial to our day to day operations. Data protection as part of data upkeep is of paramount importance given the high risks associated with failure. With an ever increasing threat of security, concerns in data protection to ensure business continuity are amplified.

From our experiences with customers, many organisations are equipped with hardly any plans on business recovery from a security breach, server failure, or even a physical break in. And that is very dangerous.

According to latest research and studies, the average loss of a data centre due to downtime averages US$1.3 million per company. 7 out of 10 companies that lose a significant amount of data are bankrupt within 12 months. While not every industry is this hard hit by downtime, organisations regardless of industry will definitely incur additional expenses if machines are down. What's worse, an entire data centre.

Organisations without a business continuity plan are therefore at enormous risk of failure. Providing a reliable infrastructure or engaging a trusted service providers not only safeguards business operations but can also minimise any chance of disruption.

A comprehensive disaster recovery strategy requires careful planning to provide organisations with redundancy, geographic distribution options, and back-up power measures. As an early head-start, here are five key aspects that organisations should consider as part of their disaster recovery strategy:

 

  1. The right partner. With operations-related issues being the leading cause of data centre failures, look for evidence of well-managed, high-availability data centres when choosing an infrastructure partner. Well-run legacy data centres can perform better than poorly-run data centres with modern designs. Furthermore, by outsourcing to a trust service provider, you can leave your data centres to a group of well-trained people with a rigorous adherence to standards and methods to achieve data centre greatness.

  2. Network protection. Your network must be secured with hardware redundancy and advanced routing protocols to ensure network connectivity is maintained in the event of a power outage or a natural disaster.

  3. Data protection. Constant security threats require full-time attention. Security threats are always looming and rapidly evolving. Your mission-critical data and applications should be protected even if network operations are disrupted. This is often best achieved by replicating data off-site in a data centre.

  4. Prioritisation. It is important to choose which data, applications and systems are critical to your business processes and prioritise their availability over others. This helps to minimise overall business disruption and reduce loss of profits.

  5. Testing. You may only discover a weakness in the plan when disaster hits, so it is important to test its validity. Failover procedures must be accurate, including basic elements such as an up-to-date contact list. Testing should be scheduled once a year, or more often as changes in technology or staff occur, to ensure the strongest disaster recovery plan possible.

At the end of the day, the strategy that you choose affects your downtime, which in term impacts not just your bottom line — but whether or not you remain in business.

 

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