By: Autumn Salama, Solutions Management of Cloud at Zayo
Part II: Business Continuity — More Than Just Disaster Recovery
This week, we’re continuing our three part blog series, 3 Times Disaster Recovery Saved the Day, where we explore real-life disaster recovery success stories. In addition, we’ll also be sharing all the details about Disaster Recovery, from start to finish, in our upcoming webinar – December 9.
Last week, our Part I series covered how cloud-based communication services were able to keep employees at 8×8, Inc. informed and productive during a disaster. In this week’s blog, Dan Stone, an IT Specialist at Kixo LTD, reminds us that disaster recovery is only one part of an effective business continuity plan (BCP). In his client’s case, BCP meant not only surviving power outages and downtime, but also moving facilities without losing business continuity: “One of our clients supplies to internationally known car manufacturers. All companies operate 24/7, so there is a strict zero downtime policy. Every minute of downtime can equal hundreds of thousands of dollars of losses, and extra costs for staff to catch up on hours lost in the factories. We had been planning a virtualization and disaster recovery project for all the physical servers, so when we discovered we were also moving to a new large factory and office we tied the projects together. We virtualized all physical servers and even some routers. Once they were virtualized, we enabled off site replication to a secure data center. This allowed us to turn off physical hardware and move the office without any of the key enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and backbone software. After the original physical servers had arrived at the new location, we switched back to the main hardware’s new location. Now that the disaster recovery plan had been tested in a controlled manner we felt comfy enough after additional testing that in event of a disaster at the main site, the business would be able to ride through large problems that could have crippled the company before.
“The one thing that a good plan always seems to lack is staff training. Having a plan is great, but people need to know it, when it kicks in and what they need to do, so drumming in basics like accessing emails and phones is key.”
The disaster recovery plan was tested shortly after being at the new factory when the site’s power lines failed due to circumstances outside of the client’s control, at which point generators kept the factory running, while the company disaster recovery plan kept all key ERP software running and externally all emails and VoIP phone lines stayed up. Externally nobody knew anything, and more importantly, production was able to keep running. The one thing that a good plan always seems to lack is staff training. Having a plan is great, but people need to know it, when it kicks in and what they need to do, so drumming in basics like accessing emails and phones is key. With ERP software becoming so important to large businesses, having multiple plans to survive basic incidents is a must. Software as a service (SaaS) is something we expect to be seeing more of in the future. While some people are skeptical of SaaS, cloud and disaster recovery being buzzwords, they can boil down to some very simple procedures, and just using what you may already be using. Companies are starting to see that disaster recovery systems combined with virtualization and cloud are very smart and powerful tools that can be applied to all large and small businesses.”
The Value of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
Careful disaster recovery planning can spare your company the worst outcomes of any crisis, from security breaches to natural disasters. But there’s a lot that goes into the process, from conducting a business impact analysis to testing your disaster recovery plan, and sometimes you don’t have the necessary expertise or bandwidth on hand. That’s where DRaaS comes in handy.