By: Autumn Salama, Solutions Management of Cloud at Zayo
Part I : Keeping Your Team Productive During a Disaster
When it comes to IT news, we often focus on what goes wrong — from large-scale data breaches to power outages that cause massive downtime. What you don’t usually hear about is when things go right, and every day, successful disaster recovery planning keeps businesses running continuously even in the face of crisis.
We asked three tech companies to share their own disaster recovery success story and for the next couple weeks, we’ll be sharing their answers. From restoring data after a malware attack to keeping staff connected during Superstorm Sandy, the stories they told ran the gamut of IT crisis, and reaffirmed the importance of planning, testing and rehearsing a thorough disaster recovery strategy. Part I : Keeping Your Team Productive During a Disaster While natural disasters, power outages and infrastructure failures can threaten your availability from a technology standpoint, they can also put the brakes on your company’s productivity. Simply put, if your office location is compromised due to flooding, blizzards, pandemics or other disasters, you either work remotely or you don’t work at all. Keeping your staff in the loop and connected to one another during a crisis can be a challenge, but your disaster recovery plan should provide contingencies to help you contact your team. As Senior Product Marketing Manager of 8×8, Inc., a hosted VoIP business communications services firm, Mike Reinhart has seen a number of businesses use communication technology to keep production continuous during IT disasters: “Anyone in the mid-Atlantic or Northeastern United States has become acquainted with the impact — both at the office and at home — of natural disasters, care of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. While helping businesses get back on their feet during the disaster, we had to ensure our own business continuity. A big part of that was redundancy and failover. Because 8×8 had redundant servers across the country that were backed up, 8×8 subscribers did not generally experience the long outages that those who had PBXs or local service did. Even if weather isn’t disastrous, the effects of it can be. Most of us can relate to the experience of going into work when road conditions aren’t ideal, and hoping our traction control and winter tires will save us from calamity. This can be especially true in places experiencing novel weather conditions — for example, icy roads in Texas. Says Jonathan Rangel, support engineer at Datascan LP, one of 8×8’s clients: ‘Last winter, we had ice here in Texas, and the roads were a mess. There was no way we could make it to the office during this time.’ Cloud-based communication services can keep people informed and productive without risking life and limb. Though Texas is not known for dealing with snow and icy conditions as regularly as, say, Minnesota or New York, Datascan LP was able to keep production moving and personnel connected via VoIP communication. Cloud-based communication can also help make team members aware of changes in hours and plans whenever there’s an outage, keeping your business continuous and your staff safe and productive.” 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 disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) comes in handy.