Tag: disaster recovery

disasterDisaster is a relative term. It could apply to an entire network being taken offline due to an earthquake, or a computer virus that’s infected a few critical workstations. Regardless of the scope, disasters will strike at the most inopportune times. Smart businesses will have a disaster recovery plan in place to ensure that no matter what happens, business can resume as soon as possible. A good plan should include contingencies for possible disasters, a selection of possible backup alternatives, a process for data recovery and testing and a general emergency response plan.

There are numerous ways to backup mission critical data. While each method has strengths, no single one can match the reliability of a combined system. On-site backups are simple to setup. Data can be backed up to a dedicated machine on the network, or an external media drive. In the case of a virus or other small-scale disaster, an on-site backup will suffice. Should the scope of the disaster be much larger, and effect the entire network, such as a fire or natural disaster, an offsite backup unified storage solutions will ensure all of your data survives.

Having a plan to safeguard your data is essential, but in the event of a disaster, you need to have a fast and secure way of recovering the information. You need a plan to have all of the affected hardware replaced and a reliable method of restoring the data from the secured backups. Once your system has been reinitialized, you’ll need to thoroughly test the setup to ensure that the recovery was complete and that the equipment functions as it should. Having this process laid out ahead of time will ensure that no unnecessary time is lost.

Smart businesses will also have an emergency response plan in place. In the event of a disaster, there may be time to secure certain assets. A comprehensive emergency response plan will ensure that each member of your team knows exactly what duties to perform. I resources that can be sheltered from the disaster, it will lower both the cost of the recovery and the time that it will take to get up and running again.

Disasters happen every day and affect business of all types and sizes. The ones who took the time to plan for emergencies are the ones most likely to survive.

About the Author: Deney Dentel is the CEO at Nordisk Systems, Inc., partnered with IBM on ProtectTIER in Portland, Oregon to provide an improved data restore process and storage consolidation with higher performance.

License: Creative Commons image source

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cloud computing

Every year there are many new examples of how an effective disaster recovery strategy saves businesses time, money, and provide the ideal data protection. On the other hand, there are as many, if not more, stories about businesses who failed to implement an effective disaster recovery strategy and suffer the consequences.

Recently, the emerging trend for small and medium-size businesses is to turn to cloud computing for disaster recovery relief. Utilizing cloud computing for backup purposes provides a variety of technical, security, and economic benefits.

Enhanced Data Protection

One of the primary reasons more businesses are turning to cloud computing for disaster recovery relief is data protection. Cloud computing technologies now leverage industry-leading encryption and security practices to ensure cloud-based data is as secure as possible.

Easy to Use

Another benefit of utilizing cloud computing for disaster recovery is how easy the technology is to integrate and utilize. Web-based management and user interfaces make it simple for everyone involved with the disaster recovery process to fulfill their role. Additionally, a growing number of cloud computing solutions provide additional capabilities to minimize maintenance.

Low TCO

Compared to traditional data storage solutions, cloud computing offers a low total cost of ownership. In most cases, there is little to no required capital expense to purchase hardware or software. Additionally, most cloud computing disaster recovery applications utilize a subscription pricing model which allows businesses to easily predict their ongoing TCO.

Fast Implementation Process

Utilizing web applications to set up cloud-based disaster recovery strategies has created an environment in which fast implementation is the norm. Utilizing setup and configuration wizards most small businesses can set up their cloud computing data recovery applications within a few hours. This is a significant time savings over traditional data backup and disaster recovery technology.

Lower Energy Consumption

Since cloud computing requires no large server rooms, businesses leveraging this strategy can reduce their power consumption and monthly energy bills. It is also an easy way to reduce the businesses carbon footprint.

Provides Improved Agility and Scalability

Cloud computing technologies are still evolving. While most of the underlying technology has begun to mature, new applications are being tested in introduced on a regular basis. By leveraging cloud computing, businesses gain improved agility and scalability. They can change applications and user interfaces without changing the underlying cloud computing technology they are relying on. Additionally, a driving factor behind the growing popularity of cloud-based solutions is the massive scalability opportunity businesses gain.

Allows Businesses to Leverage Current IT Infrastructure

Unlike most other data backup and disaster recovery technologies, cloud-based solutions allow businesses to leverage their current IT infrastructure with minimal additional investment. Cloud computing solutions are designed to interoperate with existing storage devices, applications, and operating systems. This contributes to both the fast setup time and minimal initial investment requirements.

As small and medium businesses continue to emphasize the importance of developing and implementing a disaster recovery strategy, cloud computing solutions continue to gain a significant amount of attention. While traditional solutions are still an option, there are no doubts cloud-based data recovery solutions provide a variety of benefits to businesses of all sizes.

About the Author: Aaron Eastwood writes articles about colocation and data centers. He believes that investing in colocation service is a wise choice for many businesses. Lee believes companies should always think about customizable solutions that are tailored to meet their needs.

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frankenstormIf you are looking for more reasons to go cloud, hurricane Sandy is one good reason for you. The superstorm, finally dissipated on October 31st, 2012, disrupts business operations – obviously – and it does take resources to recover from it. As the superstorm Sandy – nicknamed Frankenstorm – sweeps through the East Coast, more businesses will be attracted (or forced) to consider cloud adoption in their business plan. The cloud can definitely help businesses in their business continuity planning, including disaster recovery planning.

While running your entire business in the cloud is not strongly recommended – unless you really know what you are doing – using the cloud as an integral part of your disaster recovery plan is highly recommended. As mentioned by CRN, the cloud can naturally protect your data from disasters – and that includes Frankenstorm; as data is stored off-premise on a cloud of inter-connected data centers, you can be sure that your data will remain untouched.

The cloud is NOT the ultimate solution, however…

But be aware that the cloud is not the ultimate solution for protecting your data – and your business; the key is actually under the cloud’s hood – in the design of the data centers.

The cloud involves data centers, and they are just like any other installations, like power utilities. They have physical presence, and because of that, they are NOT disaster-proof. While technically when a data center is down there are others that will take care of everything – thank to the redundant data stored on every data center in the cloud – things can go awry in one way or another – just ask Amazon!

And with the 70 mph storm coming their way, data centers are batten down, real hard. Preparation is the key factor in keeping the data centers up and running regardless the disasters.

Should I go cloud, then?

YES. Beyond cost cutting, increased productivity and other typical pitches any cloud vendors can give you, when you are considering your options in cloud computing adoption, you must focus on the underrated but crucial benefit of the cloud: Disaster recovery.

Although the cloud is still having hiccups, it is one of the surest ways to protect your data. As your data is redundantly stored on data centers on many geographical locations, you can be sure that when things go wrong, your data is safe and sound.

Just be sure you don’t partner with cloud vendors that suck! Ask around and read small prints – don’t base your decision in choosing a cloud vendor on cloud vendors’ pitches only or on the big names they have. Beware, some of them are not true cloud solution and when you backing up your data with such cloud vendor, you always put yourself at risk – something that will be turned into reality as disaster like hurricane Sandy really hits your business.

So, with more Sandy-like disaster will happen somehow in the future, are you finally considering bringing your business – or at least your data – to the cloud? Please share your opinion in the comment section below…

Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sandy_Oct_25_2012_0400Z.JPG

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sun stormDid you know that the biggest and strongest solar storm since December 2006 is now hitting our planet’s magnetic fields? As reported by MSNBC, the wave of plasma and eruption of materials toward the earth – called coronal mass ejection (CME) – will cause disruptions to satellites, power grids and communication networks; the disruptions will last for 24 hours or so. So, here’s a question for you: Will your business be impacted by the disruptions?

If your answer to the above question is “likely, yes,” then there is one more reason why you need to seriously consider cloud computing adoption to support you in business continuity and disaster recovery. Indeed, bringing your business to the cloud will offer you a chance to secure your sensitive data, as well as critical business functions.

How to use the cloud to support your business continuity?

There are many cloud providers offering you the capabilities to backup your data, as well as storing them redundantly, in such a way that when things go wrong with a data center, your data is safe and sound in other data centers. That being said, it’s important for you to partner with cloud vendors who offer always-available access to your data.

You might want to also consider moving your business functions and operations to the cloud. Backing up your data, collaborating with your team member, and working on your business finances online are some of the business activities you can do in the cloud.

Sounds great to me. However, you need to do your due diligence…

Cloud compatibility issues and options

Sooner or later, you will somehow need to think about how to interconnect a cloud service with another, as failing to do so – in itself – will disrupt your business operations. Your job is to ensure that the cloud services you sign up with will be compatible with each other. Some cloud service vendors are compatible with many other cloud vendors, but some just can’t go hand-in-hand with other cloud services. So, be sure you pursue the flexibility and connectivity of the cloud vendors.

Alternatively, with that being said, you might want to consider using a cloud solution instead of standalone cloud services. For example, Google Apps for Business and Microsoft Office 365 are each a complete solution, allowing you to access many functions that are required for you to run your business smoothly.

You might want to connect your solutions with third party cloud vendors – so, it’s a good thing to ensure which can work with whom – i.e. Google Docs can sync with Dropbox (online file storage and sharing,) and so on.

Public, private or hybrid clouds?

I am a big fan of hybrid cloud, especially in its ability in interconnecting different type of clouds into one, big cloud that are hosted both on-site and in the cloud. Although hybrid cloud is not as flexible in-house apps, but it is more secure and highly scalable – with minimal IT infrastructure investment requirements.

Let’s take Zynga, the social game company, for example. Zynga adopts hybrid cloud strategy, hosted most of their operations in their private cloud (zCloud) while having the public cloud (AWS) acts as a backup system – just in case there are surges of demands or issues occurring with their private cloud.

Is your business ready for disasters?

So, are you ready for tornado, storms and other disasters? Do you have a backup for your business? Do you have a plan B, C or D? If not, you need to sit down and start planning for disasters. Why? Because, whether you like it or not, disasters will somehow happen. What brings different end results is your ability to respond to changes accordingly, and this is how the cloud can help you.

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disaster recoveryLike everything in life, there are some pitfalls to having your own business as well.  It is very common for businesses of all kinds to be faced with unexpected expenses, and they are usually very costly but in the case of utility computing is typically service provided by a third-party and doesn’t need to purchased for one time. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg – especially if natural disasters strike your business.

Indeed, cloud providers assure customers that they will have regular and predictable access to their data and applications. One of the best things about cloud computing is that you get ensure that service can be maintained in case of a disaster or an emergency and that any data loss will be recovered. It can be a great joy to work for yourself with computer systems capable of self-management.

However, we must understand that although cloud computing can help you secure your important data and applications when disaster strikes, it can’t help you protect your other assets, such as buildings, equipments and fixtures, especially in natural disasters. Having a business insurance can surely help, but you do need financing to get everything back up and running 100 percent. For such case, you need to have business financing options ready. One of the options is business cash advance that will usually help you to take care of unforeseen expenses and extra costs due to the disaster.

But what if taking out a business loan is not an option for you? How can you handle a business emergency? When you need a substantial amount of cash it seems like the only viable option is a business loan, but before you jump in head first, why not looks at some different options.

Do you have family that could loan you some money, either interest free, or at a lower interest rate? Often times people don’t like to get family involved but in some instances a trustworthy family member could be exactly what you need to save you from having a down fall. Treat any transaction as you would a professional bank transaction. Have a contract written up so that nothing gets left out and so that there are no misunderstandings.

In the event that your family member can’t help you out, your next logical step would be the bank, but with the way things are going these days banks are not as easy to get money from as they once were, even if your business is doing well, you may just be better off just using credit. If you are a home owner, one option is to take out a home equity loan in order to provide the influx of money you need. Obviously, this carries some risk, but it will carry far lower interest than a cash advance. If that is not available to you, you might be taking that cash advance after all.

Business loans from private lenders are on the rise and are becoming a great choice for businesses that need money quickly to ensure business continuity. Be sure to consider your options well and do try to make well-informed decision when it comes to financing your business disaster recovery process.

Image: ||read|| / Flickr

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business continuity

Cloud computing plays an important role in business continuity. In natural disaster events, for example, businesses adopting the cloud have their important data and applications secured off-premise in the cloud, avoiding further loss of business assets.

However, the recent developments in tech world indicate that, once again, cloud computing poses threats to businesses, especially when it comes to business continuity; indeed, it seems contradicting that while the cloud helps businesses in disaster recovery and such, it can also backfire and disrupt business operations.

Cloud service outages, cloud security compromises, and potential legal issues… those are several of many issues that can lead to your business operational disruption.

Consider this: SOPA and the Megaupload shutdown

Cloud outages and security breaches can happen; but as long as you read your contracts well, you can minimize damages as you can take legal action toward them.

However, what happened to Megaupload and its users is an eye opener. What if the FBI or a new regulation (i.e. if SOPA did become a law) requires your cloud vendor to shut down its services and in the meantime, your data and apps were frozen and locked until further notifications?

Fatality.

Plus the fact that the cloud marketplace is nowhere near stable, as new cloud vendors are battling for new clients; we do know that – just like any business startups – not all of them will survive. Not until the majority of cloud vendors are developed on a standardized platform, your business is exposed to the risk of cloud lock-in that, again, will disrupt your business operations.

Takeaway

Sure, I’m a big fan of cloud computing. The cloud offers many upsides for businesses; however, just like everything in life, there are always risks associates with any opportunities.

I suggest you NOT to decide going cloud based on cloud vendors’ pitches. Indeed, you need to know what’s on offer and whether the cloud solutions can benefit your business or not, but be sure you do your due diligence before investing in cloud solutions for your business.

Don’t forget to read your agreement with your cloud vendor thoroughly. If you are still not sure whether what you read will protect your business should anything happen, be sure to hire a legal representative that is experienced in handling cloud computing cases.

Just like what many experts suggest, consider opting for hybrid cloud adoption. Having your important data and applications hosted and run on both on-premise and off-premise clouds can minimize cloud computing risks.

Image: dan

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disaster recoveryJapan is still recovering from the huge earthquakes that shatter many parts of the country, followed by a horrifying tsunami, a potential nuclear meltdown and a volcano eruption. However, regardless how bad the aftermath is, the show must go on – businesses need to pick up the pieces and carry on with their activities because they must to do so; otherwise, Japanese economy – and global economy – will suffer.

When disaster strikes, businesses with better preparations will recover the fastest. Those that adopt cloud computing survives better than the rest – how so? What about the data in the broken company servers? Even multiple backups won’t help you when your servers are drowned in a tsunami or buried under building rubble.

Tony Bradley of PC World offers some practical tips on how cloud solutions can help your business to recover quickly:

1. Cloud servers

Having your servers in the cloud, such as those offered by Rackspace Hosting, means that your data is made redundant and stored in many places, away from disaster location.

2. Cloud applications

Businesses using cloud apps, such as Google Apps, can get work done from virtually any part of the world. You can still work and stay productive even without your laptops and without having you to work in an office space.

3. Cloud storage

No more worries of your lost data inside your broken laptops. Storing your data online with cloud storage solutions, such as Box.net, means your data is stored in the cloud, which duplicates are stored in multiple servers to ensure the data safety.

4. Cloud backup

Having your IT systems backed up in the cloud means you can quickly reload and rebuild from the backup and resume business operations as soon as possible, minimizing downtime.

Every good thing always comes with bad thing; be sure you know what you are doing with the cloud solutions – consider the cloud security and privacy issues, as the cloud is probably not the safest environment of all.

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