Small Business Disaster Recovery Solutions

July 10th, 2015 by admin

Three keys, each with a different graphic of a circuit board on it

“Disaster”: the word itself is synonymous with trauma. Of course, even after a traumatic event, there is an opportunity to rebuild. Restoring your data is a critical part of rebuilding your infrastructure and your business after a physical or virtual disaster.

For businesses, especially small- to medium-sized companies, time is money. The faster your technology systems can recover from any number of problems, the sooner you can return to business as usual. One way to ensure quick recovery is to outsource your technology management to professionals. Let a dedicated IT consultant take on the task of securing your critical business information.

Traditional Cloud-based backup of your in-office systems is the go-to solution for many businesses. With Cloud backup, when something happens to your in-office resources (fire, flood, theft, power problem, or a common virus event that destroys data), you can retrieve all of your data. So far, so good.

The problem with this model, epitomized by offerings from Iron Mountain or Mozy Pro, is that when you do have a disaster and have to retrieve your data, it can take a very long time. Your office may be completely down for a day or two—even weeks or months is not unheard of. Why the delay? Two reasons:

  1. It can take a LONG time to get data back from a Cloud data center. After a disaster, you will have an urgent, mission-critical need to copy your company’s data from a Cloud data center back to your offices, using an Internet pipe. This can take days, a full week, or even longer, largely because data is big and Internet pipes are small. (Think of draining a swimming pool with a garden hose.) Some of these challenges can be partly overcome with a data center that can copy data to hard drives and FedEx it to you. However, this may also be a cumbersome and slow process.
  2. Because Dell and other firms don’t stock servers in inventory, it takes about two weeks to order and receive a new server to put your data back onto. For them, it is more profitable to carry no inventory and to build a server only after you order it. Server parts are often stored on railroad cars near the computer factory, still owned by parts suppliers until the manufacturer says they need something. You can throw money at the problem, but if your servers were burned, stolen, or soaked, where will you put your retrieved data?

Enter hybrid Cloud-based backup technology. This technology marries traditional Cloud backup with a backup server appliance that is located in your office, where mirror images or additional copies of your Cloud backup are stored. Even if you lose a lot of data, no problem—you can quickly retrieve it from the backup server already located in your office. With this approach, the data does not have to pass through an Internet pipe.

Even better, many of the backup server appliances can serve as a “spare tire” server. If your office production server is burnt up by a power glitch, your backup server can take over—and you can be up and running again within an hour.

Some hybrid Cloud backup systems can even “turn on” a spare tire server for you in a Cloud data center. This means that if your office server and backup server are stolen, the data center still has your data and applications. The data center will be able to turn on a mirror image of your original server, and you and your staff can access it remotely to keep serving your clients.

Before hybrid Cloud-based technology was widely accessible, disaster recovery solutions were almost exclusively available to large enterprises with big budgets. Now, thanks to technology advancements, data backup and restoration are readily available at a reasonable cost for small businesses like law firms and financial service companies. Partnering with an IT consulting firm can give you priceless peace of mind when inevitable problems occur.

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery

  • Minimized Risk. Remote storage takes on a new dimension with both on-premises and Cloud-based DR servers combined into one system. A natural disaster that causes damage to your physical building will not affect data recovery that is aided by Cloud computing. 
A disaster that affects only your on-premises server, and not your building, is quick to recover from because many of your backups are already in your office. And if the Cloud data center is the location of the disaster, you still have copies of your backups in your office.
  • Compliance. In the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise, data stored in Cloud-based servers can restore servers and allow “snapshots” of data to ensure compliance. Go back in time with your data for audit purposes, or any other scenario requiring information collected in the past. 
 Encryption, often a compliance requirement, is easy to obtain in comparison with a traditional tape drive.
  • Minimal Down Time. Rest assured that your in­-house software recovery may occur within minutes or hours instead of days or weeks, ensuring the continuity of your workflow. If you have an app on your tablet or smartphone that allows access to data on a “normal” work day, you should be able to access that same data directly from the data center.

Options Within Options

If regulatory compliance such as SEC or HIPAA is an issue, the hybrid approach—a combination of Cloud and traditional DR planning—could be the best solution for your disaster recovery needs. Technological advancements have produced abundant options in data security for small- to medium-sized companies. With heightened security and flexibility, you’ll be equipped to recover from any unforeseen event that would otherwise devastate your business.

Posted in: Cyber and Data Security