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Today’s business dependence for reliable and always available IT Services is at an all-time high. Customers and stakeholders' appetite for service interruptions are very low, and pressures on IT service providers and IT departments to deliver these services are higher than ever.
Larger enterprises historically adopted several approaches that provided IT service resiliency and satisfactory levels of service availability:
- High Availability Services – Server and application redundancy typically integrated with load balancing services which provided seamless application fail-overs
- Virtualization Technologies – These platforms provided virtual server fail-over services in cases of virtual host failures
- Hardware Stand By Redundancy – Approach of providing redundant and stand by hardware which could be used if primary hardware fails
- Software Redundancy Approach – Software technologies that provided high availability Services (DoubleTake, NeverFail, etc.)
- Storage Mirroring Services – Technology which ensured storage LUN availability across multiple storage arrays or physical sites
- Data centre Redundancy – Availability of secondary data centre used for fail-over purposes
Smaller organizations need a reliable and cost-effective IT disaster recovery solutions
Unfortunately, most of the above technologies are not easily reachable for the SMB segment. This segment is usually constrained by budgets and doesn’t have adequate IT staff or well-defined IT service requirements. But they all have one goal in common: to provide great service to their customers and to grow their businesses.
The most important IT service availability requirements that all SMB segment businesses need to understand are:
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the amount of data at risk when a service failure occurs. It’s determined by the amount of time between data protection events (Backups, Mirroring, Snapshots, etc.) and reflects the amount of data that potentially could be lost when disaster strikes (amount of data at risk of being lost)
Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is related to service downtime. This refers to the amount of time it takes to recover from a data loss event and how long it takes to restore the service (amount of time the IT Service or Data is unavailable or inaccessible)
Small and medium-sized businesses typically rely on backup tape or disk snapshot technologies, which introduce high data loss risks (RPO) and long service downtime possibilities (RTO). In addition to RTO and RPO issues outlined above, these outdated approaches are usually accompanied by higher media storage costs and a false sense of security when data has to be restored.
Some smaller organizations never recover after an IT Disaster
In 2009 Gartner reported that “71% of organizations had a problem with their tape backups when it came time to restore.” This high percentage was attributed to damaged tapes, backup tape restores failures, data not being properly backed up and missing tapes.
When you add missing recovery procedures and the availability of trained staff during disasters, this number can be even higher. In addition, Gartner noted that “25% of PC’s or Servers can fail in any given year.”
Forester Research study noted that “24% of companies said they experienced a full data disaster.” PwC noted that “70% of small businesses that experience a major data loss" go out of business within a year.” These statistics are astonishing.
What should SMB's do to maintain organizational resilience
So what can Canadian small and medium-sized businesses do to increase IT service availability and to provide adequate and cost-effective data and systems protection?
Small and medium-sized businesses should choose a vendor which can deliver the following:
- Cost-Effective IT Continuity Services
- A Hybrid Cloud Backup solution (on-premise and in the cloud)
- Instant Virtualization Server Recovery that is application-agnostic
- Data Encryption (in transit and at rest)
- Bare Metal Restore capability to dissimilar hardware
- A scalable solution designed for data growth
- Managed Backup services
StratoGrid Advisory is a Business Continuity Management (BCM) Advisory firm in the Ottawa/Gatineau region that can provide you with the experience and knowledge needed to implement a BCM Program in your organization.