3 Ways Small Businesses Can Be Prepared During National Preparedness Month

September 16, 2013 No Comments

Featured Article By Larry Lang, Quorum CEO

Most organizations understand the importance of keeping critical data safe from both manual and natural disasters. It is surprising, however, to hear just how many companies are not prepared for the day their system goes down and data is lost.

And yes, the day will come when data will be lost. Natural disasters, equipment failure, human error, and cyber-attacks are common causes of IT downtime, which can cost business owners up to $6,900 per hour, according to a report from Aberdeen Group. Beyond the compromised data, the loss of productivity can immobilize an entire business for hours or even days. Even with the best-laid plans, disaster can strike. Those who are prepared suffer the least.

This September, in honor of National Preparedness Month, I am sharing my top three ways small to mid-sized businesses can be prepared for the worst and always keep their data secured.

1. Automated Testing: Look into automated testing. Testing on a regular basis is crucial to business continuity. Ask yourself the question…does your vendor charge extra to test your disaster recovery system? How long will it take to test your recovery system? Some solutions take hours to spin up virtual machines. How hard is it to test your recovery system? Testing on a regular basis is crucial to business continuity, and it should be done more frequently than most businesses currently test. Many business owners don’t test at all! However, many small and mid-sized business run into barriers that make frequent testing difficult or impossible. Ask yourself these questions: Does your vendor charge extra to test your disaster recovery system? How hard is it to test your recovery system? Some solutions take hours to spin up virtual machines. How long will it take to test yours?

2. Backing up your data with a hybrid solution: When it comes to backing up your data, a business has three options:

- Tape and Disk backup — The traditional approach to disaster planning. The fact that setting up this type of backup can be complex and it may be difficult to recover entire distributed, multi-tier, multi-site workloads using this method.

- Cloud backup — An up-and-coming approach. While this method appears appealing, Quorum says, it may actually increase recovery time rather than reducing the time it takes to return to normal operations.

- Hybrid cloud backup — The combination of the traditional tape/disk backup with cloud backup. This makes it possible to keep an up-to-date image of what’s executing. Furthermore, it would be possible to immediately return to operations in a cloud environment.

Organizations are best served by setting up a “continuous back-up process” that relies on moment-by-moment snapshots kept in the cloud.

3. Attention to Details:  Any recovery solution should be effective when faced with a major disaster like a hurricane. But it should be just as effective if a power strip fails. Having a system that cannot handle a minor setback is just as troublesome as one that cannot recover from a major catastrophe. For a small to mid-sized business, it’s imperative to know what types of natural disasters can occur in the area and ensure the right backup solution is in place to handle them. Just as important is knowing what errors could occur in technical systems — whether a power outage or hard-drive failure. Do a back-of-napkin calculation on how long your vendor will take to recover your systems. Does your vendor need time to manually rebuild recovery nodes during the recovery process? Can you have an unlimited number of recovery nodes running at one time? If not, you may experience processing delays during the recovery process. Can the recovery nodes run inside the same appliance? Some vendors export recovery nodes from spare servers — and charge you for it. Ask for a recovery scenario demo to clarify everything.

All in all, using a disaster recovery solution that enables immediate recovery of data, applications and systems, along with frequent and regular system testing, is the only way to fully safeguard a company’s revenue, customers and reputation.

Having a disaster plan and tools in place to constantly monitor workload execution can turn most “disasters” into momentary annoyances rather than events that put companies at risk. Know your risks, plan ahead, and always be prepared.

Larry Lang Quorum Photo 150x150 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Be Prepared During National Preparedness Month

About Larry Lang, Quorum Chief Executive Officer:

Larry Lang brings more than twenty years of global business-building experience to Quorum, which offers appliance and hybrid cloud solutions for one-click backup, recovery and continuity. His innovative views on business demands for rapid assured disaster recovery have been shared through industry forums like the International Legal Technology Association and the World Conference on Disaster Management, and quoted in publications like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He has led Quorum through substantial revenue growth and several rounds of financing.

Previously, as general manager of the Mobility Business Unit at Cisco Systems, Larry grew Cisco’s mobile internet business to several hundred million dollars, driven by the infrastructure demands of smart phones. Larry defined product strategy at Ipsilon Networks leading up to its acquisition by Nokia. Larry is especially adept at translating highly technical information into clear value propositions, and working with customers to understand how to support their success. Larry received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Duke and an MS in Operations Research from Stanford.


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