There is a new reality facing businesses today: having inadequate Business Continuity strategy and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) plans in place, can cost you your business. Think about it: the 2017 hurricane season was the costliest on record with total losses as high as $200 billion. The damage from California’s wildfires totaled more than $180 billion. Many businesses in these situations did not survive the event. A study by Dynamics Technologies reveals 93% of companies without DR who suffer a major data disaster are out of business within one year. (Source: Boston Computing). Man-made disasters or those caused by hackers or malware also have the potential to paralyze business’ operations. And even if it’s not external hackers who slip into your IT system, there’s a lot of other causes of data breaches – negligent employees, third-party mistakes, or errors in systems or operating processes.
Start at ground zero
So what can companies do to keep themselves from becoming a statistic? It starts with having a business continuity strategy that covers all the bases, even beyond backing up data. To avoid the worst case scenario of security breach situations, organizations also need to get serious about disaster recovery planning. DR is often described as a subset of a BC strategy. It’s purpose is to keep all aspects of a business functioning in the midst of disaster and a DR plan focuses on IT or technology systems that support critical business functions.
Playing by the rules
More than just being smart for businesses, there are also now legal requirements in many industries related to business continuity and disaster recovery planning. Publicly traded companies and those organizations in specific verticals – finance, healthcare, utilities, and government – are subject to compliance requirements when it comes to BC and DR. Because meeting standards for business continuity, disaster recovery, and cybersecurity have become a competitive advantage, companies are also under pressure to ensure that any potential business partners are compliant as well. Specific standards, such as ISO 22301 (International Organization of Standardization) and those from the NFPA 1600 ( National Fire Protection Association) specify security requirements for disaster recovery preparedness and BC management systems.
Don’t forget about desktops
Part of any good business continuity plan involves identifying backup-and recovery strategies to mitigate the effects of an emergency. Traditionally desktops recovery was an expensive endeavor, requiring heavy CapEx and OpEx investments and annual testing to ensure it was keeping up with the production infracture. Companies had to essentially pay for and maintain a second facility and duplicate desktop infrastructures – making it costlier than most companies could handle.
Luckily, there is an alternative: a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Virtual desktops are a cloud-based offering that delivers conventional desktop workspaces and applications to employees on any device. Desktops and applications delivered via the cloud cloud imitate the corporate IT environment, though it’s running at a secure remote data center. That means all the infrastructure – servers, software, network, and storage – can be housed and managed by a virtual desktop technology partner for a monthly subscription fee that covers the number and types of desktops needed. Paired with a private cloud, companies can ensure high availability of their entire IT environment, giving businesses a full-scale business continuity and DR strategy. Consider these benefits:
- Mitigates risk – Desktops are delivered from a secure reliable data center, away from your primary business facility
- Always on – A virtual desktop environment is always available, even when the office isn’t
- Anywhere access – Even in a disaster employees are immediately productive from wherever they are and from any device – all they need is internet access
- On-demand – Businesses can add virtual desktops as they grow
- Peace of mind – Eliminates the need for complex and time-consuming BC/DR testing
What about internet access?
Having the ability to access backed up data and restore it from the backup environment is just as critical as having the backups in the first place. Ensuring server availability and reliable internet connectivity also means employees will be able to get to their virtual desktops or other business-critical apps, data, and collaboration tools no matter what. To establish failover connections and diversify WAN links, many organizations are turning to SD-WAN. SD-WAN solutions meet these needs by bonding MPLS, broadband, 3G/4G/LTE from multiple cellular suppliers and satellite paths to provide a single path for network traffic. Installing reliable wireless failover connections as a counterpart to primary wired connections rounds out any good business continuity plan. A managed SD-WAN service can also provide peace of mind by maintaining connectivity even during multiple network disruptions. A software-defined network is also intelligent enough to dynamically reroute traffic to provide the highest possible quality of service, even in a disaster scenario.
Bringing all the pieces together
Business continuity and disaster recovery are more than just an insurance policy and guaranteeing data backups are in place. It’s about safeguarding your entire IT infrastructure including having network diversity to failover from one system to another when the time comes. At CTG, we’ll take you through the BC/disaster recovery process and offer complete solutions to ensure your assets are protected, data is backed up and available, and employees can get to it when needed. Get in touch to get started!