- Created: Monday, 18 September 2017 16:57
As we all know, people across the world this month have been facing tremendous disaster and damage to their property and valuables. While we don’t believe in turning disaster into profit, we do believe in reinforcing the education of preparedness, asking the questions: “What would I do if that happened to me? Would I have a plan in place? How would I get back on track after it was over?”
Unfortunately, disasters can happen at any time in any place...and in many different ways: Storms, floods, electrical explosions, fires, earthquakes, infestations, etc. This includes to the data center. One of the most pivotal aspects of modern business and communication can be swept away in an instant. So, what will you do if you lose your data center to a disaster?
Over two years ago we did a short article on Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans – defining them and providing examples of real-world use. Yet since then, we have written dozens of pieces on cooling, power, telecom, service, and more. And I would imagine that managing your data center is very similar. You may start out thinking about a disaster recovery plan, but soon your focus needs to shift to improving the cooling, then quickly after you must upgrade your voice & data package, and before you know it the DR plan is so far down the list you never know if you’ll get there.
Here’s your free pass: Move Disaster Recovery up the list and get a plan in place. Let’s start.
This may seem like a self-explanatory question, but sometimes if we don’t spell out the gravity of certain situations, we may not take them as seriously as we should. Here we go: Your data center encounters a massive disaster and you lose all capabilities without a DR site. Every minute that you are unable to get your site up and running again, you are losing thousands of dollars – an average of $9,000 per minute based on a recent study averaging losses from multiple different business sectors. Across your demographic, customers unable to access your services are losing faith in your business. At this point, only 44% of businesses successfully recover data lost in the event, and unfortunately a whopping 90% of businesses with a huge data loss and no DR plan are forced to shut down within two years.* A Disaster Recovery Plan is not a decoration, it is a necessity, no matter your business size or type.
The most effective location to host your DR equipment is far enough away from your in-house data center to avoid the same potential disasters. The last thing you want is for a disaster to strike your data center AND your DR site. Making sure they are on separate power grids and even located in different environment types (large open plains vs. urban sprawl) would be ideal. However, it is also important that they are close enough to communicate quickly and effectively. Having your home data center in Chicago and a DR site in England probably will not offer as quick of a failover as a site in Minnesota, for example.
As urgent as it feels now to make sure you have a DR plan, you must not forget to actually “plan” it before signing dotted lines. Unless you have the means to replicate your data center in its entirety with a secondary staff to manage it, you will first have to categorize and prioritize your data. Determining which aspects of the business related to the data center that you will need back online first will help with recovery speed and cost defrayment. Categorizing and prioritizing is the first of many steps to get your DR plan in place, but doing so will help the rest of plan fall much more easily into place.
One major component of disaster recovery that is often overlooked is the personnel. A DR plan is not just for one person to know and manage; the most effective plans have everyone involved and assigns different responsibilities to each employee to ensure a quick and efficient recovery. With prepared personnel each attacking the situation from different angles, and other non-critical employees aware of the situation and how to manage their own aspects of the business and recovery, your business will have the best possible opportunity to get back on track and remain sturdy upon recovery.
You are already on the right path by reading this article. The first step to solving any problem is to simply say that you are going to solve it. Now you can give Facility IT Group a call and let us guide you through the next steps of the process. We are here and ready to help.
*Based on a white paper from Storagecraft.