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Disaster recovery options for smaller companies

By Cindy LaChapelle, Principal Consultant, Technology Vertical, Information Services Group (ISG), special to Network World
February 05, 2014 04:53 PM ET

Network World - The growing number of natural disasters and the rise in data loss has increased the significance of having an effective disaster recovery (DR) strategy. Thankfully new capabilities are helping smaller companies keep pace.  Here’s a look at the prominent trends shaping disaster recovery today:

* Cloud Services: As the adoption of cloud services increases, enterprises are realizing the cloud can become part of their disaster recovery plan. Instead of buying dedicated resources in case of a disaster, cloud computing allows companies to pay for long-term data storage on a pay-per-use basis, and to only pay for servers if they have a need to run them for an actual disaster or test.

Cloud-based disaster recovery gives businesses the potential for a lower cost, faster and more flexible recovery solution for backing up data. Cloud based DR solutions can provide small- to medium-sized businesses with enterprise level DR capability at a reasonable cost. At minimum, smaller companies can store critical data sets in the cloud so that in the event of a disaster it has the ability to recover critical business systems quickly. Prior to cloud based solutions most DR strategies for these organizations were either cost prohibitive or largely adhoc. With the advances in cloud solutions, smaller organizations can implement DR strategies which provide enterprise class protection.

* Virtualization: Server virtualization has become a key component of the disaster recovery plan for many businesses because it enables greater flexibility with computing resources and reduces downtime. Virtualization allows businesses the potential of creating an image of an entire data center that can be quickly activated when needed, giving companies a faster recovery time at a relatively low cost.

As more companies take to virtualization, disaster recovery as a process becomes easier to deploy, especially with fast and utilitarian replication software or regular cloud-based or physical backups. Server virtualization combined with a remote copy of critical data can ensure faster recovery times objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) that are aligned to business requirements. SMB sized organizations can leverage cloud based services for both data backup and servers to create a viable DR solution for critical business systems without huge expense.  

* Mobile Connectivity: In terms of disaster recovery, the growing use of mobile devices in the workplace facilitates business continuity when disaster strikes because mobile devices enable people to work remotely and stay connected in the event of a disaster. This keeps business operations functioning and minimizes downtime.

However, as mobility trends gain further traction, it is important for a company to remember to back up employees’ mobile devices as well. When disaster strikes, it will likely be mobility that helps a business quickly get back to work. The advances in mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets are growing at a phenomenal pace as is the use of these devices for collaboration and social networking. In a disaster situation users can leverage these devices to stay connected and productive.

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