Eliminating Downtime for Small and Mid-Market Organizations
Information technology (IT) provides enormous value for the small and mid-market business, but it also represents a tremendous point of weakness. When markets are global, employees work around the clock and business is effectively always on, any interruption to application availability can quickly lead to lost revenue, lost productivity, lost brand value, and regulatory problems. Taken to the extreme, extended downtime can even threaten the survival of your business.
How then should your organization deal with this type of existential threat? The painful reality is that most organizations do not deal with it well.
Business continuity — the planning, preparation, and implementation of more resilient business systems in anticipation of unscheduled downtime — is often thought of as an IT problem, and most organizations leave it to the IT department to provide a fix. This invariably leads to the deployment of a wide range of tactical solutions, with no overriding strategy providing guidance. In reality, as the term implies, business continuity is a business problem, and it requires a business approach to fix it.
Here’s a quick way to figure out if your existing business continuity plan is leaving you exposed:
- If your plan requires significant manual intervention, you’re exposed;
- If your plan accepts loss of data beyond a few seconds for critical systems, you’re exposed;
- If your plan cannot restore access to critical systems in minutes, you’re exposed;
- And, if your plan depends on 30-year old backup and recovery technology, you’re definitely exposed.
Backup and recovery has been the go-to technique for protecting IT systems for 30 years, but it was developed in a much simpler time. Backing up data to tape or disk, or performing snapshots — the modern equivalent of a backup — creates a point-in-time image of application data. Restoring from a point-in-time copy is never going to bring your data more current than the most recent backup. Whether your copy is from 15 minutes ago or is two days old, recovering from a backup means you must face the consequences of data loss. That may be OK for some systems. But, for many of your most important business applications, data loss will be catastrophic.
Backup and recovery techniques were developed for relatively unsophisticated computing processes, back when there were regularly scheduled periods of time when no one would be using the system. The always-on business applications that you now rely on for day-to-day operations need a technology that guarantees continuous system availability and eliminates the threat of data loss, without relying on a backup window.
Modern high-availability (HA) technology continuously streams application and data changes to a remote location. When disaster strikes, be it an earthquake, a power outage, or a bungled software install, failover to an up-to-date copy of your system is automatic and instant. HA eliminates downtime and eliminates data loss.
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