How Your Business Continuity Can Fail and What You Can Do to Prevent It

How confident are you that your systems can be restored after even the smallest disaster?

Regardless of what types of disaster recovery solutions you use – cloud or on-prem hoping your systems will be intact on the other side of an incident is a recipe for a real disaster.

There are a few reasons business continuity fails. Here are some things your IT staff can do to protect your environment from even the smallest disaster.

Test business continuity systems on a regular basis

Business continuity isn’t “set it and forget it.”

You have to be sure they’ll work by testing them periodically. It’s much better to do a full failover to a sandbox on a semi-annual basis to identify what is and is not recoverable than it is to test things out during a disaster.

Recently, a doctor’s office client of ours had to work off paper for two weeks because their practice management software provider went down. They were not able to use their core software for two weeks.  The doctor’s office and their practice management software provider didn’t have adequate business continuity to continue working. They only had about two weeks’ worth of information backed up beyond the two weeks’ worth of data that was stored locally. In rare cases, you can send the drive to a forensic recovery specialist to restore, but it’s both expensive and not guaranteed.

Remember: backups aren’t business continuity

Backups are step one of your disaster recovery plan, but they’re not the whole picture. What will you do with those files when everything is knocked offline and you don’t have access to your applications?

Backups also need to be tested periodically. Your IT environment changes. Reviews and tests ensure that all the critical information is being backed up.

About five years ago, we worked with a project-based client to set up an effective backup solution for their servers.  Once it was set up, we ran tests to ensure all their data was recoverable. Over the ensuing five years, the company created a new cloud-based server that housed critical information. This drive was never added to the backup solution, and since they never tested the recovery process, this information went unrecognized by their IT staff. When the server box died, all the data being stored on the new servers was lost. Years’ worth of critical data – gone.

Stop picking and choosing what to cover

Many companies are taking chances right now thinking that they have to pick and choose which apps and servers to include in their disaster recovery. It used to be the case that business continuity solutions were expensive, and budgets would only allow for IT managers to provide continuity for mission-critical apps and servers. While many IT departments are still operating with that premise, it’s simply not necessary.

Cloud-based disaster recovery solutions and backups have made more holistic redundancy and recovery available at a fraction of what many businesses are paying for continuity that covers just a few critical assets. Even if you have some continuity or backup solution partially in the cloud, it could still cost you much more than some of the more robust options available.

The Microsoft cloud offers multiple backup and recovery layers of protection that are very affordable. Through Azure Backup and Site Recovery Manager, Microsoft gives companies global redundancy with virtually unlimited resources to backup and protect data with unquestionable resiliency.

Why your continuity should be managed

Regardless of what solutions you use, your business continuity must be managed. For our clients, Nortec monitors business continuity to ensure it syncs to the cloud and conducts daily checks to verify files are being replicated. For each of our managed continuity services clients, we do annual failover tests to a test environment in the cloud to ensure data, applications and systems will continue to operate in the recovery environment and data can be restored.

Business continuity solutions have become easier and more affordable than they’ve ever been. You can try solutions as a proof of concept for free, and you stand up or take down solutions with more agility and flexibility, allowing you to do much more than was once possible with your budget. Whatever you choose to ensure business continuity, make sure you monitor and test the solution to ensure your files will be there when you need to recover them.

When was the last time you did a full failover? Don’t do a test run during a disaster. Contact Nortec Communications at 866-531-1990 or online.

Nortec Communications - Washington D.C