Power cuts, pandemics, public disorder, flooding and cybercrime are just a few of the many real threats that face businesses today. Add to that, various internal hazards such as malicious and disgruntled employees, user error, air conditioning and power failure, localised water damage, re-location and industrial actions can sum up to stoppage of work and organisational function. With companies relying so heavily on technology, business continuity is essential to mitigate loss and ensure survival. Amidst a sea of IT solutions in the market, how can decision makers know which one is the best for their organisation?
Frontier Technology and Double-Take by Vision Solutions recently hosted a briefing to address this question. Alongside delegates from the insurance, retail, healthcare and financial sectors, they discussed the different alternatives on the deployment of disaster recovery plans and explored the strengths, weaknesses and costs of in-house and cloud options.
If an organisation has access to various resources, an in-house business continuity plan may be considered. Knowing who is able to access and who manages confidential company data gives CIOs a sense of security. It is, however, not totally exempt from potential threats. This option involves heavy investment in fail-safe facilities, reliable equipment and software upgrades. The disaster recovery planner should also take into great consideration the technical, process and procedural designs to meet their recovery point and recovery time objectives. Before deployment, the solution must be rehearsed and then periodically refreshed. The selection of business continuity facility must be in a secure location and the provider of deployed technology must be able to render support and maintenance services when necessary.
The less costly and rapidly deployable alternative is moving the disaster recovery plan into the cloud. With this, there is no upfront capital expenditure for hardware, software licenses and implementation services. It reduces company costs because there is no physical device or software to purchase and therefore no ongoing expansion and maintenance costs. Because there already is an existing infrastructure, this option can be quickly deployed, it is flexible and can be accessed anywhere. Disaster recovery in the cloud can also reduce the burden placed on the IT team as there is no need for solution design, there is minimal involvement during deployment, and it frees them to focus on line of business application and user service, allowing them to add value to the business.
“How secure is cloud computing?” This was the number one question that all the delegates asked. Unfortunately, not all cloud computing providers are equal. Organisations planning to take this route must consider the physical security of their servers. Ideally, it should be in a tier 4 data centre, the highest in standards. To ensure disaster-free replication, the provider must have at least two data centres and each must observe the strictest measures within the premise. It is also worth taking into consideration the US Patriotic Act, a law that allows the US government instant access to any data, without owner notification, if it is hosted in a datacenter that is located in or owned by a US entity.
Frontier Technology understands the various variables decision makers encounter when embarking their business continuity strategy into the cloud. This is why they developed Frontier Continuity Service, a fully outsourced, tailored to fit, private cloud disaster recovery solution. Frontier Continuity Service client Andrew Hough, IT Manager at Hampden Group, explains: “We don’t believe in trailblazing but we do recognise the importance of keeping pace with technological advances which provide solutions that make real business sense. Having worked with Frontier Technology for many years – for example when we switched over from Novell Groupwise to Microsoft Exchange 2007 – it made sense to discuss our disaster recovery requirements with them. We realised that a 48 hour back up window was no longer acceptable and that we needed to be back up within the hour. Having reviewed competitive tenders, we opted for Frontier’s Continuity Service and we haven’t looked back. It has saved us time, effort and money. We also offer flexible working as part of this solution and have the reassurance of a 30-40 minute backup window which is very impressive.”
Frontier Technology is so confident that they can meet all disaster recovery requirements that they are offering a 3-week, no obligation Frontier Continuity Service trial. During the trial, experts will perform continuous replication of customer’s data and an invocation test to demonstrate the capabilities of this offering.