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How to Get Back on Your Feet with Disaster Recovery

Once disaster strikes, a continuity plan helps to bring a business back to a functioning level

Disaster recovery represents a fundamental aspect of business, as it involves a series of steps taken in order to minimize the effects of an unplanned outage. This can include a natural disaster such as an earthquake, a computer virus that rips through systems or a gaping hole in security that may not have been discovered for years. Once disaster strikes, a continuity plan helps to bring a business back to a functioning level.

Consider a scenario where disaster has struck. A business must now deploy its disaster recovery processes in order to negate the impact of the disaster.

Don't panic
While a disaster might seem like the end for a business, there are a number of steps that can be taken in order to bring the firm back to an operational level. First of all, take note of what the outage is, why it happened and the various departments of the business it has affected.

Disaster recoveryFor example, if the sales office has been hit then make a note of how this will affect the business. Can sales be transferred to another part of the country? Could the team accept queries through their mobile phones? Is there the chance for workers to travel to another centre while the office is closed?

Next, any outside parties that may have been impacted by the disaster need to be informed so they can take action and limit the spread of the problem itself, such as a server hack or a virus. This is especially important when it comes to customers, as firms could lose customer loyalty if they discover their details have been compromised.

Time for plan B

Data safety and security is paramount when it comes to limiting the effects of a disaster. Even if the sales team can operate through their mobile phones, how are they going to take new orders if they do not have access to an inventory system or the ability to place a new shipping order? As a result, services like virtualisation become extremely useful in getting a business operational as soon as possible. Even if you currently use a physical data centre, server virtualisation can create a full replica of your primary systems but without the need for extra hardware. As a result, businesses can recover quickly and efficiently from a disaster - all at a lower cost due to the lack of hardware.

In addition, while businesses can use multiple servers in different locations in order to prevent a single point of failure, using virtual servers cuts the problem at the source. If a natural disaster - like a flood - hits the office then data in the cloud will remain intact. With 67 per cent of businesses including wireless within their business continuity plans - as well as 38 per cent of firms investing in cloud solutions for security, cost and performance purposes (according to a recent study by AT&T) - companies are increasingly realising the benefits of going virtual when it comes to continuity.

Prepare now
A mix of preventative, detective and corrective measures are the cornerstones of a disaster recovery plan. While businesses never wish to use a disaster recovery plan, it's important to keep one updated and ready to deploy in case the unthinkable happens. As a result, businesses will be well-placed to become fully functional after a disaster compared to those who neglect to formulate a plan.

More Stories By Dominic Monkhouse

Dominic Monkhouse joined PEER 1 Hosting as managing director of the company's new UK operations in January, 2009, bringing more than 14 years of IT industry experience to the team. He is the key executive responsible for building and growing PEER 1 Hosting's expansion into Europe. In his role as managing director, Dominic is responsible for sales, marketing and service delivery across PEER 1 Hosting's UK business and ensuring overall customer satisfaction. His role is integral to the company's continued commitment to customer service.

Before joining PEER 1 Hosting, Dominic served as managing director of IT Lab, where he was able to quickly transform the company into the fastest growing IT service provider in the UK SME market. Prior to IT Lab, he was managing director of Rackspace, which grew from a staff of four to 150 under his guidance.

Dominic has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Food Marketing from Newcastle University and a MBA from Sheffield Business School in the UK. He frequently participates in public speaking events on the topic of creating great places to work and achieving continuous client satisfaction. He also is involved as a judge of the Sunday Times Customer Experience Awards.