Hurricane Ivan: An Internal Staffing Data Disaster

October 26, 2016

A hurricane knocks out a server. Its name is Ivan and he’s one of five employees that staff the mid-sized company’s IT department. He’s performing a routine software update that, due to a litany of perfectly aligned factors, happens to knock out a critical server. Sure, the data is backed up… to 5PM the day before. And it’s on tape, at a remote location. Ivan and his four colleagues are now on a dual-purpose mission to get the server back online and restore the data. But that data created in the past 24 hours since the last backup? It’s been carried out to sea. What could have been a mere hiccup is now a data disaster.

Mid-sized companies occupy an ambiguous area in information management; they generate copious amounts of data, but do not have the resources to staff a large IT department. Outages can happen to any organization, large or small, but in this in-between area with no clear-cut policies to dictate proper protocol, they are more likely to become disasters. A general lack of specialty expertise within these small IT departments contributes to the risk; these departments are simply not equipped to understand what goes into a true disaster recovery plan. What some mid-sized organizations consider a disaster recovery plan is actually no more than cloud-based backup.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a cost-effective means for a mid-sized business to mitigate risk of downtime and data loss, the two biggest costs in data disasters. DRaaS providers are IT specialists who can provide expertise when formulating a disaster recovery solution tailored to a specific organization’s needs and risk tolerance. It starts with a plan. Working with a third party helps to create a disaster recovery strategy that meets a mid-sized business’s unique needs, and put the plan into action.

More than cloud-based redundancy.

Though DRaaS providers replicate data to a cloud to reside until recovery is needed, this service is not the same as cloud backup. DRaaS is the entire process of getting back up and running after a data disaster; replication is only part of the offering. A true third-party disaster recovery solution restores that redundant data to your failover site to minimize the costs of downtime and data loss. For a mid-sized business, outsourcing the restoration process can lead to substantial savings in terms of repurposing the entire IT team to full-time disaster recovery professionals until the systems are back online. The IT department must abandon its regular duties to contribute to the growth of the organization.

A custom solution.

How long can your company afford to be offline? How much data can you afford to lose? The provider will use your stated Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective to build a disaster recovery plan and solution that meets your financial and recovery needs. Constant backups are more expensive, as is maintaining an immediate failover site. If you can afford to lose more data in the event of a disaster, you will receive a disaster recovery solution with less frequent backups. This type of solution will minimize ongoing costs, but possibly lead to a greater one-time cost down the road.

Resource allocation.

The best use of an internal IT team member is not replicating data. DRaaS outsources the data backup to an external firm. Maintaining in-house expertise is simply not realistic for smaller businesses. A mid-sized company cannot afford to hire a dedicated disaster recovery specialist to spend every day preparing for an event that may never happen.

Shift in spending from CAPEX to OPEX.

The recurring cost of DRaaS is an operational expense, meaning that the organization can budget for the monthly fee of maintaining continuous data replication and a failover site. Instead of being hit with a massive, unexpected expense from a data disaster, the organization can plan, paying a smaller sum every month.

The largest cost of a data disaster is downtime. Time off-line is lost business. Add that to the internal IT team’s forced desertion of their duties and the cost of the unrecoverable data, and you understand why only 6% of businesses survive a data disaster. Mid-size organizations without a dedicated disaster recovery resource and a busy IT departments composed are particularly susceptible to catastrophic loss. DRaaS offers a customizable solution that assists in resource allocation and budget management.

Are you at risk for a data disaster? If you are interested in protecting your organization from data disaster, get in touch with Flexential. We can help you create a disaster recovery plan, and build a DRaaS solution that fits your recovery objectives. Contact us today for a free risk assessment.