Essential Disaster Recovery Points to Consider

Disaster RecoveryEvery data center is bound to deal with some form of natural or man-made disaster at some point. That’s why it’s important for every business to have a disaster recovery plan. Here are specific metrics businesses should to track to ensure they have a sound plan, along with considerations to maximize data protection. 

Metrics to Analyze

The most important metrics for evaluating a disaster recovery plan are Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). These metrics are important for limiting downtime and accelerating problem-solving. While RTO measures how long a business can tolerate being offline, RPO reflects how much data loss the company can tolerate while in recovery mode. The combination of RTO, RPO, and budget should shape any company’s recovery plan. 

Recovery Objective and Options

The primary focus of a disaster recovery plan should be making a smooth transition back to normal business continuity while protecting data. Ideally, the business does not need to rebuild infrastructure, and can shift to accessing copies of data with minimal disruption. 

Recovery options include cold and warm sites. A cold site may require tape backups or could just be a cool room with network access. This type of plan leads to a slow recovery spread out over several days or weeks, since tapes must be rewound and it takes time to transfer data from one medium to another. It’s still a viable option for companies trying to save money. 

A warm site is an infrastructure that’s ready to pick up where the system left off before the disaster.  It contains all the main components to resume data center operations. One option includes using dedicated spaces to house backup servers. Electronic vaulting, which involves automatic backups, has replaced tape backups in recent years due to greater efficiency. Warm sites cost more, but are the more reliable solution for resuming normal business activity as quickly as possible. 

Cloud Recovery Plan

The cloud is a haven for ideas that have revolutionized the internet, including “as a service” providers. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is an option for companies looking for a turn-key solution that continuously backs up data. Cloud-based providers reduce data loss concerns since they provide constant availability of data due to the amount of redundancy from backing up data in multiple places. 

Regardless of where the disaster occurs, there’s a strong chance that it will not impact all servers. Cloud providers are the best bet for achieving almost zero downtime. Cloud recovery is also an effective solution for scalability without investing in new technology. It allows data to be moved quickly from one place to another without interrupting business continuity. 

A recovery plan can be segmented into different priorities. Business-critical data can be prioritized to be more readily available, while archived data can be stored in more affordable media storage spaces that may take time to access. 

Conclusion

Preparing for disaster recovery should be a solid part of every business. Backing up data regularly in different, easily accessible places helps limit downtime. By relying on modern solutions such as the cloud, downtime will likely last only minutes.

How to Choose a Disaster Recovery Service Provider

shutterstock_117274840Disaster recovery is a critical capability for enterprises in today’s environment, in which continuous uptime and always-available access to applications and processes are expected. Even the most prepared enterprise that has taken every possible step to avoid potential network interruptions will likely face a disaster or situation from which it must recover.

Enterprises may choose to deploy disaster recovery hardware and software within their premises to respond to unforeseen situations that may disrupt their networks. But an increasingly popular service model provides virtual disaster recovery services for companies that can’t or don’t want to house that capability on-site.

Development of DRaaS

Disaster recovery joins a growing list of critical functions that can now be offered as a service thanks to server virtualization technology. Infrastructure as as Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) are becoming familiar throughout data centers in enterprises of all sizes.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) has joined those offerings as a function that is scalable and flexibile and can save businesses money when offered virtually. DRaaS also allows for the development of greater capabilities and nearly immediate recovery from interruptions regardless of hardware and storage types.

Choosing a Service

When choosing a cloud-based disaster recovery service, several factors should be considered before making a final vendor choice.

  • ​Availability of Resources. Perhaps the most important factor is whether the service guarantees the availability of resources when they are needed. If no guarantee is made, there is a possibility that recovery services won’t be available when they are needed most.
  • ​Service Restoration Objectives. A plan that includes objectives about how quickly service can be restored is important. A recovery point objective should occur within seconds of an outage, and a recovery time objective should specify recovery within minutes. The number of servers that must be recovered will affect recovery time. Furthermore, the customer should be able to view the disaster recovery environment to verify that objectives and service level agreements (SLAs) are being met.
  • Seamless Deployment. The service provider’s environment should interface with the company’s virtual environment without the need for software or hardware upgrades. Storage technology should be neutral, allowing the enterprise and DRaaS systems to interface whether or not the storage technology used is the same.
  • ​Management. The DRaaS provider should have complete responsibility for managing the disaster recovery process. This includes providing and installing software, managing the replication process to make sure it occurs without error, and ensuring failover occurs seamlessly during a disaster.
  • ​Server Replication. Continuous replication of servers is crucial to effective disaster recovery, and point in time restoration and recovery should be provided.

Benefits of DRaaS

In a time of crisis or during a disaster, an enterprise may have many areas to focus on and processes and systems to restore. Offloading recovery functions to a third party that specializes in disaster recovery can remove at least one burden during what could be a chaotic time.

Choosing the right disaster recovery provider is crucial to ensure the restoration process goes smoothly. It is important to take time to understand what the service provider offers, along with what guarantees and SLAs it provides. Making the right choice can be the difference between a quick recovery and a prolonged headache.

When to Consider Updating Call Center Software

shutterstock_207082261After a company first implements call center software in its business operations, it may be a long time before employees realize that certain useful capabilities are missing. These capabilities might range from the ability to handle higher call volumes to more efficient video conferencing. Following are several signs that it may be time to upgrade a business’s call center software.

 

Certain Call Center Features Are Missing

One of the main problems with traditional call center services is the need to purchase certain features separately. Whether it’s additional software or equipment, it will likely cost more than a company is willing to spend.

Thankfully, newer software packages come with many different features, including call forwarding and social media integration.

The Current Software Limits the Company’s Growth

The lack of scalability in call center technology can greatly hinder a company’s ability to grow. Call centers need to expand with new employees and more capable technology during peak seasons, but traditional onsite call centers don’t typically allow for this.

Using a virtual call center allows for greater scalability and provides solutions that accommodate additional employees and subsequent software needs.

There Is a Lack of Continuity

Another issue with traditional call centers is the overall lack of disaster recovery capabilities. If call centers are located onsite, there’s a smaller chance of effective recovery when the network goes down. There are certain steps companies should take to ensure that their call centers have sufficient continuity implemented.

A company could discuss with its current provider the upgrades that would help deploy an effective data recovery solution. Alternatively, a business could switch over to a virtual call center that comes with plenty of redundancy in the event of data loss.

If all a business needs is added data redundancy, it may be better off sticking with its current provider and only using that additional service. However, if other important features such as improved scalability are noticeably missing, turning to a virtual call center provider may be a more inexpensive and efficient solution to the continuity issue.

The Call Center Is Simply Not Worth the Cost

The cost of running a traditional call center can be particularly high, taking into account certain maintenance and upgrade costs along with other expenses.

Cloud-based virtual call centers, on the other hand, are typically much more affordable, and provide companies with all of the features they need in convenient packages. No upfront capital investment is required, and companies usually only pay a set monthly fee along with payments for total minutes used. Virtual call centers also eliminate the need for a dedicated IT team, as providers are responsible for maintenance and upgrades.

Is an Upgrade Appropriate?

These are just some of the many reasons companies might consider upgrading their call center software. If any of the above issues are recognizable, it may be time for a business to look for a virtual call center solution that can meet all of its needs without requiring a massive investment.

The Advantages of Colocation Market Growth

collocationFrom large corporations to small companies, businesses today are crossing over to colocation services. This trend continues to grow due to the need to quickly and efficiently access new technological advances while reducing business expenses. Colocation also reduces the stress of constant employee training as technologies change.

In general, there is an overwhelming drive in today’s business world for more IT capabilities to stay productive and ahead of the pack. But what exactly is driving the growth in the colocation industry? Analysts point to the following qualities businesses must have in order to survive and prosper in today’s ever-changing markets:

Power and Efficiency

A center designed to merge technology and house it off-site allows companies to focus on other employee needs and expenses. Colocation not only provides independent outsourced business access to more power, it also improves networking capacity. It eliminates the need to plan and build a data center on site that must be efficiently run and safeguarded.

Safety and Security

Whether it’s tornadoes, earthquakes, or floods, any crippling disaster can compromise the safety of data. Often, data might be completely lost forever. Off-site data centers act as a protective backup for company data and networking needs in the event of fire or other natural disasters.

Security breaches are another major problem. In fact, experts say concerns about security are the main factor behind the growth of the colocation market. Colocation offers an expert solution to security issues because, through this system, businesses can have access to a range of professionals who manage threats, contain security breaches, and make the required repairs. This means that company managers are freed from the burden of keeping private data or other information safe, and can focus exclusively on productivity.

Budget and Expenses

Colocation provides a great budget-cutting solution when it comes to data usage, storage, and maintenance. The option allows businesses to pay only for the networking and storage they require. Thus, they don’t have to use either generic or expensive exclusively-tailored bundle packages to fit their needs.

A colocation solution also relieves companies of the costs of having to build, staff, and maintain data centers of their own. The fees for this technological option far outweigh the expenses of having a company data center on site.

Progress

As technology moves forward, the colocation option is becoming more popular. Companies now have a choice between hiring highly skilled workers who can deal with new technological trends or adopting the colocation solution to handle and maintain off-site date and equipment. Colocation solutions, managed by an off-site provider, eliminate the expense of an in-house specialist. Also, it resolves the problem of continual employee training as data storage and networking solutions change with the times and trends.

Whether in the context of cost-effectiveness, networking, or staffing advantages–colocation allows a business to have more for less. Industry experts have projected statistics that predict a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.59% through 2018. The increasing demand for this alternative is fueling growth and innovation as it benefits all types of business models. In return, the efficiency of such an option saves money not only for companies but also for consumers due to a trickle-down effect. In this situation, everyone wins.

If you’re considering colocation solution for your business, now is the time to take the plunge, merge your technological needs and move them safely and efficiently off-site.