Arcserve has unveiled new strategies to help organisations prepare for and respond to unplanned downtime – stressing active participation across business units to ensure all stakeholders understand both the data risks and expectations for recovery.
Today’s businesses are weathering a “perfect storm” of data protection-related challenges that make it nearly impossible for IT teams to effectively run operations, and place decision makers in a bind when allocating and managing resources.
According to Byron Horn-Botha, Arcserve Southern Africa lead: channel and partnerships, organisations may think they have the right resources and technology to deliver against recovery objectives but without this fundamental knowledge and understanding across the business, they may end up guessing what is required as opposed to delivering precisely what is needed. “The strategies aim to arm businesses with the key elements necessary for successful disaster recovery planning,” he says.
Set realistic recovery expectations
“We live in a world where customers expect instant gratification and access to information, meaning data and applications are required to be available anytime, anywhere–and with touch-of-a-button ease. Moreover, there’s an expectation that if something goes wrong, recovery can happen swiftly – and without data loss.
“But without the correct tools this may not be possible. Arcserve’s solutions are designed to ensure availability of critical systems. Therefore, the conversation IT management should be having regularly with business units across their organisations should address the question ‘do we have the right tools/solutions in place,” he says.
Document business objectives and availability requirements
Arcserve, emphasises that it is crucial to document both business objectives and the criticality of the data and applications companies are trying to protect.
“These are business decisions – not IT decisions. In other words – if you want to do good business continuity (BC), you really need to know your business before you can determine an acceptable level of IT risk. You can’t begin to approach discussions about infrastructure, services, or software without that understanding first.”
Arcserve recommends that companies get their business units together to answer important questions such as: what is the actual amount of downtime that is regarded as sustainable – in terms of customer inconvenience and subsequent business loss – for each application.
Then, identify interdependencies to ensure no single system or application has been neglected. That means mapping out how data flows from one application to the next, enabling the acquisition of a sharper picture of what needs to be protected — and with what level of availability. Because, if an application in the value chain can’t be recovered with the speed necessary to support another critical application, the business is compromised.
The company emphasises that organisations must think beyond costs and give careful consideration to return on investment (ROI).
“Getting buy-in for infrastructure improvements can be tricky given the competing demands for business investment across organisations. That’s why it’s crucial to discuss the huge discrepancy between the cost of disaster recovery solutions, and loss expectancy should systems go down for an extended time, or are lost entirely. The point is you can’t look at the improvement of IT infrastructure as a cost, it must be viewed as an ongoing investment in the health of the organisation.”