|By Fredrik Schmidt||
|September 4, 2014 01:00 PM EDT||
It's an oft-cited FEMA statistic that 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. Almost certainly contributing to this eye-popping failure rate is the fact that an estimated 74 percent of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) lack a disaster recovery plan, while 84 percent haven't bothered to obtain disaster insurance.
On an annual basis, flooding ranks as the most common and costly type of natural disaster in America. This hurricane season alone is expected to boast 10 named tropical storms and five hurricanes. Those SMBs that don't want their data to wash away with the rest of their possessions should consider revisiting the planning process, strategies, and cloud technologies that help businesses stay afloat in the event of a disaster.
Be Proactive - Planning Improves Reaction Time and Outcomes
Most businesses naively believe that they won't experience a true disaster, or that they'll just cross that bridge when in happens. However, according to the Aberdeen Group, disaster is arguably inevitable with the average business experiencing 2.26 downtime events per year, at an average cost of $163,674. Since all businesses aren't created equal, and many are constrained by dollars and cents, businesses must carefully calibrate their strategy for response to be commensurate with their risk. A well thought out business continuity and disaster recovery plan that takes into account the following six steps can make all the difference between a business that is poised for continued success, and one that is done in by something going awry:
Step 1: Identify mission-critical applications and data by performing a risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA) as well as taking an asset inventory. This analysis will allow the business to calculate the potential impact of its most likely threats and prioritize their response accordingly.
Step 2: Estimate when operations should/will resume by measuring success against established RTO/RPO through frequent testing to ensure flexibility in the disaster recovery technology solution(s) the business chooses. Companies should keep in mind that, while accurate RTO/RPOs are easy to attain with specific systems, they are very hard to meet when data becomes more agnostic and distributed across more systems.
Step 3: Identify a backup worksite in the event the business becomes unsafe.
Step 4: Design and publish the business continuity plan/disaster recovery plan (BCP/DRP), making sure it is accessible to everyone from anywhere.
Step 5: Make sure employees know about the plan and are familiar with it. When disaster strikes, businesses with a clearly defined plan and consistent communication can more quickly cut through the chaos and get back on track.
Step 6: Businesses should regularly put their BCP/DRP to the test to ensure it meets current and future needs, and to expose areas that can be updated for improvement. With the maturity of cloud solutions, you also have to take into account migrating and living with a more diverse private/public cloud portfolio. Ensure you have a go-to plan for the future to expand into new things like high availability, and archiving within clouds.
Disaster-Proofing Strategies & Technologies for Every Situation and Budget
First, let's get one thing out of the way: tape is not a recovery solution. With the dizzying pace of innovation, today's modern business continuity and disaster recovery solutions available in the cloud have proliferated almost beyond count. This is making it challenging for a business to hone in on the right solutions, so let's take a quick look at some solutions that can fit various needs and budgets.
In the SMB market, one strategy we are increasingly seeing is "community cloud" initiatives, which allow businesses to share risk and pool resources to stretch their dollars. For instance, through a mutual agreement, two companies in the same region could house one of their servers in the other's data center. Thus, rather than having to set up, manage, and pay for a duplicate data center, the companies are each afforded off-site protection. However, in event of a regional disaster, such as a storm, each of the sites might be subject to identical threats. Therefore, this option should be reserved for businesses with shoestring budgets, in areas that face low regional threat risk.
Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
The emergence of cloud-based DRaaS over the past few years has been a game-changer for businesses of all sizes and budgets. DRaaS solutions can enable complete recovery of data and entire production environments in minutes - not hours or days. On a predetermined basis, a company's physical and/or virtual servers send images of their environments to the cloud of a DRaaS provider. In the event of an adverse event at the company's site, such as a storm or fire, a virtualized (and fully-operational) version of the physical server can be rapidly spun-up in the DRaaS cloud. Additionally, the affordability of DRaaS is attractive as it doesn't require capital investment and even some appliance-based solutions are offered as Hardware as a Service.
Despite its abundant benefits, though, DRaaS still doesn't solve the age-old problem of "what" a business needs to protect unless it's set up manually by default. Moreover, while advances in WAN Optimization equate to more rapid transfer of data to the cloud, there are still some bandwidth issues.
Hybrid Cloud Solutions
Hybrid cloud solutions are bursting onto the market and freeing applications from the need to be tied to a physical piece of hardware. They enable applications to live both locally, as well as in a cloud environment, at the same time. These hybrid solutions mean businesses don't have to DIY for their own disaster recovery sites and can instead designate a cloud provider to provide the infrastructure
In turn, these cloud vendors can achieve efficacies of scale and performance rarely seen with individual operators. For a small number of application-centric situations, such as finance institutions, this won't be the best solution. But for almost any other business, it leaves no reason not to move disaster recovery to the cloud.
The disaster recovery landscape continues to evolve at a breakneck pace and very soon businesses will have the ability to operate between many clouds and avoid being locked down by just one. For instance, companies can now choose solutions that enable virtual and physical loads to be recovered inside multiple cloud providers and even orchestrate cascading failovers between different providers. This freedom essentially enables businesses to place their recovery eggs in multiple baskets. In the distant future, we can logically surmise that businesses will one day be able to move between cloud providers on a whim by simply pushing a button and failing over on top of another cloud platform.
Choosing the Right Solution
Businesses can narrow their search a bit further by choosing universal products that address their basic need around recovery (failover/failback) while being as agnostic to hardware and software as possible. At the same time, they should expand their horizons and look for application-centric solutions that enable them to focus on what matters: the actual data that drives their business. Any company that maintains a business continuity plan and implements the right cloud technology to meet their needs is well on the path to saving itself from becoming another morbid statistic the next time disaster strikes.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,232
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 8, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 947
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Dec. 8, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 310
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Dec. 8, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 370
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,719
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,817
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 2,249
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,846
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 2,315
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 8, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 1,241
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
Dec. 8, 2016 03:00 PM EST Reads: 530
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 8, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 934
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 1,193
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 796
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 776
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Dec. 8, 2016 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,752
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
Dec. 8, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 537
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Dec. 8, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,348
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Dec. 8, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 7,330
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
Dec. 8, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 576