Disaster recovery and business continuity have gained a bit more momentum in the past five years or so, as several major storms that have struck various regions of the United States have opened the eyes of most leaders to the dangers of not mitigating risk. In many situations, those firms that do not carefully craft their recovery plans will be in for significant damages even when the weather is calm, as disruptions and outages can be caused by a range of catalysts.
The technologies that boost resilience to these events have become more powerful, affordable and accessible in the past few years, with cloud computing being one of the main vehicles many firms use to achieve strong continuity. In fact, back when the cloud was just beginning to gain steam in the marketplace, a majority of leaders were citing disaster recovery as the primary reason why they invested in the technology.
Today, cloud services remain a fundamental and powerful framework to boost recovery and continuity performance, but companies that go an extra step into modern infrastructure, establishing hybrid IT in the process, will likely enjoy even greater defense against outages. Hybrid IT is an ideal approach because of how it can quickly lead to more tailored and customized technology management. Every moving part will have a purpose and work in concert toward unique corporate objectives.
In the continuity and recovery conversation, hybrid IT can be used to develop contingencies and boost the everyday functionality of technology service delivery and management. However, in addition to the technologies in place, companies will also need to ensure that their strategies are ironed out, tested and refined regularly to avoid disruptions caused by user negligence and a lack of preparation across departments.
Tips to excel
Some of the best lessons in disaster recovery and continuity planning can be found among organizations in the public and private sectors that have placed an emphasis on their strategic overhauls in the past few years. One such example was with the Virginia Information Technology Agency, which StateTech Magazine recently reported on for its complete transformation of recovery planning and execution to boost the public sector entity's resilience to disruption.
State and federal governments have become a bit more diligent in their recovery planning due to the increased reliance upon digital technologies for a range of responsibilities and tasks, including those that face the public. According to the news provider, this particular agency had to ensure that its 211 servers across 22 branches were protected, and that recovery times were as low as possible for mission-critical systems – working to bring the number down below 24 hours.
Because the agency had a relatively cut-and-dried strategy in place at the outset of the initiative to refine the procedures, this was a major task that involved plenty of planning. The source pointed out that VITA was thorough in its strategic overhaul, working to reconcile issues that were found within the corporate culture. Its employees were better prepared to handle their responsibilities in the event of a disaster, including enhanced testing procedures every step of the way.
This is an important note, as so many firms will fail to adequately test their recovery plans ahead of an actual event, and sometimes do not even conduct assessments at all. StateTech Magazine argued that asset management, user performances and other matters must be involved in the testing process to comprehensively ensure the programs are aligned with needs and objectives.
Leverage managed services
Because hybrid IT is still a relatively new movement in infrastructure management and provisioning, many firms will benefit from the use of managed services for their initial deployments, integration, optimization and long-term maintenance. The same goes for the tailoring of hybrid IT to the specific requirements of recovery and continuity, as trying to complete these tasks without the right experience and expertise can leave the business at greater risk should a major adverse event strike.
Managed services come with a range of benefits that transcend the simple provisioning of infrastructure assets, including the reduction of strain placed on IT departments with respect to maintenance and delivery. Hosted services and assets will be operable and accessible even when physical workplaces and primary servers are compromised by some disruption or outage.
Considering how costly even one day of operational setbacks can be, investing in hybrid IT solutions and enhancing them to be better protected against outages is a sound move for all enterprises today.