The modern world of business is under increasing pressure to remain available and 'Always-On' to its customers, regardless of time or location.
An Always-On environment requires businesses to adopt modern data centres that are capable of scaling to meet organisational needs, and the impact this places on business continuity should not be underestimated.
Putting together a business continuity plan
In principle, business continuity is a means for a company to truly consider itself an Always-On enterprise. If implemented correctly, a business continuity plan should give decision-makers the peace of mind that their business can rely on data backup off site in the event of a crisis or disaster. It is however important to draw a line between business growth and the implementation of back-end systems that are capable of facilitating this. With information becoming available quicker, this is often where many decision-makers stumble.
Our 2016 Veeam Availability Report found that the average cost of downtime globally for mission-critical applications is almost $80,000 (£55,000) per hour. For non-mission-critical applications, this decreased to just under $60,000 (£40,000) per hour. It is essential that business continuity, and disaster recovery plans, evolve to meet the requirements of the digital era.
These plans have been set up in the past, however many business have not been confident that the theory would be practical in a real world crisis. Today, enterprises must implement proper testing to ensure the time it takes to recover data off-site falls within the parameters of their plans.
Making those disaster recovery decisions
Many companies have disaster recovery sites, but these may be grossly underpowered when the time comes to use them. So, even though enterprises need to adopt technology that will enable the effective implementation of a business continuity plan, and off-site disaster recovery, they also need to be aware of testing it to ensure performance levels are as expected. After all, when the time comes to use the service, there should not be any surprises. Businesses need to have the peace of mind to know the solution works, giving them the freedom to remain focused on business as usual.
The modern data centre is one that is highly virtualised, and the cloud is able to handle just about anything that is thrown at it, but it needs decision-makers to take the first step and leverage that capacity in the event of a disaster. This also means having the ability to get up and running as soon as possible. According to the Availability Report, the average amount of time taken to recover applications for local organisations is four hours for mission-critical applications, and eight hours for non-mission-critical ones. Decision-makers need to ask whether they can realistically expect to be down for that long, and still remain competitive in their respective industries.
Working with trusted partners in the availability space means that companies should be able to use solutions that are optimised to deal with limited bandwidth. Business continuity and disaster recovery are business-critical processes and should be treated as such. This is why having a focus on partnerships with the right solutions providers will pay dividends once the time comes to roll over to a disaster recovery site. The Always-On enterprise will demand nothing less.
Richard Agnew, VP NW EMEA at Veeam