Together with our IT service partners [link to IT] we offer consultation, advice and full disaster recovery system setup as required. We can take a detailed look at your operation and advise on changes that will make your business safer in the event of an unforeseen disaster. Depending on your budget, we can start small, perhaps encouraging a shift towards more cloud-based services where this would suit your style of working, or perhaps a system of regular backups to a high-availability server. These solutions are surprisingly cheap, and may even end up saving you money in the long run, even in the absence of a disaster; simply through reduced hardware, software and data storage costs.
Beyond this, we have the knowledge and the expertise, in conjunction with our partners, to locate and equip a fully functioning Hot Site for you. The first stage of this process is to inspect your existing setup and discuss your requirements before helping you to choose a location, installing hardware and implementing a system of regular synchronisation that is minimally invasive to your current operation.
Disaster Recovery Systems
Prior to the 1970s, the majority of work done in businesses was done on paper. What few computer systems existed were typically batch-operated mainframes for which days or even weeks of downtime were not only tolerated, but expected. As the information age developed through the 1990s and more and more companies came to rely on the continuous availability of their IT infrastructure, it began to become apparent that any sort of significant failure, natural or human-derived disaster affecting this provision for any significant length of time could cripple or even destroy a large number of businesses. So the disaster recovery industry was born.
Disaster recovery is distinct from – though an important part of – Business Continuity, which refers to the resumption of ‘business-as-usual’ with all aspects of an operation restored. Disaster Recovery refers to the preservation specifically of IT systems and infrastructure, which will, in any case, form the backbone of a large number of industries.
Initially, the main clients of this industry were those compelled by governments, business partners and other external stakeholders to protect their infrastructure for reasons of economic security; but in the wake of recent natural and human-derived disasters affecting developed nations (The Christchurch earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for example), most modern enterprises now voluntarily implement some kOK?ind of disaster recovery system.
The rise of Cloud Computing has made Disaster Recovery systems available to companies of a size and budget that never would have considered them previously. It is now much less important from where a file, program or information stream might be accessed, since most of it can be stored on, and operated from, central servers. These machines are typically sited in secure locations; well inland, far from geological faults, volcanoes and the like, and are backed up continuously. These are known as ‘High Availability Systems’ since the ratio of uptime to downtime is very large. Many organisations now expect ‘2 to 5 9s’ (99.99- 99.99999%) uptime from their server systems. If all user data is continuously synchronised with a central server, and the majority of the programs used are also cloud-based, resuming business after a disaster is as simple as logging in to the internet from another machine.
An alternative to a continuously updating cloud-based operation is what is known as a ‘Hot-Site’ redundancy. A Hot Site is a secondary site, already equipped with computer hardware running the programs that the company normally uses. User data will likely be synchronised with this site on a regular basis (though usually not continuously). In the event of a disaster that affects the primary site, the business can be rapidly relocated to the Hot Site in order that work can resume. Variations on this theme are a Cold Site, which lacks the hardware infrastructure of a Hot Site but is therefore cheaper to maintain; and a Warm Site, which is a compromise between the two.
In the modern age, it is unwise for any technology dependant operation not to employ some kind of disaster recovery system. For small and medium-sized enterprises, a shift away from traditional desktop systems to a predominantly cloud-based setup could be all that is required, and may carry the additional benefits of reduced hardware and software costs, as well as greater accessibility. Have a look at our Cloud Computing section for more details.
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Disaster Recovery Systems
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