The 2 Magic Disaster Recovery Questions

by Robert Payne on February 8, 2013

A couple of months ago I watched on TV as places I love like New York City and the Jersey Shore got pounded by Hurricane Sandy. Luckily my city, Philadelphia, was spared (relatively speaking) from the extreme damage experienced by other areas. Oddly enough though, I was in New York City the weekend before Sandy hit, celebrating Halloween with some friends. Can’t believe I’m doing this but that’s me on the left below as the Hamburgler. Shout out to Tetris guy too, that’s a pretty sweet costume.

When we woke up Sunday, the media panic engine was already in full swing, and I actually debated staying with my friends in Hoboken, riding out the storm there. The TV kept saying bridges were closing, and public trans was shutting down, etc. Ultimately my friend and I decided it would be best to drive back to Philly and handle this storm at our respective home base(s). And it was kind of surreal to see this sign as we’re on the highway.

It’s a damn good thing we didn’t stay either, because my friend was soon vacated from his Hoboken apartment by flood waters, and didn’t get back in until a week later. And that got me thinking – just how prepared is the average SMB for a disaster? I mean, Sandy was unique in the sense that we had days to prepare. We knew a full 5 days in advance that we were likely to get slammed, so we had a lot of time to shut systems down, take services offline, etc. But you don’t always get that advanced warning. And for those times when you don’t, those times when all of a sudden poof – disaster strikes, or system gone – there are two fundamental questions every SMB should ask themselves:

  1. Do I have another copy of all my data somewhere else?
  2. How fast can I come back online?

If the answer to #1 is No and/or you haven’t done any recent tests to provide an accurate estimate for #2 you could be in for some serious problems in the event of a disaster. Yet according to some recent data I’ve seen, a fair amount of companies fall into this bucket!

From a recent SolarWinds study

-          25% of organizations have no disaster recovery or preparedness plans in place protecting data in case of an outage or natural disaster

-          For those that do, almost half (44%) only update or test the plan once a year (it’s recommended this plan be tested once per quarter)

-          And a staggeringly (too) high 30% of users maintained that they were “not at all confident” in their ability to recovery data within a reasonable timeframe

Now it’s understandable how we got here. DR has long been the game of big business. Sure it’s important for huge corporations to think about this stuff, but the SMB? Nah. In the event of a disaster, the SMB has typically thought more about survival (both personal and professional) than about how fast they can start accepting orders again.

Plus, DR has typically been very expensive, creating a barrier to entry for the SMB. But technologies like virtualization, cloud and mobile have all but eliminated those barriers, giving SMBs and lower market segments access to a solution once previously out of reach due to costs, infrastructure and staffing challenges.

A few numbers from a recent Symantec survey of SMBs:

-          35% using mobile devices for business

-          34% either currently deploying, or already using, virtualization

-          40% deploying public clouds; 43% implementing private clouds

So it’s clear the SMB sector is now able to embrace these technologies. What’s better is that their embracement of these technologies has improved their disaster preparedness. From the same study, 71% of virtualization users reported disaster preparedness improved with virtualization; along with 43% of private cloud users, 41% of public cloud users, and 36% of mobile device users.

This is why I am so excited about the upcoming release of PHD Virtual Backup 6.2; it comes with a technology call CloudHook™. CloudHook offers a seamless and painless link to cloud storage for backup, archive and DR. It’s quite easy to use – all you need is the PHD VBA and a cloud storage account. It’s flexible – choose from the popular public cloud options like Google, Amazon & RackSpace, or any OpenStack/Swift enabled provider. And down the road you’ll even be able to backup to, archive in, and perform DR from… the PHD cloud! And of course it’s cost effective – the PHD VBA is already one of the best value’s on the market today for virtual backup, and cloud storage costs like 10 cents per month per GB.

CloudHook will be out early March and make sure to check back to the PHD website next week for some updated info. As we move forward into an era where every business, no matter the size, will be able to cost effectively ensure DR protection, I look forward to watching PHD grow and realize their cloud data protection strategy. You should too :-) the Fun is just Beginning.

As always, try it for free here:

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