Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery (DR) is a security insurance strategy that protects a datacenter from the effects of a natural or man-made catastrophe. In the event of a disaster, a DR plan ensures a business can either quickly resume operations or maintain mission-critical functions during or after a disaster, depending on the severity of the event. 

To better understand DR, we also must define a disaster in the technology industry. A disaster, in the most simple terms, is anything that puts an organization's operations at risk. This can be a cyberattack, a data breach, an equipment failure, a natural disaster, or even rats chewing through cables. Not to mention, any of the following can create an IT disaster:

  • Data loss 
  • Human error
  • Malware and viruses 
  • Network and internet blips 
  • Hardware and/or software failure 
  • Weather catastrophes
  • Natural or pipe burst flooding
  • Office vandalism or damage
Data Protection and Disaster Recovery

When a disaster strikes, the goal of any DR plan is to ensure operations run as normal as possible. While the business will be aware of the crisis, its customers and end-users should not be affected whatsoever. The disaster recovery process includes planning and testing, and may involve a separate physical site for restoring operations.

Many businesses also opt for a disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) strategy, a model that lets you duplicate and host servers in a separate datacenter through a third-party provider. Some cloud vendors offer a native DRaaS solution, which simplifies the installation process. Businesses rely on the third-party vendor to not be affected by the same disaster, and the moment a disaster strikes the original business, the third-party vendor will initiate a DR plan when the enterprise cannot.

The Risks of Not Implementing a Disaster Recovery Plan

Regardless of the size of your organization, IT is an integral part of any business. Protecting your IT assets and mission-critical operations should be at the top of your priority list. Disaster recovery does more than simply protect your hardware; nowadays, software attacks are more commonplace, which can impact your website(s), your ability to fulfill orders, and perform other business-critical tasks. 
 
Without a disaster recovery strategy in place, there are operational, financial, and reputational risks your business may face. From an operational standpoint, if a disaster impedes a business’s ability to operate effectively, its employees will be unable to do their jobs, customers may be impacted by operational slowdown, and they may even choose to consume from another company. 
 
The Risks of Not Implementing a Disaster Recovery Plan
Perhaps the most obvious, immediate risk that arises out of a disaster is massive revenue loss. And while nearly all disasters will create some kind of financial loss, if your response and recovery time is slow, your business is likely to lose a lot more money. And unfortunately, the cost of slow recovery responses is rising. In fact, the average cost of a data breach is nearly $4 million. Because not all companies aren’t well-equipped to cover that expense, many won’t recover after being hit by one significant disaster.
 
Finally, businesses that are unable to quickly and efficiently recover after a disaster are at risk of losing their reputation as a secure, trustworthy business. All good companies know their customers are the engine that keeps them in business, and reputational damage can hamper future investments, turn away valuable employees, and for some businesses, eliminate any chance of returning to the market. This is among the chief reasons why businesses often fail to rise after being hit by a disaster. 

The Definitive Guide to Data Protection and Disaster Recovery

Examine enterprise challenges and trends around availability and data protection—an area that has lagged in the modernization of infrastructure and applications. See how the simpler, more cost-effective approach taken by the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud can close the gap between where your data protection is today and where it needs to be.

Benefits of Implementing Disaster Recovery 

On top of eliminating the risks associated with poor disaster recovery, there are several major benefits of ensuring your business has a well-established, easy-to-execute DR strategy in place. 

RTO and RPO

Establishing a disaster recovery solution allots you the warranty to restore systems, services, and applications quickly, lowering your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO).

Limit losses

Since a disaster recovery solution will help your business get back on its feet quicker, you can limit your revenue losses, and costs associated with damage caused by lengthy downtime. 

Protect operations

While disasters may cause certain processes to go out, each company has some that must always be active to maintain business continuity. A disaster recovery plan ensures these processes are protected, minimizes interruptions, and brings other functions back up quickly. 

Protect reputation

If your business remains fully operational and seemingly unaffected by a disaster, customers are more likely to stick with you, and you’re likely to garner overflow customers from businesses whose operations are down from the same disaster.

High performance

If you’re utilizing a third party site to replicate your business infrastructure, your business can run as usual, maintaining high performance standards even during a disaster.

How Can Businesses Establish Disaster Recovery?

There is no universal disaster recovery plan that can fit the unique needs of all businesses. And while the following criteria are meant to be guidelines for establishing a disaster recovery strategy, keep in mind that customization to your business needs is crucial.
 
First, it’s important to take inventory of your hardware and software. Businesses operating on mostly software will find this task easier, as they won’t need to account for physical components in their datacenter. During this process, ensure you have each of your vendor’s technical support contact information for all of your hardware and applications.
 
Second, determine how much downtime and data loss your business can handle. While 0 downtime and 0 data loss is the ideal, not all businesses have a disaster recovery system that can support that goal. Businesses of all sizes rely on some kind of IT system, but ones that are highly reliant on IT, such as e-commerce sites, simply cannot handle much, if any, downtime. This exercise is also an important opportunity to determine an acceptable RPO and RTO for all of your applications. 
How Can Businesses Establish Disaster Recovery?
Third, establish an effective communication plan to inform your employees. Ensure they know how to access the systems they need to continue working as usual doing a DR event. In the case of a physical or natural disaster, ensure your employees know where to go and what to do if their normal on-site office is inaccessible. Be sure you establish an operational location elsewhere and everyone knows where it is. 
 
Fourth, double check to make sure your service-level agreements (SLAs) include disasters. Many businesses nowadays outsource technologies to another IT firm or store their systems in a separate datacenter or facility. If this is the case, make sure your agreement defines the level of service that can be delivered during a disaster.
 
Finally, be sure to test your plan on a regular cadence. Even the most robust disaster recovery plans should be tested to deliver peace of mind, at the very least. Several individual components can go wrong, such as failed hardware, a bad internet connection, a changed phone number, etc. Testing your plan frequently ensures you’re up-to-date on what needs to be fixed, if anything, before a disaster strikes.

Disaster Recovery Case Studies

Total Gas & Power turns to Nutanix for IT consolidation

Empire Life Moves from Mainframe to Web-Scale

Regina Catholic School Division Chooses Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Avon Grove School District

Great Expressions Brings Smiles to Patients with Faster, Better Care

Related Resources

Best Practices Guide: Data Protection and Disaster Recovery

The Definitive Guide To Data Protection and Disaster Recovery

Of Mice and Men and Mother Nature: Preparing for Disaster

Nutanix Xi Leap: No-Install Disaster Recovery

Get Started with Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)

Let’s Get Started!

Schedule a personalized demo with a solution consultant and see how Nutanix Enterprise Cloud can transform your business.