According to “The Avoidable Cost of Downtime”, a study of over 1,800 European organisations by CA Technologies, the UK experiences the largest amount of downtime each year, with an average of 27.3 hours. 60% of businesses said their operations department was the worst affected. So it’s probably not surprising to learn that their ability to generate revenue during a blackout is reduced by a third.
Even after the blackout, when IT systems are back up and running, there’s still an average delay of nine hours per company, per year, when data is being recovered. During this period, a company’s revenue generation is reduced by a quarter.
And this is just the tip of the ice berg. The real cost of downtime spans far beyond revenue generation. What about all the staff you have to pay, even though they can’t work? Or the fact your customers’ can’t contact you when the communication lines are down? Or the sensitive equipment that can be severely damaged, even if the power is lost for just a split second?
Blackouts will happen. But how they affect your business is up to you.
The first and most important step to ensuring your IT infrastructure is protected is to create a detailed plan. It should:
- Identify the potential risks to your business.
- Consider which systems are vital to your continuing operations.
- Decide the hardware and software infrastructure that needs to be implemented to protect your IT systems.
Backup isn’t just about protecting your physical machines. You should also consider your virtual environment and the mix that may be in place. In particular:
- Data protection: without valid and usable backup data, there is not much to recover. Ensure you have some form of backup on each virtual server, as well as your physical ones.
- Recovery granularity: your backup strategy should be designed to cause as little disruption as possible, and provide granular, file-level, restore capabilities.
- Restore performance: when backing up and restoring virtual servers the I/O performance is key, as restoring several virtual servers on one physical server can cause bottlenecks.
Once you’ve worked out your plan, you have to test it to ensure you can restore business critical applications and continue operating following an incident. Testing should be conducted on at least an annual basis, and should primarily focus on:
- Application recovery
- Data recovery
During this process it’s important to consider your company’s recovery point, and your recovery time objectives.
Need some help?
An effective backup and DR plan is crucial to protect your IT infrastructure against blackouts and keep your business operating. If you need some help with your DR plan, why not contact us? We’d love to hear from you.