Riders of the Storm – 5 Tips for Managing Your Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan

By: In: Data Centers On: Sep 16, 2015
Riders of the Storm – 5 Tips for Managing Your Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan

Late August marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 storm that ravaged the United States Gulf Coast.  Businesses in the area are still recovering and many never re-opened.  Recently, there was an explosion in downtown Los Angeles, resulting in significant downtime to data center operations.  And for those of us in New England, last winter brought recording breaking storms and snowfall, causing large power outages, closed roads, and cancelled flights.  In the state of Massachusetts alone, businesses saw sales fall 24%.

I could go on but you get the picture.  Now more than ever, organizations are dealing with the threat of both extreme weather and man-made disasters.  As a result, they’re feeling the pressure to re-evaluate and augment their approach to disaster recovery and business continuity.  With September being FEMA’s National Preparedness Month, it’s a good time to evaluate your own plans and ensure your company is prepared.   Here are a few things to keep in mind.

More than Just the Basics

Emergency and disaster recovery planning isn’t just clearly marking exit points, practicing fire/safety drills, or making sure you have a data backup ready to go in case something happens.  It’s about having a clear plan in place to assist your employees and sustain your business.  It’s also includes utilizing a secure, secondary infrastructure that hosts all the critical data and systems that run your business and can be accessed when disaster strikes.

Technology Continues to Evolve

With technology advancements such as virtualization, many organizations are leaving the legacy shared infrastructure model, where hundreds of companies pay a monthly fee for the ability to use computer resources.  Anyone who experienced Sept 11th or Hurricane Sandy can relate the limitations of this “shared” approach.

Greater value and flexibility can be gained from dedicated systems hosted in a secondary data center.   However, to take full advantage, organizations need to take a long look at their data centers and evaluate their resiliency and location. Older facilities will struggle to match the capabilities of today’s purpose built, Tier III data centers.  To boot, the economics heavily favor third party colocation when compared to cost to maintain and operate an internal data center. This is not just a data center sales guy speaking, just ask Google and Amazon how they feel about the topic.

Data will Continue to Grow 

As data grows exponentially and you continually add systems to your infrastructure to manage your business, being smart about how you set up and manage your BC/DR plan is critical.  Both primary and secondary sites, as well as any data center options, needs to be evaluated on a regular basis.

Physical Security Matters  

Infrastructure is important but when it comes to your BC/DR plan, you can’t forget about physical security.  Today’s privacy laws and compliance regulations require various levels of security be employed to safe guard data and systems.  Your secondary infrastructure needs to be secure from natural disasters and accidental or intentional human-related disasters.

Know Your Vendors

Organizations frequently use 3rd party vendors to help run and support their infrastructure.  If your organization is one of them, you need to consider their role in your BC/DR plan and ensure their security and contracted response is well within your expectations.

Hurricanes, natural and man-made disasters don’t happen every day, but it’s too late to plan when an emergency or disaster is upon you.

With more than 60 years of experience securely managing our customers’ data, Iron Mountain acts as a trusted data custodian and partner in disaster recovery and business continuity solutions.  We can offer several data center or cloud-based options to help you best to protect your data and the infrastructure it lives on.

I would love to hear your thoughts on business continuity and disaster recovery and how you’ve uniquely addressed your organization’s needs.  Please share your comments or reach out to me individually @JoeSchloesser or joseph.schloesser@ironmoountain.com.

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About the author

Joe Schloesser

Joe Schloesser is a Director for Iron Mountain’s Data Management business, leading sales and account management efforts in the Enterprise and mid-market segments. Joe spends a considerable portion of his time interacting with customers as well as supporting Iron Mountain’s emerging solutions. Previous to Iron Mountain, Joe was a Regional Vice President at Countrywide Financial. Joe has a BS from Boston University and is currently completing his MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).