While technology has allowed businesses to reduce costs in many areas, proper storage of digital information comes at a price. However, most companies are paying more than they need to for data solutions while getting less protection than they need to keep their data — and their businesses — protected against disaster.
How Lack of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning Can Lead to Financial Disaster
Business continuity and disaster planning is an absolutely essential part of any business operation, yet many place a low priority on implementation. In the digital age, information technology is a critical function of every competitive business. From technology driven businesses to service companies to ecommerce businesses, information is the linchpin that keeps today’s businesses operating competitively and efficiently.
The terms “business continuity and disaster recovery planning” imply the necessity of these critical business functions. Business owners realize the importance of these terms, but it is when they understand what lies within these processes that they realize business continuity and disaster recovery planning aren’t just “important,” they are essential.
Financial Impact of Business Continuity Planning
As a result of government regulations, businesses are required to maintain a continuity posture — whether they realize it or not. Critical applications must be made continuously available or able to be recovered rapidly upon demand. Lack of knowledge or understanding of the laws isn’t a defense. Non-compliance can lead to lawsuits, infractions, and fines that can debilitate a business.
Achieving business continuity isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ task. The process typically starts with a BIA (business impact analysis), which among other things assigns priority to different types of data. The BIA dictates which information will be stored where and how often it is backed up.
If a company is to design business continuity structures itself, it will require significant knowledge and resources to maintain. However, for businesses that aren’t technology focused or who choose not to add the expense of an in-house IT staff, there are practical and affordable outsource solutions, which we’ll cover later.
Financial Impact of Disaster Recovery Planning
According to a study by the Garner Group, forty percent of businesses that suffer a catastrophic data event or significant downtime will never recover. Two out of five businesses that face these situations close their doors for good. This shocking statistic sheds light on just how essential data management is to a business.
What is even more surprising is that a relatively small amount of effort invested in a BIA in conjunction with business continuity and disaster recovery planning, could have prevented the problem in the first place. The BIA would have uncovered the impact of process failure on the business and served as a discovery process for implementing a plan designed to avoid risk.
Reducing Costs through More Efficient Energy Usage
Once a business has addressed business continuity and disaster recovery planning by following recommendations outlined in a BIA, they have taken the critical step to avoid potential financial devastation. The next step is to reduce the very real ongoing costs associated with maintaining data.
The cost of energy used to maintain data storage systems is quite significant. Not only does the IT infrastructure consume energy, a significant amount of energy is utilized to maintain a safe climate for the systems.
The best way to reduce the cost of maintaining data systems is to share the costs with others. By storing systems in a data center colocation, you offset the cost of climate control by splitting that cost with others. Because the data center colocation is managing climate control to protect your machines as well as the machines of others, many costs are shared that would otherwise be your entire responsibility if machines were stored in house. Not only are energy costs shared, but also are the costs associated with the human capital — the experts that maintain the data center colocation day-in and day-out.
Reducing Personnel Costs While Raising the Bar on Expertise
Staffing an IT department is expensive. Not only must employers staff a variety of people each with various skill sets, they’ll also need someone to manage the team. To stay competitive, employers are expected to foot the bill for ongoing training and education. And let’s not forget system upgrades. However, by utilizing managed IT services, companies reduce these capital expenditures, paying on a subscription basis for only the percentage they use.
Managed service providers handle a variety of tasks including virtual server hosting, backups, IT infrastructure management, and more. Some providers will also offer BIA services and the critical business continuity and disaster planning needed to keep data safe and in compliance.
The data management landscape has changed dramatically in recent years — not only in how data is stored, but in the importance of proper security. Data storage itself has become more critical than the days of old when a simple tape drive was all a business needed. However, the options for sharing costs by leveraging outsourced providers has made obtaining high end data management solutions easier than every before. Today’s businesses don’t have to be experts on BIA or business continuity and disaster recovery planning, they just need partner with a provider that is.