Essentials to business disaster preparedness — #4: Pinpoint the most cost-effective disruption recovery solutions Posted on August 23, 2012 by Tim Burke Okay, so your data is properly backed up, you’re monitoring its use, you’re developing a plan to protect your business and recover as quickly as possible from events beyond your control. Now, in conjunction with your planning efforts, you need to pinpoint and then implement the most cost-effective disruption recovery solutions necessary to sustain business-critical operations when your systems and networks are down and/or when your office is unusable. This entails a three-step process that requires business continuity/disaster recovery expertise: Figuring out the minimum applications and data necessary to sustain your business and the timeframe(s) within which your necessary apps and data must be restored. How long, for example, can you function without email? An hour, four hours, 48 hours? How long can you make it without voice communications? A day? Or is it less? Unless you have in-house expertise, get help from a trusted advisor to guide you through this often complex process. Look for a provider willing to work with you to determine what sorts of support levels you really need — and is able to customize its services to achieve them. Ensuring that business-critical data and apps are replicated and safely vaulted in a remote online environment that’s secure but accessible from anywhere 24/7. You’re at least halfway there if you’re using a cloud-based backup replication service — but, again, make sure you’re dealing with a provider with a secure, scalable, fail-safe environment and plenty of flexibility when it comes to service options. Combining virtualized data replication, secure data storage, and disaster recovery capabilities in a resilient cloud environment makes data recovery smoother and less costly, since data replicas and data backups can be managed with the same software. Your provider should be able to ensure the safety, security, and integrity of your data whether it’s replicated to a shared environment or a discrete, dedicated one. Considering whether your business requires a secondary/emergency worksite if you can’t use yours. If you do, seek a service/site provider with state-of-the-art business resumption facilities, the ability to customize that facility as you need it, and a willingness to help you find the right balance between what you need and what you can afford. Next time: The oft-neglected last essential in business disaster preparedness — plan testing and review.