Disasters, in the organizational context, that may not always seem as huge as earthquakes or tsunamis, but shake up a company’s revenue, reputation, and productivity in an undesirable way, could include seemingly inconsequential issues like a network failure, a common software failure, or a  fire.

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A simple network failure that causes a service outage restricting your employees’ or clients’ access to your system for some time, could translate into a heavy cost for your organization. Reports of the service outage could also cause more damage to your reputation. According to Evolvit, UK businesses are losing £12.3 billion per year through downtime incidents, based on research by Imperial College mathematicians.

Disasters in the past

One infamous outage that affected several users worldwide was of Whatsapp in 2014, which went down for almost 4 hours (and more recently, earlier this week, for around two hours). It made millions of users frown and experts to question Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of Whatsapp. Apart from aforementioned companies, giants like Microsoft, AWS, Gmail, RBS, Bank of America, The UK’s National Air Traffic Services have experienced similar issues, claims Evolven. According to Huffington Post, several Starbucks stores in the US and Canada were forced to shut shop abruptly, and some even had  to give away coffee for free, as their payment systems went down and they were not able to process bills and payments.

Telstra, an Australian telecom company, suffered an outage due to a fire at the Chatswood Exchange in Sydney earlier this year, leaving several mobile and landline customers across Australia affected. The outage had widespread consequences, with nine Jetstar flights delayed due to disruptions to check-in ports, and the National Australia Bank warned its online customers of delays to SMS alerts. Zdnet reported that Andrew Penn, the CEO of Telstra committed to invest AU$50 million towards improving mobile network resiliency by creating better real-time monitoring and speeding up recovery time..

“It’s not about what they should do at the time of an attack, but rather how they implement a response and recovery plan.  The biggest risk a company faces in today’s uncertainty of cyber-attacks is not being prepared.” says Brian White, a Principal at The Chertoff Group, in an interview to Forbes.

It is crucial to anticipate such incidents and plan accordingly to ensure business continuity. Today, business continuity has a prioritized position in every IT organization’s list of strategic initiatives.

Cloud it- to stay insured

A secondary data center means spending more on the infrastructure setup, maintenance and annual fail-over test.

An automated business continuity plan with prioritized business continuity functions as a managed service would be as perfect an insurance against outages and downtime. A cloud based DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) is something that fits to a T in this context.

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DRaaS doesn’t require any capital, and the annual fail-over testing is done by the provider.

The enterprise server is replicated on the cloud, whose data resides in a distant data center, far enough from those things that could harm the primary server. Scheduled data transfers are performed to keep the DR system in sync with the primary server. In the face of a disaster, the DR system can be brought online in a short amount of time.

Points to remember while opting for DRaaS

  • Identify a provider that caters to your DR needs.
  • Choose a storage only plan, if you just want to replicate your server data to the cloud. Hosting cost can be paid during the time of need. These are the perks of being on the cloud.
  • Specify what to backup, should a disaster strike.
  • Also take control over the frequency of the Server- Cloud Sync. An hourly sync would keep the cloud up to date. This helps you reboot quickly and meet your recovery point in minutes rather than hours.

What do you get in return?

ROI in a cloud based DRaaS becomes quantifiable only when a disaster strikes. It saves the money you would have to invest on a duplicate infrastructure. Gartner estimates the financial impact of downtime at $336,000 per hour. DRaas sure saves that cost as well. So DRaaS saves you time, capital and resources.

An  IT downtime is something every company must have experienced at some point of time. Most of the companies have reported at least one incident of a server failure or a cyber-attack. And if your company hasn’t yet experienced this, it is most likely that it may come across such a situation in the near future. Get a cloud DR and stay immune from the effects of downtime and outages.