How Confident Are You?

Research conducted by the ESG Group on IT professionals stated that, on average, 86% of all backup jobs are successfully completed. This is good news, right? Well, not quite. The same research found that:

  • Only 59% of companies were confident that they were protected against downtime
  • 66% were confident they were protected against data loss
  • 26% were using a near-continuous data protection mechanism

At first you might think there is a disconnect in these results. How can organizations that claim more than 80% of their backup jobs are completed successfully still have doubts about whether they are protected against downtime or data loss? The answer: Backup is not enough to protect your company’s data, let alone your IT infrastructure.

In fact, more than 60% of companies have two or more solutions for protecting their data, which is typically a combination of software and hardware from multiple vendors. These solutions, although interesting for fixing specific problems, can be a nightmare to manage when used in combination with other products.

But let’s get back to the issue at hand. IT used to be called  “data processing” and its main function was to generate reports for the different departments within an organization. If something happened to the servers, or if files were lost or corrupted, you could go back to your tape, find it, restore it, and go back to business. The whole process might have taken maybe a day or so, but back then it wasn’t a big deal. Having backed-up files made perfect sense and thus was a good investment for protecting your files.

The Critical Role of IT

Today’s IT environment, however, is not secluded as it once was; it is in fact the very lifeblood of the organization. Employees rely and depend on the various systems and applications to get their work done. And if you have any doubt about the importance of having systems running all the time, think back at that fatidic day when your Exchange server went down for an hour. Those who have been through that experience know that almost your entire office stops as soon as a simple application like email goes down. If getting email back online isn’t critical enough, imagine what happens when billing, sales, customer service, or any other mission-critical application at your company goes down.

In these situations, backup is the least of your worries. What good is having your files restored if the application required to run them is not available?

How to Eliminate Downtime

Most companies begin looking for alternatives when they come to the realization that backup as a form of business protection is obsolete. But be careful not to jump into a solution too quickly without first understanding the following key factors:

  • Heterogeneous IT environments: Even if you are mostly a Windows shop, odds are that other operating systems and virtual machines will be implemented as you grow. Look for vendors that support Windows, Mac, Linux, and the top VM’s out there (VMware, Xen Server, Hyper-V).
  • Protection for local data: Users are likely to have important information stored on their local drives, so it’s critical to use a solution that can protect servers, workstations and laptops (Windows and Macs).
  • Local Failover: When a server crashes, can you failover to a local appliance in a matter of minutes? The speed of your failover process will impact how much downtime you actually have.
  • Cloud Failover: Virtualizing a server in a local appliance is great, but what if the entire office is unavailable due to a disaster event? Can you get your servers, your data, and your applications running on the cloud? Some vendors tout a ‘cloud-based’ solution when in fact they are only using the cloud to store files. True cloud continuity requires the ability to keep working on the same critical applications you had in the office while connected to the cloud, from anywhere.

Protecting your company from downtime requires more than backups, it requires a better understanding of the risks and vulnerabilities your business faces and looking for a business continuity solution that can keep your business up and earning – no matter what.

Want to know how much downtime can cost your company? Try out our new online downtime calculator and compare your results with industry averages.