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Stay Up & Running: Minimizing Downtime with BDR

Nathan Distel
01/13/2021
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It’s one of the most dreaded words in IT: downtime. When your systems aren’t responding, everything stops – production, customer service, sales and more. Unfortunately, there are plenty of situations that can result in downtime.

Technical issues:

  • Deleted or lost files
  • Hardware failure
  • Virus or ransomware

Environmental issues:

  • Power outage
  • Natural disaster
  • User error

That’s why an effective backup & disaster recovery (BDR) strategy is so essential. When downtime happens – and it WILL happen to you at some point – BDR can quickly recover and restore the files and systems you need to keep everything working.

The Devastating Costs of Downtime

While every organization is different, on average it costs a business $10,000 for every hour they are down. At enterprise-level organizations, the costs are even greater. A single hour of downtime can cost them anywhere from $1 million to more than $5 million.

Besides decreased employee productivity, business disruption, and lost revenue, perhaps the biggest downside to downtime is losing customers.

Thirty-seven percent of SMBs have lost customers due to downtime issues. It’s even worse if you’re a B2B company – nearly half (46%) have experienced customer loss. As for B2C businesses, 25% have lost customers due to downtime problems.

That’s Why You Need a BDR Solution

After an outage, cyberattack or other network failure, BDR can recover your data locally and quickly. It can bring up downed systems like servers in a virtual form and run them as if the main server was still there. BDR can also do the same from an offsite location in the event of a local disaster.

Don’t Just Set It and Forget It

Imagine your network goes down and you need to initiate your BDR plan – except that it’s not working. Talk about a nightmare scenario. There are a number of hiccups that could prevent your BDR system from functioning properly when you need it:

  • Improper configuration
  • Hardware or software compatibility issues
  • Inadequate testing
  • Data corruption

To avoid unpleasant surprises during a true emergency, review your BDR plan on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed.

Ensure all backups are completing within the necessary timeframes to meet your recovery and operational requirements.

Arrange to store backups of your critical data (or atleast a copy of your backups) at a separate location. That way they’re still safe even if your primary workplace is damaged.

Prioritize which applications are most essential for keeping the business going so you can focus on restoring those first.

Check that you have enough bandwidth and resources to restore the ever-expanding amount of data your business is producing.

Define and update RPOs and RTOs for each application. RPO (Recovery Point Objective) measures how much data your organization can afford to lose during an outage. This helps you determine how frequently to backup your application data. RTO (Recovery Time Objective) has to do with how long an application can be down before it causes damage to your business, which dictates how soon after a failure it needs to be restored.

Revise your business continuity plan as needed to keep it current – and make sure your key stakeholders know their roles.

Finally, regular testing of your BDR system can help ensure potential problems are identified and remediated before an actual downtime situation. Though some businesses require testing more often due to the nature of their data or regulation requirements, common practice is to test on an annual basis.

Additional Tips for Minimizing Downtime

Monitor your devices and network. Monitoring software or a remote monitoring and maintenance agent from your managed IT partner can help you spot problems before they get out of control. Address any issues as soon as possible. And don’t just monitor your servers – keep an eye on your firewall, switches, workstations and other devices.

Keep everything up to date. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – install updates and patches to your systems, applications, and hardware regularly. Not only do patches fix bugs and vulnerabilities that could allow a cyberattack, they can also contain performance improvements.

Train your employees. Your users are your largest and best defense against cyberattacks. So train them on how to spot phishing scams, malware and other threats. We realize that’s a large task, but a managed IT partner like Elevity can hook you up with top-notch employee awareness training programs that make it easy.

Don’t forget the physical side of things. Not everything in your infrastructure is virtual. Check your server room and your hardware periodically for water damage, poor temperature control, and other issues that could cause a failure.

Don't let downtime get in the way of your success. Contact the Elevity team today for all things business continuity, data backups and disaster recovery.

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