Monday December 11, 2017

Is your critical data safe?

If something were to happen to your business – be it a natural disaster, like a hurricane, or something unnatural, like a server failure – would your data survive? Would your employees be able to access their programs, applications, and files? Would your business be able to continue without critical data and information, such as financials or patient information?

With data growing at an exponential rate, businesses are being bombarded with volumes of information. However, with so much data, the potential to lose it all is a risk many businesses can’t afford to take. In this blog, we’ll look at the true cost of a business disruption and downtime and why having DR/HA capabilities can help prevent these major losses.

The true cost of disruptions and downtime

The average cost of downtime for businesses in the US is $138,000 dollars per hour, with nearly nine hours being devoted to restoring systems. In the event of a data breach, US businesses lose nearly $7.3 million dollars.

Institutions such as healthcare and financial suffer between $11 and $12 million dollars during a breach, not to mention the loss of valuable consumer and patient information; they are the biggest targets for data breaches. But even with the rise of ransomware and other malicious attacks, these are just one cause for downtime.

During the later part of the summer and fall, both coasts of the US and other countries were hit with major hurricanes – Harvey in Texas, Irma in the areas of the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Florida, Jose near the eastern US coast, and Mari, which hit Puerto Rico. All of these storms did significant damage to their areas, causing power outages, flooding, and deaths.

Even if your business isn’t in direct line of a hurricane or other disaster area, it doesn’t mean your office or offices won’t be impacted by natural occurring weather, such as rain or an electrical storm. In a survey from Zetta, respondents reported that the most common cause of IT downtime was power outages, with 75% reporting that challenge. Next were hardware errors/failures (52%), human error (35%), and virus/malware attacks (34%).

With so much money on the table for any amount of downtime, businesses can’t afford to just let things happen and hope for the best.

What is DR and why is it important?

Knowing the true cost of disruptions and downtime due to malicious attacks, hardware failures, and natural disasters, makes you realize that ensuring that your business is protected is paramount. But how do you go about doing this?

Disaster recovery, or DR, is the ability to protect an organization from the effects of, well, a disaster. This allows for businesses to continue maintaining their mission critical functions following disaster. In 2014, FEMA discovered that more than 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster and some estimate that 70% of businesses go out of business after a major data loss.

Needless to say, those businesses did not have a DR plan in place in the event they faced a disaster.

If that isn’t enough to make you think about what your organization would do during a disaster, consider the recent ransomware attacks that happened during the summer of 2017. Within a month of each other, WannaCry and Petya managed to hit a total of about 215 countries and affected more than 500,000 computers. And that was in a two-month period, with two separate attacks.

With DR, businesses can either have a solution on-premise or within the cloud, that can be used to restore any data that has been lost or compromised. This means not only are you able to recover data after a disaster, but you can shorten the recovery time from hours or days down to just minutes.

What is HA and why is it useful?

Using DR, you can recover data after a disaster and reduce your downtime. And that’s great if a disaster happens to occur on a weekend or a holiday. What happens when a disaster occurs fifteen minutes before your employees come into work?

As with most business disasters, they happen during important daily activities, when employees – both in-house and remote – need to access critical applications and files. While you might be able to recover files and be back up and running within two hours or less, for your employees, even those 2 hours means a great loss in productivity.

This is where High Availability, or HA, comes into play. HA is the ability to keep applications and programs running even during a disaster. This means, while you’re handling a disaster, your employees can continue working as though nothing is happening.

The combination of DR/HA and why you need both

You might think your organization could get away with just having either DR or HA and to be fair, you could, however having both will provide your business with better productivity for employees and a better competitive edge against competitors.

DR/HA work together to ensure that your system stays up, allowing for IT admins to handle a disaster issue, while employees can still access and work on their files and documents.

Consider this – you enter work one day and discover that one of the application servers has failed or maybe, there was a huge storm the night before and many of the servers are offline. You restart the system, but find one of the servers isn’t coming back online. You have ten minutes before most of the in-house employees start walking in, and you’ve already received two calls from a few of your remote employees.

Without DR/HA, you’ll spend time trying to get the server back online or trying to recall if you have any backups of the applications on the server; this of course is at the same time employees are reporting that they can’t get access to their programs and files.

With DR/HA, you can still recover data from the failed server, while trying to see if you’re able to bring it back online. Meanwhile, your employees are none the wiser, as they begin their work day without interruption.

Our team of professionals are experts on the technology we use, ensuring that we understand how your business works and what your business goals are. In an ever evolving technology landscape, Ciber works to make sure that your data is there when you need it.



Inside Big – The exponential growth of data

IBM – Disaster Recovery Options: Overview – 2016 State of Disaster Recovery

Forbes – Will Your Business Recover from Disaster?

ZDNet – Ransomware Attacks Reported Internationally – The Worst Reported Hacks of 2017 So Far