Global warming cannot be blamed for everything, but it certainly seems as though there are more natural disasters occurring every day: violent storms, heat waves, flooding, fires, the stuff of headlines. Other disasters which affect businesses don’t always make the news, but can be as devastating to an SME as a tsunami.
Storms and such like are way down the list when it comes to disasters that can befall a computer-dependent business (and aren’t they all?) Top of the list is viruses and other nastiness that can find its way on to your server and wreak havoc with your data. Software malfunction, hard drive crashes, “pilot” error: all can have devastating effects on business operations. Your business may never be hit by an earthquake, but it is foolhardy not to prepare for the almost inevitable day when the power goes off for an extended time, or your computers self-destruct.
A very important part of any business plan is preparing for such an event. As internet technology develops, so do disaster recovery solutions. These are still more expensive than that old stand-by, the backup tape, but as time goes by the price will come down as it always does as technology proliferates. In the meantime, the service offered by the cloud is far superior to any system of physical storage and recovery.
Of course, even the virtual world of the internet has a physical presence somewhere. The big advantage of cloud services is that they are far-removed from the physical location of the businesses they serve, and are unlikely to suffer the same natural conditions. Furthermore, the buildings housing the hardware which houses the cloud services are designed for maximum safety. No small or medium-sized business, and few large ones, can afford to build the sort of structures that will withstand natural disasters, power outages, and human error. It has been known for cloud cities to go down, but it is very rare and as technology improves, it is likely to become even rarer.
Having a disaster recovery system seems like a waste of money until disaster strikes. Then, the vast majority of businesses will wish that they had done more. How much money you put into a disaster recovery system depends entirely on how much you stand to lose. Your system can be multi-layered, with the greatest resources being expended for the absolutely essential services. Information for tax returns absolutely must be backed up, but you don’t need to access it until the next return is due.
Cloud-based DR systems can be tailored to the individual needs of any business. High priority data can be hosted on a dedicated server where it is instantly available, or at least as soon as key personnel are able to get to a computer unaffected by the disaster. Lower priority data can be backed up online and restored when the time is right. These systems are easy to set up, and require no maintenance. One always thinks that it cannot happen to me, but when disaster does strike, cloud services are there to make recovery as easy as humanly possible.