Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) plans used to be reserved for large enterprise level companies. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity provision required a very large budget and often included cold or hot sites, expensive replication software and duplicate equipment ready to go in case the worst were to happen. Not only is this equipment expensive to purchase and house, it also needed staff with the knowledge and time to both manage IT and regularly test it. Face it a disaster recovery or business continuity plan that isn’t tested, is unlikely to perform well when a real disaster strikes.

Disaster recovery as a Service (DRaaS) advances has brought the cost of developing and implementing a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity solution down to the point where it can fit into nearly any size budget. Even so, planning for both Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity is still best done by partnering with experts in the field.

A proper Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity plan needs to meets some key criteria for each organization.  The criteria will depend on their individuals need sand their business model. The easiest starting point when creating a plan is to consider the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) requirements for your critical IT systems.

RTO:  How long your critical IT systems can be down before your company starts to incur unacceptable consequences.

For most companies this time frame will range anywhere from 8-24 hours, allowing for one business day of downtime. RTO can also be broken up into different categories for your resources. Mission Critical services (like email, human resource applications, customer facing applications and phones) may have a shorter time period, needing to be brought back up within just a couple of hours, while other resources it may be acceptable to be down for a day or more.

RPO: How long you can afford to roll back to and lose any data added or changed during that time.

RPO is how much data loss a company can handle at any point in time. For example, if your main file server goes down how much data would be lost since the previous backup? Services that have a high rate of change for their data, like database or email servers, will need a shorter RPO. Services that have little data change, like web servers, can be fine with a longer RPO. With these two objectives in mind, you can begin to create a disaster recovery plan that will keep your company operational.

Once the RTO and RPO have been decided upon the next step is to decide where and how you will bring your services back up. It is also worth pointing out that achieving a shorter RTO and RPO often means a higher cost for the service.  So available budget needs to be considered. For companies that do not have an enterprise budget having a cold or hot site may stretch the budget too thin and lead to a site that does not meet the full requirements of the plan.

DRaaS and cloud based disaster recovery and business continuity solutions are available as a monthly service, which allows organizations to move the cost from a capital to and operational cost.  They are hosted and often fully managed solutions, providing the capabilities of a cold site without having to spend the capital to build one.

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Even with a cloud disaster recovery or business continuity service, you cannot just set it up and forget it, then hope that it will work when a disaster strikes.  Just like a fire drill, it is important to regularly test the solution and also test your procedures for getting staff connected to the cloud service.  You also have to have a process in place for declaring a disaster and knowing who has the authority to do this. Returning your business back to normal, even if its a false alarm, can take time and effort.  it is important to work with a DRaaS partner who can help with the planning and design of the solution.  It is also important to work with a partner who includes a regular test of the solution and can help you plan for the test and also a disaster itself.

Abtech Technologies offers disaster recovery and business continuity services through their StorTrust brand, where we strive to provide a complete "white glove" service for every client. We partner with them through every step of their disaster recovery and business continuity process and make sure everything is thoroughly tested.  We want our customers to be able to sleep at night!

Utilizing industry-leading DR tools and software, StorTrust offers total disaster recovery service for your data and your critical computer systems in a single package. Built upon a Tier 3+, SSAE16 compliant data center utilizing the latest in security, StorTrust is a safe and secure location to store your data offsite for when you need it.  We can work with you to develop a DR plan that will meet your organization's requirements. We also include a yearly test with the service, so you don’t have to worry how you will handle a disaster, you will already know. Abtech has a team of engineers with years of first-hand knowledge of disaster recovery and business continuity planning. Our engineers will be with you every step of the way to make sure that your critical IT systems are up and running when you need them most.