The Telecity data centre “outage” that knocked 10 per cent of BT internet subscribers offline in the UK this week is a stark reminder of how vulnerable our systems are as well as how important it is to have a solid Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution in place.
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As data continues to grow in volume and value, businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud to meet their data storage and management needs. But backing up and storing data in the cloud presents its own challenges – data is typically a company’s greatest asset, and requires protection from disasters, loss or theft. It must also be easily accessible – to approved personnel – for employees to be productive and better serve customers as part of today’s highly digital global business landscape.
The danger here is that downtime can be disastrous. And as the Telecity outage shows, this downtime can come from anywhere, from someone spilling a cup of coffee over a server, a hacker attacking a company’s website or a data centre suffering a power failure all the way up to earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.
And businesses can’t dismiss these outages as minor inconveniences. The average cost of an infrastructure failure is $100,000 (£68,000) per hour, with critical application failures coming in at between $500,000 (£340,000) and $1 million (£680,000) hourly, according to a report from market research company IDC.
IDC also highlighted that the average total cost of unplanned application downtime per year for the Fortune 1000 companies is $1.25 billion (£850 million) to $2.5 billion (£1.7 billion).
At the same time, companies are expected to be able to process data and protect data all the time. Customers (whether consumers or business users) are quick to vent their anger on social media when websites are offline or e-tailers suffer data breaches. It’s not just a matter of a company losing money during any unplanned downtime; there is also the fact that you may be sued by customers for any losses your failure may have caused, plus the potential reputational damage amongst end users of your products.
This means BDR planning is not a ‘nice-to-have’ – it is a business imperative.
Despite this, it’s remarkable how difficult it can be to convince executives that investing in BDR services for your systems and data makes absolute financial sense.
The problem is, they look at it as a cost, not an investment. It’s very difficult for them to see the value of something not happening.
It works better if you present it as an insurance policy, which is, to be honest, what it is. After all, like insurance, it’s there to protect your business – you hope you’ll never have to use it, but you have to be protected against disasters that can happen at any moment.
As with any insurance policy, there are costs involved, like premiums, and it is important to make a strong business case for an investment. Does it make sense for you to get a disaster recovery solution? What is the best deployment option? How does the cloud impact today’s BDR solutions? How do you get your executive team to accept that insuring corporate data with a BDR solution is necessary?
The best way is to demonstrate that disaster recovery is not a cost, but an investment with a positive ROI.
IT departments seldom justify their purchases using ROI – often using operational needs, costs savings or productivity enhancements as the key arguments. However, for a BDR solution, an ROI analysis provides the most effective and objective argument for investment.
Remind your executive team of the worst-case scenario – without a BDR solution in place, the company is at risk.
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And remind them that the downside is not just the purely financial impact, but also the potential damage to customer happiness and brand image, not to mention the possibility of law suits and financial sanctions imposed by regulators for breaching compliance rules.