While many companies know that it is important to back up their data, many fail to realize that backing up is just half of the equation, especially where catastrophic events are involved.
Take Microsoft for example. One of the largest tech giants got caught with its pants down late last week (Thursday 3/14), rendering some of its services unusable for over 16-hours.
When a routine update failed, it caused an unexpected temperature spike, overheating the data center. Ultimately, it was the overheating which caused extended downtime for many of Microsoft’s online services, including Outlook.com,
Hotmail, Calendar, and SkyDrive. Eventually, human intervention was
required to help rectify the situation.
If you noticed some downtime late last week, that was why. Do you want to read the whole story? Click here.
While data wasn’t lost, time and access to services were. So what could Microsoft have done differently?
If they were a techQuility client, we would have advised that their systems be setup on a Backup Recovery Device, or BDR. While the BDR’s main function is to backup data at regular, scheduled intervals, it also offers some unique protection against catastrophe and downtime.
With a BDR in place, once we are aware of a catastrophic situation such as overheating servers, we are able to “flip the switch”, moving your data from your servers to the Cloud. This allows your data and servers to be accessed, even remotely, just as you would access them in the office.
When the switchover happens, any changes to your data continues to be backed up, so that you don’t have to worry about continuity. Then, once any issues are resolved, we can migrate your data back to your own network, so you can resume normal operations.
It is really that easy. So don’t let your company get caught pants-down like Microsoft did recently. Instead, take the time to put solutions in place now that will allow you more effectively manage your data and your office, even despite unforeseen events.
When there’s an unforeseen disaster at the office, whether it’s a simple power outage or a larger catastrophe like flood damage, how do you know when to sit back and wait and when to take more proactive measures to keep the office up and running?
Depending on their plan, many of our clients utilize our Backup Disaster Recovery Device (BRD) to help them avoid catastrophes and downtime caused by unforeseen problems such as the ones listed above. In times like these, the BRD allows their office to be loaded into the Cloud, so that the office can be accessed remotely, allowing work to continue.
However, when something unexpected happens, how do you know when it’s appropriate to request the office be loaded into the Cloud?
Is there damage?
When assessing an emergency situation, the first thing to determine is if there is any damage to either the building or equipment that would prevent the office from being inhabited. Damage from flood, fire, or storms, or even a simple power outage, can all render the office unusable. Other outages, such as an internet outage, may not cause a problem.
Whether or not the office needs to be booted into the Cloud so that employees can still work largely depends on the habitability of the office. If the office is in good shape, there is probably no need to switch over. However, if there is damage, or if employees cannot work on site for any reason, it may be a good time to consider switching over to the Cloud.
What’s the ETA?
Once you are switched over to the Cloud, your current data lives off-site. When you are ready to migrate the office back, the most current data must also be moved back. While none of this is a big deal, particularly if you are dealing with a much larger emergency, it’s something important to keep in mind for minor emergencies.
When dealing with something small, such as a utility outage, it’s important to contact the vendor involved and determine the size of the outage as well as the ETA for repair. If the issue is going to be fixed in less than a day, there is probably no need to load the office into the Cloud. However, for larger outages and longer time frames, booting into the Cloud is a perfect use of the BDR, as long as employees won’t be impacted by the outage at home so that they can work remotely.
Is there a sense of urgency?
While knowing the ETA of an outage is helpful, one of the most important factors in determining whether to boot into the Cloud, aside from the extent of the damage, is the urgency at which you need to access your data and information.
Sometimes when outages happen, especially minor ones, employees can find other things to do in the office until the item is restored. However, if there is an important deadline or timeline you are working against, or something else more urgent that requires use of your data during the outage, it might be in your best interest to request being loaded into the cloud. Please note this option should be exercised with caution, particularly for shorter outages, because of the process required to migrate back.
Regardless of why the office is down, outages, both minor and major, do happen from time to time. By implementing a BDR at your office, you can help mitigate the cost of these emergencies, and maintain office flexibility to keep working, despite the challenges that an emergency brings.