The unexpected will happen. It is inevitable. Sometimes the unexpected is a good thing. In technology, the unexpected is usually bad. It may be small … or big … or catastrophic.
Part of our role as IT professionals is to expect and prepare for the unexpected. We backup data so that we can restore files that are accidentally deleted, overwritten, or damaged. We backup systems so that we can recover them in case of hardware or software failures. Many business design and implement disaster recovery plans. These plans provide the means for companies to recovery from larger incidents, ranging from burst pipes and building fires to blizzards and hurricanes.
In recent years, the focus has been on “Business Continuity” planning. Business continuity intends to prevent disruption to operations, even in the face of larger incidents or disasters. While great in concept, most small and mid-size enterprises cannot afford to fully duplicate systems in redundant data centers and provide alternate work sites for employees.
Enter Business Resiliency!
Business Resiliency is based on the objective of enabling a business to continue (or rapidly resume) operations with some accommodations. In other words, you may not be running 100%, but you will be running soon enough and well enough given the situation. Resiliency is about bending without breaking.
Consider Hurricane Sandy that devastated parts of the US Eastern Seaboard. Many businesses were physically destroyed by the flooding. Many others were shut down by the indirect effects of the flooding as some areas along the coast lost critical infrastructure — including water and sewer. Businesses left physically intact but without power for days considered themselves lucky as some areas waited months for reconstruction.
Consider the ice storms and blizzards throughout the Northeast US in recent years. For many businesses, the only disruption was loss of power. And while in many of the storms outages where generally localized, some businesses went without power for as long as three weeks.
The same holds true for businesses in “tornado alley” in the midwest. A tornado may leave your business unscathed, but it may take days or weeks for power and water to be restored.
In each of these scenarios, backup/restore/recovery is not enough to get the business back up and running. And, again, most small and mid-size businesses cannot afford to maintain disaster recovery systems and sites.
Cloud Fosters Resiliency!
Most businesses can afford to move IT systems into cloud computing and hosted solutions. And in doing so, businesses can affordably build resiliency.
With all of these disasters, you did not have to travel too far inland to be out of the damage zone. Businesses with on-premise equipment had to purchase and wait for delivery of replacements, rebuild their systems, and (hopefully) recover their data from their off-site backups. Certainly doable, but costly and time consuming. It can take 2 to 4 days just to get the equipment in place and ready to restore.
Businesses in the cloud faced a different scenario and outcome. Moving to an area with power and Internet, businesses running in the cloud were up and running in hours (some in minutes) and some were never “down” at all.