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Pending Storm; Pending Doom

A quick scan of the weather headlines late on Thursday afternoon: a “Nor’easter” storm going through rapid escalation, know as “Bombogenisis”, looks ready to hit New England tomorrow with rain, snow and hurricane force wind gusts. Now it is Sunday, and many small and midsize businesses along the northeastern coast are wondering when, or if, they will be able to reopen. The impact of disasters is increasing. We can argue about climate change versus weather. We can discuss our aging infrastructure. We can debate whether to plan for disaster causes or effects. If we do not, however, make our businesses more resilient, the quantity and severity of disruptions will continue to grow.

The coming storm should not foretell coming doom.

By taking advantage of proven cloud services, most small and midsize businesses can protect themselves from disruption. Many businesses in coastal areas of New England may be without power and other utilities for 2 to 4 days. Businesses with no continuity plan are down and out. Given that about 50% of businesses shut down for a week will fail within six months, “down and out” can be fatal. If you rely on VPN or remote desktop to on-premise systems, you are still at risk — no power means no on-premise networks or servers.

Businesses with key systems in the cloud, however, can be up and running if employees have power and Internet access.

So what are your next steps?

First, measure the impact on your business of a disruption lasting one day, three days, and five days?  As you do, consider the full cost of recovery, including post-disaster productivity loss as your work to recover lost data and time while keeping things moving forward.

Second, consider the value of keeping your business running rather than having to recover and regroup. Beyond the dollars and cents, understand the value to your customers, to your reputation.

Third, contact us for a complimentary Cloud Advisor Session to discuss your cloud and continuity strategies.

Resilience Trumps Continuity

business resilience
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.


To discuss how cloud computing can improve the resiliency of your business, contact us for a no-obligation conversation or click here to learn about our RestartIT solutions.