How to Create a Business Resiliency Strategy Using Data Center Partners and Cloud

Increased dependency on the data center also means that overall outages and downtime are much costlier as well. According to a new study by Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network Power, the average cost of a data center outage has steadily increased from $505,502 in 2010 to $740,357 today (or a 38 percent net change).

Throughout their research of 63 data center environments, the study found that:

  • Downtime costs for the most data center-dependent businesses are rising faster than average.
  • Maximum downtime costs increased 32 percent since 2013 and 81 percent since 2010.
  • Maximum downtime costs for 2016 are $2,409,991.

Now, with this in mind let’s start with two important points.

  1. What is Business Resiliency? Business resiliency and its associated services specifically revolve around the protection of your data. A proactive resiliency program would include HA, security, backup, and anything that impacts the confidentiality of data or compromises compliance. So, the idea becomes to unify the entire resiliency strategy plan to include all aspects of data protection.
  2. What is the business objective? Creating a proactive approach where a business can handle disruptions while still maintaining true resilience.

Today organizations are leveraging data center providers and cloud services for their business resiliency and continuity planning. To create a good plan there are several key steps that must be understood. Remember, business resiliency means protecting the entire business. Even if some specific units don’t need to be brought back immediately there has to be a good plan around it all. In creating a resiliency strategy start with these two concepts:

  • Use your BIA. Easily one of the most important steps in designing a resiliency plan and something that’s helps you better understand your business. These documents outline specific functions for each business unit, application, workload, user, and much more. Most of all, it helps outline which applications/workloads are critical and how quickly they need to be brought back up. By having such a document, an organization can eliminate numerous variables in selecting a partner which is capable of meeting the company’s business resiliency needs. Furthermore, you can align specific resiliency services to your applications, users, and entire business units.
  • Understand Business Resiliency Components and Data Center Offerings. Prior to moving to a data center partner or cloud provider, establish your resiliency requirements, recovery time and future objectives. Much of this can be accomplished with a BIA, but planning for the future will involve conversations with the IT team and other business stakeholders. Once those needs are established, it’s important to communicate them to the hosting provider. The idea here is to align the thought process to ensure a streamlined DR environment.

Incorporating Resiliency Management Tools and Services

One of the most important management aspects within any environment is the ability to have clear visibility into your data center ecosystem. This means using not only native tools, but ones provided by the data center partner. Working with management and monitoring tools to create business resiliency is very important. It’s also important to have a good view into the physical infrastructure of the data center environment.

  • Uptime, Status Reports, and Logs. Having an aggregate report will help administrators better understand how their environment is performing. Furthermore, managers can make efficiency modifications based on the status reports provided by a data center’s reporting system. Furthermore, working with a good log management system is absolutely critical. This not only creates an effective paper trail, it also helps with infrastructure efficiencies. A good log monitoring system is one of the first steps in designing a proactive, rather than a reactive environment. Many times logs will show an issue arising before it becomes a major problem. Administrators can act on those log alerts and resolve problems at a much steadier pace rather than reacting to an emergency.
  • Mitigating Risk and Protecting Data. It’s important to work with a comprehensive suite of highly standardized and customizable-tiered offerings which can support all levels of business requirements. Good data center partners can deliver a broad spectrum of resiliency solutions which range from multi-data center designs to cost-effective cloud-enabled DRaaS. Furthermore, you can use professional services to assess, design, and implement disaster recovery environments, as well as managed services to help ensure business continuity in the event of a disruption. Partner offerings can be tailored to specific customer needs; and remain flexible, agile and scalable to continue to meet evolving requirements.
  • Meeting Regulations and Staying Compliant. Data center partners can provide structured DR and security methodologies, processes, procedures, and operating models on which to build your resiliency programs. Leading data center models are founded on industry best-practices, methodologies, and frameworks including Lean Six Sigma, ITIL V3, ISO 27001, ISO 22301, and BS25999. In fact, data center partner consultants can help organizations meet FISMA, HIPPA, FFIEC, FDIC, PCI, and SOX compliance requirements. Furthermore, a partner’s DR audit and testing solutions helps organizations to meet corporate and regulatory audit requirements by demonstrating maturity of a business resiliency program.

The process of selecting the right data center partner should include planning around contract creation and ensuring that the required management and business resiliency tools are in place. Remember, your data center is an important extension of your organizations and must be properly managed and protected. Good data center providers will oftentimes offer tools for direct visibility into an infrastructure. This means engineers will have a clear understanding of how their racks are being utilized, powered and monitored. These types of decisions make an infrastructure more efficient and much easier to manage in the long-term.

Source: TheWHIR