DR insights and tips for small and mid-sized businesses
By Dale Vile and Tony Lock
Most SMBs take measures to permit systems recovery following a major operational incident
Despite the focus of suppliers and advisors on large enterprise when it comes to DR, the results of a recent study based on feedback from 160 SMBs across the UK, France and Germany confirm that DR is important for all sizes of organisation. Furthermore, most SMBs put DR measures in place, albeit with varying degrees of formality and completeness.
However, significant gaps and shortfalls often exist
While efforts are clearly being made, when we look at specific DR capability to do with the IT and information related aspects of business operations, some clear gaps and shortfalls are highlighted. These are associated with a range of issues from the completeness and reliability of protection, through the speed and granularity of recovery, to the ability to test and operate cost-effectively.
DR initiatives often fail to compete effectively for attention, time and funding
The harsh reality for those interested in driving improvement is that DR initiatives are competing for priority with other projects that will often deliver more obvious value in terms of new or improved functionality for business users. In comparison, the value of DR related investments often only becomes clear when things go wrong.
The trick is to take a fresh view, bearing in mind the broader dynamics
As IT is relied on more extensively within the business, the potential risk clearly escalates, but so too do the cost and overhead of managing DR effectively through incremental manual approaches. Using a combination of thoughtful leverage of IT related developments in areas such as distributed operations and virtualisation, however, a lot can be achieved with minimal additional investment that can reduce both cost and risk.
Costs and risks can be further reduced through more advanced automation solutions
Many techniques and solutions that can enhance the level of protection and automation but have hitherto been the preserve of large enterprises are now more accessible to SMBs. Some of these are sold as discrete product offerings by vendors, with ‘SMB friendly’ packaging and pricing, but it’s increasingly common to see advanced DR functionality embedded in storage systems, systems management tools, and so on.
Focusing on key enablers will enhance the returns from any DR improvement initiative
The research highlights 7 key enablers of effective IT DR, which are outlined in this report and should not be beyond the reach of any SMB IT department. It is therefore recommended that those looking to drive improvements take note of what has worked for others and learn from their peers.