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Offsite and access – the key considerations for disaster recovery
Posted by Ash Khagram on 21/03 at 10:00 AM Data centre, Disaster recovery,
Offsite disaster recovery image

During the 12 months from April 2015, there were eight key incidents that affected the UK causing power cuts, evacuations, delays and damage to key infrastructure. 

  • Storm Abigail affected power, ferry services and closed schools across the UK and Ireland 
  • Holborn fire caused evacuation of businesses for more than 36 hours in London
  • Kennington floods affected properties and caused transport delays in London
  • Storm Desmond affected 200+ businesses due to flooding and power cuts
  • Royal Berkshire Hospital floods and power cut closed A&E and staff relied on backup generators
  • Heathrow Airport power cut delayed 3,000 passengers and resulted in compensation pay-outs
  • Storm Katie left 200,000 businesses and homes without power and grounded flights
  • Saltley recycling site fire resulted in 4,000 properties losing power in Birmingham

We have no control over these events occurring but we can manage the disruption it can cause, and minimise the effect on our business with a reliable disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity plan. To achieve an effective plan, there are two critical elements you need to address: offsite backup and access to your backed-up files.

Off-site data backup
Firstly, while you could just store copies of your data locally, you should have copies stored off site too. Why? Because any locally stored data could suffer the same fate as your primary data in the event of a disaster. That's why a lot of businesses are moving to off-site storage.

There are many ways of achieving this. This could be as simple as someone taking tapes or disks home every night. However, there is a risk that the data might get lost or the person may forget to bring the data back in. 

You could opt for a public cloud provider to store your data. However, once you start getting to a certain volume of data, paying per gigabyte starts to get expensive. At this point, you'll want to consider a bespoke data storage solution, such as an automated off-site backup.

Accessability of data post-disaster
Secondly, if you have had some type of catastrophe, such as a fire in the server room or your offices have suffered a flood, etc., you need consider whether your stored data is accessible to your users. That's when we look at a business continuity plan, which not only looks at making your data safe but would give your staff access to it after the disaster took place. 

We would look at using replication. We would use data centre-hosted servers to not only take a backed up copy of your data but also a copy of your whole environment, i.e. your virtual machines in a ready-to-run state. 

In the event of any failure at your primary site, those machines can be switched on so your users can access them from home or anywhere else with an internet connection via a VPN link. The data will be there, up-to-date and usable. 

Business continuity plans aren’t just about backing up your data - it is being about to quickly recover from a disaster. swcomms provides high-tech disaster recovery (DR) suites and hosting solutions to businesses that want a URL-based off-site backup and replication solution. We provide the technology, connectivity and technical expertise that businesses requires to simply transfer their operation to an alternative site in the face of disaster for peace of mind. 

Posted by
Ash Khagram's avatar
Ash Khagram on 21/03/2017

Ash joined us as the digital marketing manager in 2016 with 20 years of marketing expertise from the software and engineering industry.

As a true geek, Ash keeps up to date with current technology trends and innovations in marketing. He spent the last eight years working with leading software companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Adobe etc to create B2B and B2C marketing campaigns.

Ash moved from London in 2007 with his family to enjoy the idilyic surroundings of Dartmoor and the coastlines Devon has to offer.