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Surviving the ultimate disaster: Data loss

01 Oct 2012

Remember to include data recovery when you’re selling disaster recovery, reminds Adrian Briscoe, Kroll Ontrack general manager, APAC.

Business continuity has come a long way. Most companies now have at least a rudimentary idea of what needs to be done to keep the business operating should a serious disaster occur. Yet there is one area of planning still lacking – the choice of data recovery service.

Data recovery is rarely included as a formal part of the DR plan by resellers. It’s a decision people believe can be dealt with when the need arises but in the midst of a disaster, there are a thousand other problems to deal with and under pressure, the criteria used to evaluate data recovery suppliers is likely to be less robust than that criteria for choosing a new coffee machine.

Since an inexperienced or under-equipped data recovery provider can make a bad situation worse, potentially destroying any ability to recover data, the wisest time to choose a service is before disaster strikes.

As storage and data increase, there is a corresponding need to prepare for business disruptions and data loss. With enterprise data closing in on the petabyte range, backups are not providing enough coverage and any form of data loss can have a devastating impact on companies.

Virtual dreams

A worrying observation of data recovery engineers is that many IT departments have so much faith in their virtualised storage that they never complete or test their backups. In one example, a customer regularly made backups to the same SAN that held the original data.

When the SAN went down, everything became inaccessible. In another example, a company’s critical virtual infrastructure failed because the DNS servers were configured virtually which then halted normal business operations.

In the traditional storage arena, there’s the problem of data stored in tape archives. Companies seldom check whether the data can be easily restored in the case of a calamity.

To avoid costly mistakes, specify data recovery provisions within the DR plan. Make the plan proactive by regularly testing backups and availability of data. Try acting out a disaster response. This provides insight to management on how to contain a business disruption and how long it will take to restore services.

As a reseller, when you’re identifying the right data recovery provider, look for companies  which:

*have the technology and resources to solve a wide array of data loss challenges, for example, Unix, Linux and Windows-based systems that are all running on one virtual server

*will provide you with the information required to make an educated purchase decision;

*offer professional customer service whenever and wherever you need it, and have a local partner network;

*have well documented and established procedures for maintaining security and confidentiality of your data. If it is critical data remains secure, find a company that has passed a third-party security audit.