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February 01, 2013

Dealing with Natural Disasters in the Data Center

By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor

As a technology company, there are countless things you have to think about as part of your business continuity and disaster recovery plan, but you might be leaving some critical details out in your current plan.

All in all, it’s integral to look at your business and understand exactly what it needs to prepare for and recover from a disaster. At ITEXPO (News - Alert) Miami 2013 this morning, a panel of experts in the space discussed the issue of natural disasters as they relate to the data center.   

Disaster recovery and business continuity are intertwined in many ways, but the two are still very different. In fact, according to Kevin Edwards of TELES (News - Alert) Communications Corp., disaster recovery is what to do in order to get everything back after the disaster, while business continuity is how to keep everything working during the disaster.

The key challenge in a natural disaster, according to Pam Bernardino of OpenText, is that you cannot always source with your local vendors. So, you have to think about sourcing much further away in order to stay up and running.

“At OpenText, we ensure that we are testing our plans at all times so that in the event of a disaster our system is prepared to handle that failover,” she said. “When Sandy came along, we actually operated without a glitch, so our customers could use our network seamlessly.”

OpenText has its network, service and disaster recovery plans set up so that company can handle an entire network’s load out in multiple locations. The company has configured its network so that it is geographically dispersed so it can be easily moved to provide seamless service to customers.

People tend to devise plans that handle every area of operations within a company, whether it’s integral or not, which ultimately wastes money. “There is an expense to planning for disasters and you don’t need to back up areas of your business for disasters that aren’t critical,” said Edwards.

Overall, there are some disasters like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina that you can’t completely prepare for. “You have to remember that when they strikes, not only are you impacted, everyone is impacted – you are on your own,” he continued.

So, ask yourself, how you can fill the gap when someone is trying to figure out how to protect their house? It is key to figure out a strategy to get the word out about the disaster to employees, customers and vendors that are not in the area to know what is going on.

Fortunately, cloud solutions offer advantages for disaster recovery and business continuity today. When it comes to natural disasters, the cloud gives companies every bit of disaster recovery that they could possibly ask for, according to Bernardino. 

Edwards added, “Companies have to look at what they need and there is a plethora of solutions out there in the cloud.”

Today, a lot of companies will say they have disaster recovery plans, but Bernardino strong urges that you ask to actually see those plans, see how often those plans are updated and tested in order to ensure that their plan works.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, happening now in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker
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