Disasters, Disasters, Disasters

Year 2011 came in with some notable natural and man-made calamities. The New Zealand earthquake, the Japan earthquake and tsunami, the Turkish earthquake, the Japan Nuclear Plant leaks, and so much more. Recently the Philippines was hit by a devastating flood which left thousands of people dead. Two years ago, a typhoon leashed at the nation’s capital, dumping out rains that were normally dumped for a month. Although casualties are not that high as compared to the casualties that were bought by the recent flash flood. 

One thing goes to mind. How will businesses continue in case of such calamities? How can consumers recover quickly? Remember, in calamities, the fastest way to recover is:

(a) immediate restoration of power

(b) immediate restoration of communication facilities

(c) immediate restoration of financial services

(d) immediate restoration of physical infrastructure like roads and bridges

(e) immediate delivery of supplies and services to the users

The answer to all of these is for all businesses to think of and develop their own contingency plans and business recovery plans. And in no such case that a contingency plan or a business recovery plan will work if it is not reviewed, tested and implemented properly. Contingency plans and business recovery plans are not limited to IT alone. It includes all parts of the enterprise resource activities, including supply chain management processes. It is not limited to hardware, networks, software or databases, it includes manual processes to enable employees of affected businesses to continue with their supposed to be tasks if the business is affected by such calamities. It may include handling of work, even of outside of the company’s premises, transfer of an IT system to other locations, handling of financials, alternative source and target channels and the like.  

I have read the other day that a Philippine senator filed a bill mandating businesses to have their own business and contingency plans. We think its a good idea. A calamity should not stop commerce and businesses and at the same time, a calamity should not stop consumers and customers from getting the kind of service they want.

It would be a pity for a business if they stop operating if they are affected by these calamities. It would mean loss of income, revenue and reputation.  There should always be a Plan B, a Plan C or even a Plan D, if these happens. 

The next question is: Are you ready?

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Disaster Recovery, Maximize IT Protection and Minimize Downtime

We all define disasters differently. Some companies view it on a scale of disruptions in case of accidental or malicious data loss or damage, some companies view it as disruptions due to power loss or other natural calamities, some companies view it on equipment and systems failures, while some companies view it as nothing, wherein, they ignore these disruption causes because they feel they do not need it or their business are indestructible. 

No matter how we view disasters, we all know that today, we need a strategy that provides protection, fast recovery and high availability of these systems so as it will create minimal or no effect on the entire business process as a whole.

Basic backup does not cut it nor address it. You need effective ways on how to keep your employees working, continue communications, and maintain business as usual during disasters.

This area of IT and/or business should be closely looked upon.

SMEs Not Prepared for Disasters

Based on studies*, SMB’s are not prepared to deal with IT disasters, with only around 40% of these companies have established a clear cut disaster recovery plan.

The study revealed that 12% of these SMBs did not have even a basic DR plan or even had plans to create one. Among them, 44% do not think that IT systems are critical to the business while 38% said they do not think they need a DR plan. 28% said that DRP is not a priority.

Based on these mindset, it seems that these companies were ignoring the risks of data loss and its impact on their business by not taking DR preparedness seriously. And to think that statistics show that a company experiences an average of five outages per year as a result of cyberattacks, power outages, upgrades and employee errors, it was noted that only 52% backs up at least 60% of their data. Less than half backed up data weekly or more frequently and only 21% do daily backups.

Of those with existing DR plans, half said they implemented one after experiencing either an outage or data loss and only 28% actually tested their plans.

Conceptually and technically speaking, we say that NO DR PLAN is ready until it has been tested and should involve automated tools like simulation of disaster recovery and putting a sort of process in place.

It can also mean that each test and procedure should be checked every six months to a year. These tests should cover recovery of lost systems to ensure that they are sound. It should also include a team readiness mentality to handle a crisis.

Companies who had experienced major outages lost customers too, which in turn, could have lost their business reputation. A survey done by an international survey firm revealed that 72% of the customers will switch vendors or providers in the event of disasters, noting that customers are not as tolerant as their vendors think they are. 51% of these customers stated that if the service provider is not provided as expected, they would switch vendors as soon as possible.

The lack of preparedness can cause an SMB to go out of business. It is critical that these companies recognize the importance of their data. At least, the best thing you can do is backup your data and important information and making sure that you put a good security mechanism in place to defend external threats.

Cloud computing is an option SMB’s can explore to better protect their data. Disaster preparedness also involves employees getting educated on good IT practices which should include not storing data on laptops, mobile phones and even on USB flash drives. They should also ensure that data is duplicated on file servers to allow better management in an event of a disaster. Safe and secure access to the Internet can also mitigate risks against potential threats.

The world is now experiencing day to day disasters. We think all companies should be prepared in the event a disaster strikes so that they can immediately recover everything and get back to their normal operations, hence, not losing their reputation and customers, which will in turn, allow them not to substantially incur losses in their businesses.

* Note:

statistics acquired from Symantec and IDG surveys.

Disaster Recovery, You Don’t Need One? This might make you change your mind

I have talked with lots of people on their business preparedness when disasters come.. Most of them say:
“I do not need it, our business is too small to be disrupted..” or
“Yes, we are prepared, we backup everything.” or
“Hmmmm, that is too expensive..” or
“Well, maybe next time…”
While the danger from disasters to small and medium-sized companies has significantly increased over the past decade, there are more disaster recovery solutions available—at a variety of price points—than ever before.
Why? One reason for this is the emergence of replication as a means of data protection and its evolution as an essential component of both disaster recovery and operational backup for applications.

Remember, if your IT or your business stops, so goes your profit, and so goes your customers. That simple.

Let me enumerate to you the facts why even SMEs need disaster recovery procedures

A. Storage failures are not a temporary inconvenience and WILL, i repeat, WILL affect your business in the long run.

Statistics say that 93% of companies who lost their data center in a disaster filed for bankrupcy within one year. What is your chance to be in the lucky 7% who did not file bankrupcy?

B. The odds of an adult having a dream coming true is 1:2.33.

Actually, this is the same probability of a company without a DRP re-opening after a catastrophe. As per article I got from KPMG, 1 in 4 business experience major crisis involving DRP every year. This is 25%… For those companies without DRP, 43% will not re-open and only 29% will only operate two years later. At best, a business loses time, money and opportunities.

So, are you prepared?

-viz-