Neverfail®, a global software company specializing in continuous availability software for disaster recovery, today revealed the results of a survey of nearly 2,500 IT managers and C-level executives from public and private sector organizations in the U.K. and U.S.

The results highlight regional differences in approaches to disaster recovery (DR) and IT infrastructure provisioning.

The survey revealed that only 56% of more than 1,000 U.K. respondents had integrated IT DR into their organization’s business continuity plan, while 82.6% had made this move in the U.S. Additionally, respondents in both the U.S. (29.5%) and the U.K. (31.3%) stated that they do not consider cloud platforms to be a viable option for DR, although organizations in the U.S. were ahead of their U.K. counterparts with regards to virtualizing business critical applications. Seventy-two percent of U.S. organizations have made this move in comparison to 58% of U.K. respondents.

Observing differences in approaches to DR across two geographies has provided great insight into general adoption levels around hot industry trends such as virtualization and cloud computing,” said Bob Roudebush, VP of marketing at Neverfail. “Noting that U.S. businesses are slightly ahead of their U.K. counterparts with regards to the virtualization of tier-one applications perhaps signifies more widespread adoption of virtualization generally in this region, and it is also very interesting to see that the concerns around cloud platforms are very similar to the apprehensions and stigma that surrounded virtualization four to five years ago.”

Click here to read more about the results of this survey.

If applicable, please pass the information of this survey along to those business continuity, disaster recovery and preparedness and risk management team members in your organization.

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Disaster Recovery – Benefits of Getting Disaster Planning Software and Template and Contracting with Companies Offering Data Disaster Recovery Plans, Solutions and Services

Why Would You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan?

In this day and age, when virtual space in the World Wide Web is considered a property, it is imperative that this property be taken care of. Like an owned space, you have the responsibility to take care of its security and make sure that everything will function well even if a disaster takes place. To look at disaster recovery plan ( DRP) in a business perspective, it is protecting your virtual property from anything that will risk it. It is like FEMA’s job, only in a business and technology sense, and in this virtualized property’s case, it is the National Institue of Standards and Technology (NIST) who takes care of them.

For a company, big or small, whether they have cold, hot or warm server, it is a need to have a plan in place just in case something unforeseen happens. With many companies dependent on or run by computers, a short downtime in these systems will cause great havoc to the business — lost customers, lost profits. For example, you’re running a website and a virus damaged your program, customers will not be able to buy anything from your site and you probably will lose your database of customer information, or even compromise their information. Another industry that can be largely affected by even a minute of downtime are call centers. If the phone systems in a center cannot be used in just about a minute, chances are the customers will get upset because of waiting on the line for long and they will define the company as one that has poor customer service. All companies require a disaster recovery plan in place because all businesses from a convenience store to a bank and television network need continuity. In a world where everyone is looking for fast fixes and 24-hour availability, it’s not a good idea to undermine the importance of a contingency plan.

Basic Information for Disaster Recovery Planning

The definition of disaster recovery is embedded in its name, according to Wiki, this is the procedure done for a business to recover easily and have business resumption almost immediately after a disruptive event happens. These disruptions may vary; it could be a high-impact one, like a terrorist attack or even a natural disaster like earthquake and it may be as minor as a computer virus attacking one computer. Planning for events like this is essential as you have to remember that you will lose money and profit even for just a few seconds of system outage. A standard should be set and all employees who are tasked to take the responsibility should know the contingency plans.

As for any project, disaster recovery planning will take some time, money and expertise. However, this cannot be taken for granted just because you can’t afford it. Losing business data costs more than making sure that everything has backups in case disaster happens.

Components of a Good Disaster Recovery Plan Template

There are three control measures on a recovery plan, preventive, detective and corrective measures. Creating a plan template is already a preventive measure. Having a template or a guide on hand will help in risk reduction as you will already know what to do in case of minor events. But to further discuss preventive measure, it involves securing your servers and systems from any harmful attacks that are man-made or those that are made by mistake. This means implementing a security policy in your company. For example, you cannot use USB or CDs brought from the outside or you cannot download anything from any sites in your office computer. Policies like this help avoid the threat of viruses to your server.

The next control measure is detective measure, which means you are trying to pre-empt unwanted events while also trying to avoid them altogether. Running system tests and virus scans are examples of this measure. Once something is found, then you can already remove or do the corrective measures, which is the last and current thing you can do upon discovering the event. A good disaster recovery plan has these three measures and even more at best.

Developing a plan for business contingency is not that easy. Using a guide or a template, which you can also get free online, helps to simplify the task. Plan templates are available online for your reference, however, you must keep in mind that your company’s needs may be different from the company which published that template online. So modify it according to what your company needs.

Just to give you an idea on what a recovery plan includes, you must remember that there are questions that your plan should answer, the first being the objective and purpose of your plan. The next thing you should include in it will be the people or teams who will be responsible in case any disruptions happen. You should document the names of the responsible people or departments who will do the recovery job so that it creates accountability. The assigned team manager as well as the detailed description of their jobs should also be in the documentation. An active directory of the team’s contact information should also be present so that once the disaster strikes, it will be easy for the management team to communicate with everyone.

The Most Crucial Part of Data Disaster Recovery

The next part of your plan is the most important, it is answering the question of what to do in case the disaster strikes. This part of the paper should outline the standard emergency procedures such as calling 911 and sounding the alarm. Scenarios from minor to major and who should lead in each one should be detailed. The strategies that each team should take in a given time should also be described.

Data storage machine’s location, offsite or onsite should also be outlined. There should also be teams responsible for each facility so as to make sure that someone will take care of it and that someone from that place can inform the command centre about the situation in that area. In this section of the plan, tools and supplies to use should also be specified. Finally, a checklist and audit of software and operating systems should be in the plan.

Once the plan is finished, it is important to schedule practices or walk-through testing. Create some sample scenarios based on the recovery design to test if the teams will employ the strategy and not just treat it like any other resources and documents. Provide your teams with at least one training tool so that they can practice on their own. Give them training accounts so they can go through the process as a team. Learning by doing is better vs just writing them an email containing this plan. Publishing a report or journal is crucial after each practice or walk-through, this report will tell you whether the team you have assigned as well as the plan itself can give the necessary results in case the real thing happens.

Using a Disaster Recovery Software

Data recovery nowadays are made easier. There are servers that already have a recovery system software intact. Examples are Linux, Microsoft Servers 2000, Microsft Sharepoint, Windows Servers 2003, SQL Server 2005 and Exchange 2007. However there are servers that do not have a recovery software backup, in this case you need to purchase a separate one. There are technologies and managed services companies that offer softwares to help you in your disaster recovery preparations and RAID redundancy. Neverfail, Sungard, Zenith Infotech, VMWare Inc., Comdisco, Oracle and even Dell sells software products. There are also providers of open source disaster recovery software with great reviews on the net. Most of these companies even give out white papers online for companies to have a better grasp of what their softwares can do for them.

Disaster Recovery Solutions – Its Place in Business

Businesses and some government agencies outsource their hosting, virtualization and other programs to consulting companies. Some even employ consultants for their data recovery solution needs. It is a relief that there are already colocation service companies available everywhere as well as a lot of data needs storage, duplicates and backup. For example, HIPAA mandates hospital and clinics to store duplicate copies of patients’ files and even image scans. This mandate then forces hospitals and medical institutions to get help from a data management consultant or company. These companies then, also make sure that all databases stored will last and will be kept even if a disaster strikes. Global companies such as Google and Facebook also has contingency solutions, albeit all their solutions are in-house because of the technology that they have access to.

Disaster Recovery Services – Things You Need to Know Before You Ask for Help

Because there are literally hundreds of companies offering their disaster recovery services, it is wise that you know what things to ask even before you step in their office to inquire or even before you decide to switch providers.

The first thing to find out is the services they offer. Are they after hardware selling? Software? Or do they really go to your site and check things themselves. Choosing the right one based on the answer to these questions will depend on your company’s needs and how much involvement do you want them to have.

The next thing to look for is if they can provide you with multiple services at once and not just sell you products every time you talk to them. Also find out if they have engineers to support you even at short notice. Their response to the last two situations should help you in your analysis of which company will be able to serve your company better.

Disaster Recovery Plans are Investments

If you’re in this part of the article and you have not decided whether you should consider making a disaster recovery plan or employing the help of data recovery companies, then continue reading. As some data said, most businesses who lost their information because of disasters or events eventually lose their business. It does not matter what you decide to do, whether you choose to get someone to do it for your company or you get some short courses on disaster recovery so that you can do it yourself, what is important is you plan for disaster.

Disaster recovery is an investment that you need to make for your business, you cannot risk your whole business just because of some lost data after an event, right?

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