Leveraging Virtualization for Business Continuity

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 by Milagros Gamero

Many organizations report that they are improving their disaster recovery capabilities, and that their confidence in being prepared for a disaster has increased. Still, there is much work to do to ensure adequate preparation and protection.

The cost of an interruption in business, whether due to network attack, data breach or natural disaster, can be a rude awakening. An estimation of system downtime costs when a data disaster strikes takes into consideration not only productivity losses, missed sales opportunities and staff's hourly time, but also less quantifiable impacts such as damage to corporate image and customer confidence. This highlights the growing need for additional protection against business interruptions.

Survival of the fittest? The need for a business continuity plan

A modern business continuity plan is a comprehensive corporate policy that ensures all of a business's departments will be able to successfully operate with minimal or limited impact during a disruptive event.

Let me make a small pause here to clarify that for simplicity, in this post, a business disruption is anything that prevents completing day-to-day work, including power disruption, downed phone lines, and so forth. A data disaster occurs when data is corrupted. Hence, a data disaster is a subset of business disruption.

Moving on, a disaster recovery plan and emergency response procedures are part of the larger business continuity plan. What started as a formal procedure to protect expensive computer equipment has crossed over to protect all elements of a business organization.

Virtualization as a business continuity tool

The development of virtualization technology has enabled the IT industry to consolidate data centers, revolutionizing the industry. Together, virtualization technology and business continuity have increased IT operational efficiency and have helped corporations meet business continuity objectives such as recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs). The resulting benefits to organizations include reductions in cost and the increased protection of critical IT computer systems and data assets.

Before virtualization technology existed, it was difficult for an organization to meet recovery time and system availability requirements due to the necessary procurement of physical computer systems. Increasingly, virtualization technology is deployed within an organization and redundant computer systems can be provisioned quickly.

The next step in ensuring business continuity

In addition, it is vitally important to include data recovery processes within an organization's business continuity plan. To cover the costs of data breaches or technological failures, some organizations fully integrate disaster recovery procedures within their projects to protect their investments.

Others have enhanced their business continuity plans with additional insurance protection. Successful organizations realize that any disruption, regardless of how small, will have an impact on the business as a whole. This has led IT leaders and business continuity planners to proactively include data recovery services in their contingency plans.

Choosing a data recovery service vendor before a disaster occurs prepares the IT team for a successful survival of a business disruption. In making this selection, it is important to look for a data recovery service provider that not only has a strong history of quality service, but that has kept pace with new technologies to provide assistance to companies who experience a data loss event or business disruption. The service provider should offer specific recovery capabilities for all electronic data and digital storage systems as well as virtualized technologies to successfully meet the requirements of business continuity.

As virtualization is more widespread, it is increasingly important for companies to include data recovery in their disaster recovery plans. Whatever storage environment an organization is using, an effective disaster recovery plan is a critical step in effective data management.