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The complete DIY disaster recovery guide for SMBs

What’s inside:

      1. What your people need to know about disaster recovery
      2. The essential components of disaster recovery for SMBs
      3. Why you need a disaster recovery plan (even if you think you don’t)
      4. How to test your disaster recovery plan

Chapter 1

Why you need a disaster recovery plan (even if you think you don’t)

When you’re a small business owner, you absolutely need a disaster recovery plan. Unfortunately, a surprising number of owners shrug off this fact. Here are a few of the most common reasons we hear:

  • Nothing bad will happen . . . or if it does, it won’t be too bad
  • Time is better spent focusing on today’s issues and not on “what ifs”
  • A disaster recovery plan is important, and it’ll get done soon (rinse and repeat)

You see where this is going. A disaster hits the business, and, just like that, months or years of hard work disappear. It’s nothing short of tragic.
Particularly because there are things you can do to prepare.

But first . . . what is a disaster recovery plan?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of disaster recovery, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. What is a disaster recovery plan?
It’s a plan to help your IT systems get back on track after an emergency. You may sometimes hear the term “business continuity,” as well. The two are not the same thing. Business continuity addresses everything necessary to keep a business running, no matter what.
Part of that is disaster recovery.

The likelihood of a disaster

Ready for some less-than-pleasant news? It’s likely your business will experience a disaster.
Oh, you may never have to endure a tornado or a hurricane, but something will eventually take your entire business offline unexpectedly. Disasters come in different forms and vary in severity.
There are natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods and blizzards. And then there are technological disasters such as cyberattacks, phishing scams, internet outages, and power failures. There are even man-made disasters such as civil unrest, terrorism and explosions. Not to mention the “small” stuff, like simple blackouts.
And the more unprepared you are, the more costly downtime is. Even one hour of downtime could cost your business several thousand dollars.

Take a look at these stats

You don’t have to take our word for it about the high cost of poor preparation. The numbers tell the story just fine on their own.

40-60%

After a disaster, 40 to 60% of businesses fail to reopen. Of those that do reopen, 25 percent go out of business within a year.

Statistic Graphic

90% of small businesses close within a year if they cannot get their operations back up within five days.


Statistic Graphic

46% of businesses have incomplete disaster recovery plans or no plan at all.

Statistic Graphic

22% of businesses have declared a disaster in the past five years. The top causes were IT failures (hardware failures, network failures, etc.), power outages, floods, cyberattacks, natural disasters and human error.

How disasters affect your IT systems

And here’s where things get real. Let’s look at how a lack of preparedness could potentially affect your business.

  • A hardware or software failure could severely impact employee productivity and lead to disgruntled customers.
  • One of your employees could fall for a phishing scam and give cybercriminals access to sensitive company accounts, which are drained. Your business is then out thousands of dollars.
  • The space where your data center is stored could experience a burst water pipe that destroys the equipment housing your data.
  • A fire could burn your business down to the ground, completely wiping out your IT infrastructure.
  • A lightning strike could create a surge and fry critical equipment, forcing you to close for just a few days. In that short time, your business could get a reputation for being unprepared or unreliable.

But with a plan . . .

A disaster recovery plan would help with all of the above examples.
No, a disaster recovery plan doesn’t stop the disaster. That’s not its purpose. But it does give you a way to bounce back. When you’re facing downtime, that’s what matters—how quickly you can get your network back online.
A disaster for your business won’t necessarily come in the form of a raging inferno or thundering hurricane. Rather, it may have more mundane roots, such as a power outage or human error.
Whatever form the disaster takes, your hard work could go down the drain if your business lacks a recovery plan.

Chapter 2

The essential components of disaster recovery for SMBs

Now that we’ve explained why it’s important to have a disaster recovery plan, what exactly should your plan include? Here’s a look at essentials such as backups, communications and employee training.

Backups

Your business data can be lost or destroyed in many ways. Here are just a few examples:

  • Accidents, such as a liquid spill, a laptop drop or accidental deletion
  • Disasters, such as a fire, flood or tornado
  • Cybercriminal activity, such as malware, ransomware or a virus
  • Theft, even as small as smartphone theft

Part of the goal for your disaster recovery plan is to protect your data. One way to do that is to make sure everything is backed up. That way, even if something wiped out your entire office, you wouldn’t lose the information you depend on to run your business.

The 3-2-1 rule

Aim to follow the 3-2-1 rule.

3

Three backup copies

2

In two mediums such as the cloud and hard drives

1

One copy stored offsite


The cloud is an essential player in data backups because you can continue work outside of the office and retrieve data from anywhere.
Think about other things that contribute to your backup plan, as well.

  • Do you have “backup vendors” (like an ISP) should you need to quickly move from one service provider to another?
  • Do you have a backup or redundant power supply source, like an onsite generator? (If you keep a backup server onsite, you may need one.)
  • Do you have backup supplies (like food and bedding) for employees who might need to stay at the office in the event of an emergency?

Most SMBs work with a managed services provider or an offsite data center provider instead of managing their own data center onsite. Before selecting a provider, ask about their plans to prevent and mitigate disasters.

Communications plan

It’s easy to focus too much on IT in a disaster recovery plan and to forget about the human aspect. Ensure that your plan incorporates the many types of communications that may be necessary.
Some things to think about include:

  • Who speaks for the company to the media, emergency responders, third-party vendors and others? (It can be a different person for each.)
  • Who reaches out to clients or customers? And how?
  • Who reaches out to employees? And how?
  • How much information do you plan to reveal in the event of a disaster? And how will you reassure those who need encouragement?
  • Do you have contact numbers (work and personal) for everyone on your staff?
  • Who are the critical members of your staff and/or what are the critical roles that have to be covered to keep your business going?

Priorities

Which systems are most critical to your mission? How much time can go by before disruption to the business becomes a serious issue? How can you protect proprietary information?
Your plan should be designed in terms of priorities. There are undoubtedly normal functions in your business you could skip or go without if you had to. As you build out your plan, make it a point to attend to the necessary stuff first.
High-priority functions should have built-in redundancy.

Your “go team”

One component of your plan is to establish a “go team” that springs into action quickly in the event of a disaster. Here’s what you’ll need to do to prep your go team.

Go team prep

Tranning Icon

Train regularly so they’re prepared to act efficiently in various scenarios

Cross training icon

Receive cross-training so they can perform multiple roles

Work relationship icon

Establish relationships with third parties such as the fire department and your data center provider

It’s also important for regular employees—those not necessarily at the forefront of disaster response—to receive training. We’ll look at that more in-depth in part 3 of this ebook.
In addition, disasters aren’t necessarily in the form of fires or hurricanes. For example, a phishing scam or a set of weak passwords could cripple your business. Disaster recovery also includes disaster prevention and mitigation.
Educating your employees on strong passwords, ransomware, phishing and more can prevent disasters and keep your employees calm and your data secure when one does occur.

Prevention

Just like you can prevent the likelihood of disasters with good employee education, you can also minimize the odds with regular maintenance and testing of your IT infrastructure. The same goes for testing your disaster recovery plan.
Say a fire breaks out at your workplace and it’s been a while since sprinkler systems and fire detection systems were tested. Will they work? Maybe. Maybe not.
Regular testing ensures everything is operating as it should. 52 percent of businesses test this kind of thing just once a year or less. We’ll look more at what complete testing of your disaster recovery plan looks like in part 4 of this ebook.

Chapter 3

What your people need to know about disaster recovery

Training your small business employees to deal with disasters can minimize the effects of a catastrophe, and it could be the difference between a quick recovery and devastating damage.

How to stay safe before, during and after

Employee safety comes first.
Being able to access business email and VOIP telephone systems won’t matter if your people are injured. And while your data is certainly valuable, your people are irreplaceable. Make sure your disaster recovery plan includes emergency safety procedures.
You’ll also want to give some thought to alternative work locations and security practices in the wake of a disaster. If your office is unusable, where will your people go? Are you equipped to work from home? And how will you maintain data security in the interim?

Why disasters wear different faces

Most people immediately think of weather and natural disasters when they hear the phrase “disaster recovery.” But disasters come in all shapes, sizes and forms. And an IT-specific disaster can be just as costly as a fire—or even more costly.
Make sure your employees have a well-rounded idea of the potential disasters you face as a company. That list should include:

  • Hardware failure
  • User error (a major cause of IT disasters)
  • Power outages
  • Software problems

Some employees may not even know a disaster has occurred until after the fact. Clarifying the definition of “disaster” helps employees get on board more with prevention training.

How to prevent disasters

Use onboarding and continuing training to cover the essential topics. Any new employee should go through disaster recovery training, but don’t assume everyone will remember all those details. Be sure to do periodic refresher training sessions, as well.

Disaster prevention topics

Scam email icon

Recognizing phishing scams

Password Icon

Using strong passwords

Download icon

Downloading attachments

Laptop icon

Following the BYOD policy

WiFI moden icon

Browsing safely on public Wi-Fi while working

Mobile devices icon

Securing laptops, smartphones and other devices


Slipping up in any of these areas can lead to an IT disaster that severely harms your business. Explain the why and how so employees know why this training matters. After all, you’re not trying to dump extra work on them.
You’re trying to protect the business.

Where to go and what to do after a disaster

Suppose a disaster compels your business to move to alternative offices or to switch to telecommuting for a while. Your employees need to know a few things.

How to communicate with the company

Should they wait for an email from their team leader? Or proactively call in themselves? Or something else?

Where to go

Are you prepared to work from home? Or do you have an alternative office site B? And how soon do you expect employees to check in? To be available to work?

How to get to work

If there are folks who absolutely have to come to an office, will your business provide alternative transportation? If a critical staff member cannot get to that office, what’s your secondary plan for that?

How to access company programs and equipment

If a cloud computing service is down, what’s the next option? If a laptop is at the office and that has become an unsafe site, what should your employees do?

Who to contact

Who should everyone reach out to with questions, concerns or critical information? Make sure this list is longer than one name—and you almost certainly don’t want to be the point person here if your team is bigger than 10 people.

Are there any temporary policies or procedures?

Any different data security protocols to follow? Should they make adjustments to how they work normal tasks or prioritize things differently during the recovery period?

Everything else

To make sure you’ve covered all the other topics listed above, make sure you’ve considered the following.

  • What technology will be accessible during an emergency?
  • How can the business keep its data secure during an emergency?
  • What happens if the offsite data facility is destroyed?

Looking at the last question, if your business and/or employees have been following the 3-2-1 rule, there are copies of employee data that survived the facility being destroyed.
Remember, disaster recovery isn’t just about getting data back—it’s also about mitigating risk and preventing data from being compromised in the first place.

Test both your business continuity and disaster recovery plans

You never fully realize everything your employees need to know until an actual disaster strikes. That’s where testing comes in.
Testing helps everyone in the business better understand how to deal with various types of disasters and how to prevent them. It also pinpoints weaknesses in your current plan, including what employees need to know and do.
Test regularly! Don’t be one of the 23 percent of businesses that leave themselves unnecessarily vulnerable.

Chapter 4

How to test your disaster recovery plan

You know the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” So it goes with testing disaster recovery plans. Companies that regularly test their plans, making necessary adjustments based on feedback, are in a much better position to get through extreme weather, hardware failures, human error, cyberattacks, and other types of IT disasters.
However, not enough businesses test their plans (or they don’t test often enough).
In fact, one study shows that 23 percent of companies don’t test at all due to reasons such as plan complexity and a lack of time and resources. If this sounds like your company, find a way to address these issues or you may lose revenue or even go out of business.
Here are a few tips for your disaster recovery testing.

Determine the scope

Your managed services provider, if you have one, can help you figure out the scope of your testing.
If your business is small, it may be that spinning up virtual machines locally or in the cloud is sufficient for some rounds of testing. If the business is larger, testing may entail unplugging a server or intentionally causing downtime in some other way.
Consider factors such as the time and resource needs of testing plus any disruption that testing would cause your customers and how much disruption they could tolerate.

Set goals

Design each DR test with a goal and figure out the results you expect.
Who is involved, and what exactly is being tested? Consider other questions such as the date of your last DR test and any IT changes since then that may require updates to the plan before testing takes place.

Document the process

There’s little point in running DR tests if no one documents the processes or acts on feedback to make adjustments. Designate one person in the business to observe and document the test.

Point person tasks

  • Record how long each step takes
  • Record any missing steps not already documented for restoration, data recovery, and emergency communications
  • Record any unexpected failures in detail
  • Record the human performance of your team

To expand on the latter point, how did your employees do when faced with a bewildering turn of events? Were there parts of the DR plan that remained unclear to some employees or that caused them undue angst? Did internal or external communications fall through due to human error?

Implement feedback

Your testing may have gone well—even perfectly. If so, congratulations. Otherwise, act on the feedback you receive to make any necessary changes.
For instance, maybe several of your employees need a better understanding of their role in DR, and they need to be trained. Perhaps your systems take unacceptably long to get back online—why? How can you shorten that time frame?

Test regularly

At the bare minimum, test your plan once a year. Even better, practice it once every quarter (four times a year). Testing every month or every week may even make sense depending on the size of your company, the IT infrastructure, regulatory requirements, and how reliant your company is on IT.
You can test different elements each time with a full-scale run once a year. Remember, a disaster doesn’t have to be a full-blown act of God to make an impact. Downtime a few times a year due to internet outages can erode client confidence over time and result in clients leaving.
It can also be a good idea to run a DR test when new people step into roles. For instance, if your lead IT employee leaves and someone new steps in, don’t wait too long before doing DR testing with this new person. Otherwise, your business could be vulnerable if disaster does strike.
For guidance putting all this information to good use in your own disaster recovery plan, get in touch with one of our business continuity professionals at ISG Technology.

5 straightforward disaster recovery options for SMBs

In a digital environment that’s unforgiving when it comes to downtime and outages, planning for IT disaster recovery is a critical responsibility of the modern business owner. Despite this, an astounding 75 percent of small businesses have no disaster recovery plan in place.

If your SMB isn’t prepared for a disaster, it’s important to start by understanding the basic tools that will help you navigate and mitigate a crisis.

Here are five straightforward disaster recovery solutions your SMB should consider as part of an overall recovery plan.

Cloud backups

Cloud backups can be an excellent tool for protecting your data in the event of a disaster.

A data loss event can impede a small business’s operations and drastically increase its chances of closing within six months. By performing continuous backups to the cloud, your business can safeguard its data and reduce the potential impact of a disaster.

For this reason, cloud backups are becoming increasingly popular among SMBs. Approximately 78 percent of such businesses are expected to back their data up on the cloud by 2020.

Cloud backups also have the advantage of letting you keep data geographically remote to avoid complications from natural disasters. Experts recommend keeping your backups 200 miles or more from your actual location.

Virtualization

Like cloud backups, server virtualization is useful for keeping data safe, as well as for limiting the amount of downtime that your business will experience during a disaster.

Virtual servers allow businesses to create exact copies of their data centers. If a disaster strikes, this copied version can be used to maintain essential functions while the problem is solved. As a result, SMBs can maintain high levels of availability.

Virtualization is also extremely useful for disaster recovery testing, as tests can be run in the virtual environment instead of in your business’s main system.

Mobile communication and collaboration systems

When a disaster strikes, it’s critical that your team members remain in contact. By maintaining communication through mobile devices or social media platforms, your team can coordinate its disaster recovery efforts and minimize the amount of downtime that will occur without having to be in the same place at the same time.

With good remote communication and collaboration systems in place, your business can mobilize more quickly and launch a coordinated effort to mitigate the damage.

Uninterruptible power supplies

Disaster recovery solutions tend to focus strongly on software and data, but protecting business hardware is also an important consideration. For this reason, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can be a very useful tool in an emergency.

A UPS is a battery device that will provide temporary power and allow you to properly power down your hardware assets.

Monitoring solutions

Disaster recovery is often a race to keep downtime to a minimum. If you are forced to deal with a disaster involving your network, monitoring software that logs changes and unusual activity can help your team identify and quickly resolve the problem. In some cases, you may even be able to head the threat off before it develops into a full-blown disaster.

With proactive security monitoring, you can keep your business safe and keep your IT systems running more smoothly.

Ready for anything

Using these five tips, your business can begin to craft a basic plan for disaster recovery.

The more you can prepare now, the less likely your company will be to experience catastrophic failures when a disaster does occur.

 

Microsoft doesn’t back up your Office 365 files

Microsoft Office 365 opens up a whole new world of collaboration and document sharing for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). However, it doesn’t, of itself, provide sufficient backup to protect your critical data. 58% of SMB’s across the US aren’t prepared for data loss—an alarming statistic, given that 60% of SMB’s who lose data shut down within 6 months.
Below, we break down why backing up data is so important and why Microsoft Office 365 isn’t sufficient for your data protection needs.

What is backup?

When you back up data, you make a copy of the data or the data files. This can be a physical copy, such as copying files to a USB drive, or a virtual copy, such as a cloud-based program.
Backing up your data means, if original data is damaged, lost, or breached in any way, you still have access to the original files.

Why you should back up your data

In business, you should always prepare for the unexpected. You need to minimize downtime and protect your business activity. That’s where backup comes in.
A data backup strategy is critical to any SMB’s disaster recovery plan. Without backing up data, you risk:

Loss of productivity and falling behind on timelines

Whenever you lose files or data, employees can’t get their work done. This may mean wasted time for you and your employees. It could also mean disappointing customers who are relying on you to complete a job.

Profit losses

if you’re spending more time rebuilding, repairing, or locating lost files, you’re not moving your business forward. Backing up data keeps your business moving in the right direction.

Damage to your brand and reputation

This is especially worrying if you lose files because of a data or security breach. When customers lose faith in you, it’s difficult to earn this trust back—especially as an SMB. Show you take both your customers and your business seriously by backing up your data.

Costly downtime and wasted resources

Smaller businesses struggle to recover from prolonged downtime, which all too often leads to wasted resources. Backup systems prevent or mitigate this lost time.
Don’t waste time redoing work and hunting down files for an audit. Get a proper backup strategy now.

Why Office 365 is insufficient for your backup needs

While many of us assume that Microsoft Office 365 protects and backs up our data, this is not strictly true.
There’s a big difference between the responsibility we have for properly backing up and securing our data and the responsibility held by Microsoft. Although the data protection policies for Microsoft Office 365 are more thorough than earlier policies, Microsoft doesn’t guarantee quick data retrieval—or complete data recovery.
By relying entirely on Office 365, there’s a real risk you won’t recover all of your data and that you’ll still experience lengthy downtime.
Cloud-based computing is safe, but that doesn’t mean it’s infallible.

Why you need a specific Office 365 backup solution

When you’re using Office 365, you’re likely sending, amending, and creating documents all the time. You need a comprehensive, reliable, and efficient way to back up all this changing data before it’s put at risk on the cloud.
What’s more, if one file in your Office 365 suite is compromised through, for example, a security breach or human error, it may affect multiple files across your business.
Having a separate backup system, completely removed from Office 365, is the best way to select the files you want to replace and ensure you never lose more files than necessary.

5 ways Veeam backup boosts your overall cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a big topic in every industry due to the increase in threats and the escalating costs of recovering from a breach. If you can protect every device on your network, you’re lucky.

However, an even smarter strategy is to focus on following best practices for protecting your data, regardless of where it resides.

Veeam backup in the cloud provides an exceptionally strong backup and restoration capability.

Backup is critical for cybersecurity

Threat prevention is a valuable part of a cybersecurity strategy. On the other hand, in today’s security environment, many threats come from places that are difficult to control.

For example, research shows that 90-95 percent of cyberattacks start with a phishing email. Educating employees on the threats that may appear in their email inbox is a good first step, but hackers are very clever and many employees can be fooled.

In addition, all organizations are vulnerable, including schools and educational organizations. For example, the Department of Education issued a warning letter to schools based on several successful attempts to extort money from school districts. The personal information schools store in their records make them a prime target.

Surviving a cyberattack by using strong backup and recovery procedures becomes even more important as hackers get better at what they do.

How Veeam backup makes a difference

The Veeam software is unique in that the company developed it in the era of the cloud. This allowed the company to create a backup process that easily outperforms legacy backup software.

In fact, the International Data Corporation (IDC) market share numbers for 2017 show that Veeam leads the industry in terms of market share growth.

Here are 5 ways that Veeam backups boost your cybersecurity.

Lightning fast recovery

Provides hyper availability.

Data loss avoidance

Streamlines disaster recovery.

Verified recoverability

Guaranteed recovery of every file, application and virtual server

Leveraged data

Includes safe deployment with production-style testing

Complete transparency

Ongoing monitoring that provides alerts before operational impact

The ISG Technology and Veeam partnership

ISG Technology established Platinum status agreements for both the Veeam Cloud and Service Provider Program and the Veeam Reseller Program. According to ISG Chief Revenue Officer, Jon Bierman “The partnership goes beyond strengthening our technical team. Our sales and customer-facing teams will also be better equipped to serve our customers as we increase our alignment with Veeam.”

The partnerships allow ISG Technology to provide managed cloud backup services that take full advantage of the Veeam backup technology. For many organizations, online backup services are a cost-effective insurance policy.

With the Veeam technology, we can effectively provide backup as a service both on and offsite.

Final Thoughts

In today’s environment, organizations face several data challenges:

  • They need to gather information and offer user-friendly tools to use it
  • They need to ensure that the data is always available for internal and external users
  • They need to protect the data from cyberattacks
  • They need to ensure quick restoration of data when any type of disruption occurs

Veeam backup meets the need for keeping data available and restoring it quickly and accurately.

In addition, organizations that take advantage of Veeam technology through a managed service provider can have the same high level of capability without the capital outlay required to develop cloud backup capabilities.

Data Madness: Exploring the reliability of in-house data vs. cloud servers

Much is made today about choosing the right kind of data storage. When you’re running a team, the last thing you want is for some crucial information to go missing. Such a setback can be disastrous, especially if the data lost was from a survey or customer response. In addition, you have the added anxiety of only hoping the data was lost, not stolen.

As data madness continues, we’re exploring the most secure methods to backup essential data. In today’s article, we’re putting the two most popular solutions under a microscope: in-house servers and cloud data storage. For many companies, success literally hinges on data security. Know the best method and keep your organization running.

How to keep in-house servers running effectively
The longer a server is in operation, the more likely it is to break down. A Statista report found that only 5 percent of servers broke after the first year. By the fourth year, that number had more than doubled. By year seven, nearly 20 percent of servers failed. While the likelihood of a break is still relatively low after seven years, organizations are clearly taking a huge risk. Executives at this hypothetical company might as well tell their employees that there is only an 80 percent chance for productivity each day.

Servers should be continually replaced and upgraded to be effective at securely housing data. However, age is not the only factor that can cause a server to malfunction. RocketIT stressed the need to continuously upgrade server software to keep it protected and compatible with modern systems.

Since servers are gold mines of confidential data, they are the prime targets for any malicious hacker. Keeping servers up to date not only keeps them running smoothly, it also reduces the risk of viruses and malware being able to infiltrate the hardware.

Lastly, if your business opts for servers then it needs a dedicated, maintained space in which to house them. According to Serverscheck, the ideal server room temperature is between 64-80 degrees Fahrenheit with no more than 60 percent humidity. Servers work best with constant conditions so any change could impact device functionality. In addition, if there is a flood or water leakage in the room, then the organization is at serious risk of data loss.

Servers need dedicated, environmentally-controlled space in order to function at peak levels. Servers need dedicated, environmentally-controlled space in order to function at peak levels.

Choosing the right professional cloud services provider
If your company instead opts for a cloud service provider, it must choose the right provider. There are currently numerous options in the field, with Amazon and Microsoft standing out as the dominant players.

Many cloud service providers use physical servers themselves. Essentially, they handle all the maintenance, storage and cybersecurity responsibilities and charge clients for the operations. While some servers, like Cisco in a recent fiasco, have lost client data, the problem has so far been a rare occurrence, according to The Register.

However, there is another side to cloud data. It can keep existing even when the order is given for deletion, as some celebrities learned in an unfortunate way, according to Wired. If an organization is going to store data through a cloud provider, they should be very careful if and when additional backups are made. Data that survives its intended expiration can be dangerous, especially if the parent company has no idea it exists.

And the most secure data storage method is…
Oxford Dictionaries chronicled the phrase “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” as a way of summarizing that you need to choose only one option. With data storage – you can eat as much of your cake as you want, while still having an infinite supply left over. For companies serious about safeguarding data, the best option is simply both.

Backing up data to multiple sources is one of the best ways to ensure that it is never accidently deleted. Just be sure that every copy is secure, to keep classified information out of malicious hands.

Storing data in multiple sites ensures that it lasts longer. Storing data in multiple sites ensures that it lasts longer.

Top things to consider in a colocation site

More data is being generated, collected and analyzed than ever before. Data storage options are also becoming major centerpieces for business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. As time progresses, it will be significantly more difficult for in-house IT to manage it all. Colocation has become an answer for organizations to achieve security, easy access and ample data storage alongside optimal uptime levels. Let's take a look at the top considerations in a colocation site:

1. Location

Where you decide to colocate is a major decision. Kansas City Business Journal contributor Dan Kurtz suggested choosing a facility close to your company's headquarters or near the majority of your employees. Having a colo facility in close proximity allows leaders to go check on their systems and manage them appropriately. It will also help provide the connectivity and latency that users require. The facility should also be in a place that is protected from severe weather events and disperses water away. Details like these will enable organizations to avoid disaster and drive continuous operations.

The facility's location could impact your decision.The facility's location could impact your decision.

2. Security

Your colocation site should give you peace of mind that your data is protected. Data Center Journal noted that there should be multiple levels of security externally as well as internally. This could include monitoring systems, physical barriers and layered security zones. Keycard access, staffed checkpoints and alarm systems should all be standard features. Guards can constantly monitor visitor access and ensure that no unauthorized personnel are able to access your hardware or data. Ask what types of safeguards are in place as well as what Tier compliance the site has. These considerations could make a big difference in where you decide to colocate and what vendor you choose.

"Compare vendor prices to quote comparable facilities and support services."

3. Pricing

The cost associated with colocation services can be a major factor in your decision. TechTarget contributor Julius Neudorfer noted that while this shouldn't be the crux of your choice, you should compare vendor prices to quote comparable facilities and support services. The amount of power and cooling required will play a big part in your price, and each provider will have its own formula for supplying these utilities. Carefully consider your options based on the solutions provided, history of success and industry costs. These factors will help narrow down your options to the best colocation facility for your requirements.

As data becomes more of a priority for businesses, it will be important to store, manage and protect this asset effectively. It's often time-consuming and expensive to build and manage a data center on your own, but with colocation, you can have a data center without all the cost. The facility itself is governed by the provider, while you maintain your hardware. It will be important to look at the facility's location, security capabilities and service pricing compared to other vendors to guide you to the best solution. For more information on choosing a colocation site, contact ISG today.

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We see hyper-convergence as a new IT infrastructure model that leverages the power of software-defined technology to tightly integrate end-to-end compute, network, storage, and management resources. The result is quicker deployment, faster response to business demands, simplified administration, and reduced operating costs. See how you can:

  • Move faster
  • Respond to opportunities faster
  • Launch initiatives faster
  • Produce results faster

Storage Area Networks

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