If you’re not already familiar with the term “Big Rock,” then you could read Dr. Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People”. Or, I could simply cut to the chase and let you know that a big rock is one of those really important, strategic initiatives that you must do, as it is critical to your business or personal success. However, in many cases, these things never get done because we’re too focused on the grains of sand – i.e., the small, non-important things that seem to absorb most of our time and attention.
I would categorise Business Continuity as one of these big rocks. The scope of Business Continuity is quite broad and can, for example, concern the continuing operation of a manufacturer who is dependent on a vital component or raw material from a single, vulnerable source. A good recent example of this is the suspension of the Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle’s production for two weeks due to a shortage of battery packs. In the context of this blog and related to Clovertec’s services, we’re using the term to describe data backups and the replication of an organisation’s IT systems to maintain business as usual, whatever the cause of disruption.
We often talk about disaster recovery in terms of catastrophic events like a fire or flood. Whilst these pose a real potential threat, it’s much more likely that hardware failure of ageing servers and network equipment cause the unavailability of IT systems. The latest threat to Business Continuity is ransomware. In February this year, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council were the target of a ransomware attack, resulting in complete loss of access to their systems. In this type of attack, having a fully replicated system in a virtual environment would mean that businesses could be up and running almost instantaneously.
If we accept that having a robust backup and disaster recovery system is important enough to be a big rock, the question is, how many small/medium businesses actually implement one? According to the Uptime Institute’s 2018 Global Data Centre Survey, 31% of businesses experienced downtime that caused severe damage. However, the report concludes that 80% of these could have been avoided, so we can draw the conclusion that most businesses do not have sufficient systems in place. In an SME with a £5M annual turnover, the impact of not having access to their customer data and applications could be £25K per day in lost revenue. The loss in confidence and trust of their customers and suppliers cannot easily be measured, but this must be factored in as a major business impacting issue.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle that SMEs face when considering a DR facility is cost. Having to invest large sums of capital expenditure to build and maintain a physically remote location, just in case something goes wrong, doesn’t often find its way on to the top of the priority list for many company executives. According to a 2019 study by Assurance and Clearview, 14% of businesses view Business Continuity as a “situation priority”, i.e. something that should be addressed either during or following a crisis.
With the innovation and economic viability of cloud-based facilities, the situation has moved on significantly. There are two main solution options for both backup as a service and disaster recovery as a service: a private cloud facility, such as Clovertec’s hosted infrastructure and a public cloud service, such as Microsoft’s Azure. In both cases, a replication of the environment and regular updates and backups of data, mean that there is a hot standby environment, ready to be accessed when needed.
From a financial perspective, both of these solutions mean that no capital expenditure or physical space is needed. They are both extremely secure from any physical or cyber-attacks, so much so that they satisfy the stringent requirements of the UK and US governments. Also, they are proactively monitored, supported and updated by Clovertec to an agreed service level, giving organisations peace of mind that their businesses are protected and ready to go, should the unthinkable happen.
Whatever your requirements for backup or disaster recovery, Clovertec can design the solution that best addresses them. Contact us at email@example.com or visit our website for more information: https://www.clovertec.co.uk/business-continuity/.