Businesses are more dependent than ever on the tools of technology.
Companies often communicate electronically with customers, partners, suppliers, and even their own employees. Increasingly, they store valuable information in computer systems rather than in paper-stuffed file cabinets.
To survive and prosper, businesses need more than good communications and computing systems in place. They need good business continuity and disaster recovery, or BCDR, plans. And to implement the plans in timely fashion, they access to the right equipment and services.
'Protecting data is simply good business. It’s a good way to take care of your customers.'
Business-survival data suggest that to survive for the longer term, most companies probably would need to keep essential functions running during or immediately after a natural or man-caused disaster.
After a serious disruption, companies also need the capability to return to normal business activity in a relatively short time – ideally, within a period of time determined in advance planning, not on the run.
High-tech equipment that helps businesses communicate and create, move and store data are no longer are luxuries.
SDN is a premier regional provider of broadband connectivity and related networking services for businesses, organizations and institutions. Putnam specializes in equipment based on customers’ premises. He is among the experts at SDN who can help businesses plan for the predictable and unpredictable threats that confront businesses in the Sioux Falls area.
Businesses should regularly assess the risks they face. They also should figure out, in advance, how long they could survive in scaled-down or shut-down mode as well as build recovery strategies around their findings.
In the Upper Midwest, threats include weather-related challenges:
- Ice storms
Some threats that are more difficult to predict but are also potentially devastating include:
- Accidental fiber or cable cuts
- Computer sabotage
Companies might not like budgeting for all the what-if scenarios related to disaster planning because there is no immediate return on investment. However, implementing a backup strategy is cheaper than going out of business because of unnecessary delays in conducting commerce.
Putnam and other experts at SDN can help businesses in multiple ways.
- They will consult with clients to help draft, review or update a plan.
- SDN also can provide products such as software and appliances that will allow a business to back up its data to a second location or to cloud storage.
The key is to back up data on an off-site location, Putnam says.
“The goal is to simply get the data out of the building and make sure the integrity of the data is in place in the offsite location,” Putnam says.
“Many of the business continuity solutions are inherent pieces of a virtualization and storage strategy. If you’re building out your data infrastructure to accommodate new virtualization systems, along with storage area networking, SDN can help you build in a disaster recovery and business continuity plan,” he says.
Business continuity and disaster recovery are separate but related concepts that should each be addressed.
- Business continuity refers to the process of ensuring that essential functions continue during or immediately after a disaster.
- Disaster recovery involves re-establishing normal business activity.
In addition to combatting possible problems, SDN can help businesses reduce risks. For example, technicians in SDN’s Network Surveillance Center remotely monitor clients’ networks 24 hours a day, watching for threats and problems. The company also can manage clients’ hardware, including network firewalls and routers, to help keep systems up to date and running.
Sometimes protecting data and a communications system is just a matter of common sense. Don’t place a server under a fire-protection sprinkler, for example, Putnam says.
“Protecting data is simply good business,” he says. “It’s a good way to take care of your customers.”
For more information on how SDN might be able to assist your organization, visit the SDN Commmunications website or call 800-247-1442.