When we talk about Disaster Recovery it’s tempting to think about the term ‘disaster’ as a fire, flood or some other highly unlikely event. IT disasters are far broader and more frequent, as SMEs are becoming increasingly at risk from cybercrime including ransomware, phishing attacks and viruses. Alarmingly, according to analyst firm IDC, about 70% of all successful attacks on computer networks were carried out by employees and insiders. In addition, systems can easily fail because of a simple hardware failure or even a power cut.
As a business grows, there will be an increasing need to invest in new IT infrastructure to remain secure. Just in the last year we have helped some of our customers who have suffered a critical systems failure or data loss as a result of an unexpected event.
What is Business Continuity?
Many IT support providers now talk about Business Continuity as opposed to Disaster Recovery. Business Continuity simply means ‘Is there a robust plan in place to continue working should a failure occur?’. Every business large or small needs to have a business continuity plan in place to minimise losses suffered in the event of a disaster.
The questions a business owner needs to ask are:
How critical is IT to the day to day running of the business?
By looking at how the business operates, how you serve your customers and what information is needed to achieve your objectives, you can quickly ascertain the importance of data. Examine the impact of a full or partial data loss to your employees, suppliers and customers.
How long can the business run without access to critical systems?
Then consider how long the business can run successfully without significantly compromising customer service without access to IT systems. How many minutes or hours would need to pass by before the situation become critical. For example, when British Airways suffered a global IT crash back in May, the issue started to hit the news headlines in minutes.
What is the real cost of down time?
Without access to IT systems, a business will start to lose productivity as employees are not able to carry out their day to day tasks. Therefore, it is possible to calculate the cost of downtime with a simple formula based on the hourly rate of each employee affected by the disruption. However, the true cost goes beyond this. The more difficult costs to quantify are those hidden external factors, for example loss of potential sales, impact of negative PR, customer and supplier relationships etc.
Calculating your Recovery Time Objective
Every small business needs a robust business continuity plan in place to mitigate against financial losses during data disaster. Ultimately when choosing an IT backup and disaster recovery solution, the decision will depend on how critical it is for your business to be back up and running following a disaster. This is described as your Recovery Time Objective (RTO).
To calculate the RTO for your business, consider the following questions;
- Operationally how much does it cost for your systems to be down?
- How does it affect your employees?
- What is the financial impact on your organisation? Not only for the short term, but also consider the long-term impact on your brand reputation.
We partner with business continuity solutions provider Datto, who offer a useful quick online tool to help you calculate your RTO – tools.datto.com/rto
Once you have calculated this figure per minute, you will know the true cost of downtime for your business and the level of investment you are willing to make to minimise the impact of a cyber-attack or disaster situation.
Business Continuity Solutions From M2 Computing
M2 Cloud Backup
The M2 Cloud Backup service provides specialist, expert disaster recovery and business continuity with cutting-edge, military-grade 448-bit encryption. Your data is hosted in UK-based data centres for complete security, resiliency and compliance. This solution is calculated on cost per GB stored per month, so you only pay for the storage you use. This also provides economies of scale with the ability to grow with your business needs.
Datto SIRIS from M2
If your business heavily relies on up to the minute data to operate, then you will require a higher performance solution with minimal recovery time. Datto is the market leader for fully integrated business continuity solutions. The Datto SIRIS provides full server imaging with snapshot intervals as frequently as every 5 minutes.
With secure local virtualisation solutions, like Datto Siris, if you experience data loss, your entire infrastructure is virtualized instantly, empowering you to continue your business operations without losing any data and incurring minimal downtime. There is the cost of a physical appliance and then an ongoing service fee which includes an allocation of cloud data. Once this is exceeded there is an additional charge per Terabyte.
Speak to a member of our team on 01293 871971 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to organise an assessment of your current business continuity plan.