Dealing with Challenges

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-06-08 Print this article Print

Dealing with Challenges

The problem, of course, is that all of this can require an enormous amount of work, and many businesses don't have the necessary bandwidth to do the planning and implementation. In addition, there may be critical functions that can't simply be copied to the cloud, such as the phone system. For this reason, companies such as Agility Recovery Solutions provide complete business continuity systems, including everything from preconfigured computers, a replacement phone system and even a temporary workspace so that a company can get back in business immediately.

According to Paul Sullivan, Agility vice president and general manager, the replacement facility can be located anywhere from the company parking lot (in case the disaster was only within the building, such as a fire) to another city (for an area-wide problem such as a hurricane or earthquake).

Sullivan noted that one typical response to business continuity-having people work from home-isn't always feasible. "The assumption that you can send people home to work isn't always true because some people may not be able to work from home," he pointed out. "Less than 30 percent of people have high-speed Internet access at home."

Using the cloud for business continuity also means you may have to set up your production infrastructure so that all your data is replicated to the cloud in real time, so you don't lose anything if a disaster happens. The way to accomplish this, according to Justin Giardina, CTO of iland Internet Solutions, depends on the infrastructure you have.

"It's easier for customers using virtualization," Giardina said, adding that virtualization makes it "easier to do a disaster recovery plan and backups to the cloud." He noted that moving data to the cloud is also fairly straightforward in a SAN (storage area network) environment by doing SAN-to-SAN replication.

Private cloud storage ensures that companies have access to their data and applications when they need them, according to Giardina. Virtualized desktops enable employees to use any computer, including kiosks, to access company data and do their work, he added.

Giardina and Agility's Sullivan agree that one critical issue for ensuring success with cloud-based business continuity is to make sure that there's enough bandwidth available to perform large replications of data. Giardina noted that a slow connection could take hours or days to synchronize data.

It's impossible to know when an event will bring about the need for business continuity recovery, so it's critical to be prepared to manage that recovery remotely and to be able to conduct work from a remote site or from diverse locations.

Contributing analyst Wayne Rash is a veteran technology writer and reviewer.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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