Affordable Disaster Recovery for SMBs Within Reach

SMBs have the same disaster recovery issues as bigger companies but not the same resources. Fortunately, there are some affordable solutions.

When it comes to disaster recovery and business continuity planning, small and midsize businesses dont get to slide because of their size.

However, many of the technologies designed for disaster recovery and remote-data protection are geared toward larger companies with big budgets and high-speed WAN links between sites. For SMBs, which often rely on broadband Internet service and have razor-thin budgets, these solutions are out of reach.

Luckily for SMBs, there are a handful of services that can affordably protect their data and help them recover it when bad things happen.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read how IT managers are using disaster recovery technology in new ways.

One such service has been a lifesaver for Al Zaccario, IT director for New Castle Hotels & Resorts, based in Shelton, Conn. Zaccario alone provides IT support to his companys 18 hotel properties, so being on-site to deal with data problems—whether resulting from user error, hardware failure, or natural or unnatural disaster—is not always possible.

From his office in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., Zaccario can use LiveVault Corp.s InSync service to make sure his clients—spread out across the northeastern United States and Canada—are backing up their data regularly, and he can restore their data when problems arise.

These capabilities are especially helpful in the hospitality industry, where its common for many people to share a single computer—increasing the chances for accidents.

Indeed, Zaccario has more than once seen hotel payroll files corrupted or even deleted. In the past, hotel managers would have had to re-create such files from scratch, a tedious process that can take several hours. Using LiveVaults InSync, said Zaccario, files can be restored in a matter of minutes.

With the InSync service, backup data is stored at LiveVaults off-site facility. At the beginning of this year, Zaccario upgraded to LiveVaults InControl solution, which allows backup data from all of the hotels to be centralized at New Castles data center in Tarrytown, N.Y.

InSync cost New Castle $300 to $700 per system per month, said Zaccario. The license for InControl starts at $25,000, but there are no monthly service fees.

For many SMBs, the only safety net built into their IT infrastructure is standard tape backups. When these systems fail, some IT managers are lucky to get a second chance by bringing in a data recovery specialist.

A month and a half ago, someone broke into Olsson Associates data center and deleted the data partitions on the primary file server, leaving Senior Systems Administrator Chad TerMaat to pick up the pieces. After analyzing tape backups for the NetWare-based file server, which held roughly 1TB of data and e-mail for 225 employees at that site, TerMaat found that the last valid backup he could restore would have been missing as much as three business days worth of data.

A company bigger than Olsson might have had systems in place—including clustering, remote data replication, mirroring, snapshots and continuous data protection—that would have prevented a problem in the first place. For many SMBs, however, the software and hardware needed to implement such systems are simply too expensive.

Next Page: Finding the data recovery service that fits.