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Business Continuity and the Data Center

One of the most telling aspects of your business is how it does in a crisis. A business that’s ready for disaster and prepared to move forward in spite of difficulties is one that investors can bank on, and it’s one that’s likely to be around for decades to come.

When it comes to IT, there’s no area that’s more in need of disaster recovery and business continuity planning than the data center. The data center is in many ways the conduit through which data flow in your company. Plug the conduit and you’ve got a real problem. Customers can’t get the information they need, bills won’t get paid and, eventually, the whole thing will shut down.

So, how do you prepare for a disaster with your data center? And, how do you insure that, if disaster strikes, you’ll be able to offer the same services that you offer your business today?

It’s not an easy task, but there are some specific areas that you can think about starting with:

•    Identify the business units that your data center supports, as well as the operational objectives that are related to each business units.

•    Identify the assets in your data center, inventory them, and rank them based on how critical they are to the business objectives you support.

•    Identify threats that could pose a risk to your critical assets. Try to keep these in general terms. Rather than saying “fire,” say “catastrophic physical damage” which could include fire but also other causes such as explosions or earthquakes.

•    Identify vulnerabilities to your critical assets. There may be specific weaknesses already when it comes to some of your most business-critical assets.

•    Prioritize your risks. Focus your efforts on identifying credible disaster threats combined with vulnerabilities you already know exist.

•    Create strategies that will reduce the possibility of disaster while still giving you a decent Return On Investment.

These kinds of steps don’t come lightly. You need to have someone skilled in risk assessment working with you in this process. In addition, you need the technical expertise of someone who’s familiar with business continuity and disaster recovery for your specific technological needs.

Perhaps more important than all of that, however, is getting buy-in. You need buy-in from your IT staff if they’re going to follow through and do the things that need to be done to put your business continuity plan in place. You’ll need buy-in from upper management if you’re going to get the kind of funding you need to create business continuity solutions, and you’ll need the authority of their support to make the kids of structural and organizational changes that are often an integral part of the risk assessment and disaster recovery planning processes.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.