Data centers and business continuity: What CIOs should know

When considering DR solutions, CIOs cannot ignore colocation data centers, which meet strict definitions for emergency preparedness.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that disaster can strike at any moment. We live in a world full of risk. Today, businesses must consider how to respond to many kinds of adverse events, from cyber-attacks to natural disasters. The office of the Chief Information Officer plays an important role in creating and implementing a disaster recovery (DR) plan.

When considering DR solutions, CIOs cannot ignore colocation data centers, which meet strict definitions of emergency preparedness. In an uncertain world, a geographically-distinct DR site can mean the difference between keeping your business afloat and succumbing to disaster.

Risk management in the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic showed the world the importance of digital solutions. Across almost every industry, businesses had to shift their operation strategies. According to a PwC survey of CIOs, 84% of respondents said their organization plans to defer investments in new facilities. However, 64% of respondents said they plan to invest more in the resilience of their cybersecurity and privacy, while 60% said they will invest heavily in digital customer experience.

The pandemic highlighted new risks, such as scenarios where staff and customers are unable to physically enter buildings. But there are other types of disasters that can wreak even greater damage on company assets. For example, California experienced its first million-acre wildfire as a result of a lightning storm that sparked blazes for over three days. In the Southern region of the country, 25 named tropical storms threatened areas along the coast prior to the half-way point of hurricane season.

For businesses potentially in the path of hurricanes or out-of-control wildfires, a backup recovery site can help to ensure operations remain as normal as possible when disaster strikes.

Where should your backup data center be?

The geographic location of your backup data is a key consideration for your business continuity plan. Ultimately, the location you choose will depend on the unique needs of your business, but there are few questions you can ask yourself to make the process easier:

  • What are the biggest risks to our data?
  • Who needs access to our hardware?
  • How much space do we really need?

If your business is at risk of regional disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, it might make the most sense to choose a disaster recovery location in an entirely different region. For example, a business in Louisiana may not want to choose a DR location in Florida because the two locations could be impacted by the same storm. However, a natural disaster on the Gulf Coast is unlikely to impact a data center in the Pacific Northwest. Nevertheless, each situation is unique, and many companies do benefit from positioning their DR location in an adjacent region. You may also find that you can gain significant cost savings by choosing a backup site with access to affordable, renewable resources. For example, Sabey’s Quincy data center uses predictable hydropower to keep energy costs manageable.

When thinking about the geography of your business continuity plan, you’ll need to consider which stakeholders need physical access to your hardware. Will travel costs impact your maintenance needs or can you rely on remote hands services offered by your colocation data center?

Space needs are another consideration to make early on. If you anticipate that your server needs will grow in the coming years, a colocation data center may be the best option. You can start small and scale up as your business grows.

Rather than putting up significant capital to build your own backup facility, you can pay only for the space you need in a secure colocation data center and expand your footprint as needed. Compared with building your own, a colocation DR site usually costs less while providing higher quality services. In addition, you can benefit from remote hands capabilities as needed.

In an uncertain world, data centers provide peace of mind

A strategically-located disaster recovery data center site can keep your business running smoothly in the face of disaster. Knowing your data is safe and your digital services are protected will provide you with the peace of mind to overcome any unexpected crisis.

Is your business protected against the costs of an emergency? With the right data center infrastructure, you can keep your business connected to your customers. Get your free copy of our e-book to learn more about how colocation data centers support business continuity and disaster recovery.

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