Businesses that considered their business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) processes as routine had their eyes opened in 2020 when the pandemic forced employees to work from home, information and applications into the cloud, and a new focus on protecting data stored on-premises. Still, companies had to plan for other types of situations that could disrupt their long- or short-term operations.
Joe Noonan, VP of Product Management for Backup at Kaseya, says managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) providing business continuity and disaster recovery services should talk through the answers to these questions to help their clients build or update their BCDR strategies:
- Where will users work?
- What data and applications will they need to access, how will they access them and what is the priority of each category?
- Where can recovery take place that satisfies user access needs?
- How much downtime and data loss can be sustained?
- How will they test their solution for completeness and performance?
- Where will employees resume work when the crisis or disaster ends?
Noonan comments, “Cloud disaster recovery solutions tend to be a good fit because the disaster recovery environment is accessible over the internet from geo-redundant locations that can survive a major regional outage. Additionally, the services are built with this process in mind, particularly with solutions to the challenge of getting the data back to the original – or new – location when it’s all over.”
He points out, however, that some workloads require a hybrid approach of both cloud and on-premises solutions. “Cloud continues to be popular given how it offloads expertise and sometimes manpower to the providers, but not all providers support all workloads or service levels,” Noonan says. “If the environment has workloads that are not a great fit for the cloud, and the expertise and budget are available, it can still be beneficial to use on-premises approaches to BCDR.”
A New Perspective on BCDR for 2021
As the pandemic and working from home continues, Noonan says it’s vital for businesses to address the speed of access “and the security of that access.”
“Therefore, businesses may find it beneficial to ensure their employees are well-trained to follow best practices and given tools that automate and simplify the security and network redundancy and performance enhancements made available to them,” Noonan says.
He stresses, however, that it’s important to help your clients continue their focus on a BCDR strategy that addresses situations beyond the current health crisis, such as a cyberattack, fire, hurricane tornado, or other natural disasters.
He also advises an impact analysis of each of the business’ applications on revenue, productivity, costs, and brand reputation. “Once categorized and prioritized, you can assess the budget and assign a formula for recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) requirements for each service.”
Advice for VARs and MSPs
In addition to a heavy focus on understanding the business impact downtime and inaccessible data will have on your clients’ businesses and the value the BCDR solutions you provide will deliver, Noonan also advises that VARs and MSPs remember, “Not all clients are alike, and some require flexibility.” Therefore, you need to be flexible with the solutions you provide. He adds, however, that it’s beneficial to standardize solutions to increase your business’ operational efficiency and profitability. “However, it’s important not to force standardization,” he says.
“Lastly,” Noonan says, “Consider if your organization has the means to help all of your customers through a disaster. If not, look for providers that can offload not just infrastructure and technology but also many other steps required to manage and execute disaster recovery strategies. This gives your MSP more continuity in BCDR execution.”