The month of September marks National Preparedness Month. This month-long initiative encourages both families and businesses to “Be Ready” (www.ready.gov) and prepare for the worst types of disasters, be those natural or man-made. If you are a business owner, this is the perfect time to begin taking a serious look at your business, and evaluate just where things would stand if a disaster were to strike.
Here are a few good questions that you could ask yourself:
1) What would happen to my operations if a disaster were to strike my physical location? What types of business data would be lost? How would this impact myself, my customers, and my employees?
2) Have I put significant thought into disaster recovery or continuity planning for my business, should the worst happen?
3) I feel that I really do need to begin planning for disaster recovery for my business, but where do I start?
These are questions that we hear from clients all the time, and the good news is that it’s never too late to begin disaster recovery planning for your business! All of us here at Data Cave are highly experienced in this arena, and we can help guide you through this process of planning for the worst.
If you know that this process is something you need to engage in for your business, the following 2 steps will help to get you started:
1) Begin to take inventory of all the different types of “data” that your business collects and works with on a regular basis. It should include any information on your customers, tax and accounting information, and everything in between. As you are going through this process, ask yourself: “Out of all this data that my company has, which data can I absolutely NOT afford to lose?” We recently wrote a separate blog post about this very topic, that should help you even further.
2) Evaluate your business’ physical location. The goal here is to do an honest assessment of the structure itself, and determine exactly how secure it would be against several disasters such as fire, flooding, or a tornado. This process should help give you a more tangible view of just how your business location would fare should a disaster occur.
Going through these 2 different processes will help inform you on what your business’ most critical data includes, as well as give you knowledge on whether or not your main location is well suited to house that data. Once you know these pieces of information, the decision to move forward with a disaster recovery plan can be made much more easily.
National Preparedness Month serves as a great reminder to begin taking the steps to ensure that your business can survive any type of disaster, and all of us here at Data Cave are here to help you in any way we can, regardless of where you may be in this process. If you would like any further information, or to discuss this further, please leave a comment or Contact Us. We’d love to hear from you!
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Congratulations! You’ve been given the task of researching and finding a data center for your company’s IT equipment. Where do you even start?
Many of the people I talk to feel like Goldilocks. Don’t remember the story? Goldilocks breaks into the Bears’ house and tries different beds, chairs, and porridge. Two of the three were too… something. Hard or soft. Big or small. Hot or cold. She struggled until she found the bed (or chair or porridge) that was just right.
Location makes many IT decision makers feel like Goldilocks. This data center is too close, and my equipment is at risk. This data center is too far, and it will be tough to maintain my equipment. What is the location that is just right?
When making a location decision, ask yourself the following questions. Your answers will help you select an appropriate location and to determine your distance threshold.
- Will the equipment in the data center be focused on production or disaster recovery?
- Does your equipment require heavy management?
If your equipment is for disaster recovery, choose a data center at least 50 miles from your production site. I talk to many CIOs, network administrators, and IT professionals who struggle with this. It’s tough to imagine your babies (your equipment) so far from you and your attentive care, but I urge you not to be what some call a “server hugger.” If you need disaster recovery, it’s best to have geographic redundancy. By nature, disaster recovery is intended to protect you should your first set of equipment were to meet with unforeseen circumstances. If your data center is too close, your equipment will be at risk, and you’ll have defeated the purpose of having a disaster recovery site.
If your equipment is for production, choose a data center that is accessible for regular maintenance and meets your quality standards. For production servers, location is a less important criteria. It is more important to focus on choosing the highest quality data center that meets your needs.
If your equipment requires heavy management, you may believe that a close location is just right. But with options like remote hands and managed service providers, companies can reap the benefits of geographic redundancy for their high maintenance equipment. Using additional support for server maintenance allows your organization flexibility and the option to focus on other high priority items.
Selecting a data center location is not an easy task. Hopefully, after asking yourself these questions, you’ll have selected the geographic location that is just right for your data center.
Still looking for more guidance on how to choose a data center? Check out the following resources, or feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Data Center
- 7 Critical Things to Look for When Touring a Data Center
- Top 10 Tips for Disaster Recovery
- Why Columbus, Indiana is a Great Data Center Location
The start of a new year is a good time for reflection and for making the commitment to make your company the best it can be. With each year, a growing number of technological devices and applications integrate into businesses, subsequently leading CIOs to learn and make changes within their organization’s technology posture. With that being said, 2013 is the year of the cloud and big data. We anticipate these two concepts will drive technological growth in all organizations, and thus, CIO’s should take note.
Master the Cloud
According to Nina Buik, CMO of Connect, two of the hottest IT issues in 2013 are the cloud and virtualization. CIOs are embracing innovation, but they face the challenge of how to do so securely. While CIOs have recognized the importance of the cloud over the past few years, many have failed to securely manage it. As a burgeoning area, the cloud still presents many unknowns and should reside on a resolution list.
Frame the Cloud with Business Goals
Forbes identified the Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2013, and similarly they state that CIOs need to have a strategic plan in place when it comes to the cloud. They warn that “CIOs will segment themselves into two groups: IT leaders who focus solely on the tech aspects of cloud deployments, and business leaders who ensure that cloud projects are conceived and executed in the service of customers, business execution, and engagement.”
Collaboration with CEOs
Just as the cloud cannot fully exist without recognizing a company’s business framework, CIOs cannot effectively employ this technology without the support and collaboration of others in the C-suite. In 2013, CIOs should collaborate with the CEO and other C-suite members to make the change from a tech-centric plan to “broader vision for a sweeping business transformation of the entire enterprise.”
Ultimately, the benefits of cloud technology are abundant. CIO Insight also states that “management-consulting firm Navint found that 80% of enterprise cloud users believe it gives their organization a ‘competitive advantage.’” Incorporating the cloud is a simple change your company can make to stay competitive in today’s business environment.
It is tough to talk technology and business without mentioning the rapidly growing field of big data. CIO Insight states that “in a recent study from GigaSpaces, 80% of companies said Big Data is important to their business operations. Over four in 10 companies said it’s ‘mission critical.’”
IBM reported “90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few. This data is Big Data.”
Likewise, Forbes sees Big Data as “Big Opportunities.” Big Data involves increasing the scale and speed of analyzing data and “companies will fare much better if their CIOs eagerly and rapidly begin framing Big Data challenges and opportunities in terms of customers, opportunities, revenue, and business value.”
Protect Your Data
Is your Big Data protected? The beginning of a new year is also a good time to review your data backup and disaster recovery plan. DataCave provides assistance with creating a disaster recovery plan and offers disaster recovery services, along with offsite backup to ensure your data—big and small—is protected.
We all know that backups are important. But beyond just having backups, having a comprehensive validation and restoration strategy is paramount as well.
Case in point, Toy Story 2, which was accidentally deleted through an errant command by an administrator. But beyond that, the admins found that the backups were bad. Think about that for a second – they go to their backups, and find out they’re worthless. Nobody thought to check that stuff ahead of time. Only when they really needed them did they realize they weren’t going to work.
Luckily, someone had archived a backup copy on a computer at home, which ultimately kept the movie from going away forever. But the story is clear, the Popeil method of “set it and forget it” related to computer data backups isn’t sufficient.
Periodic restoration and checking of backups is essential to make sure you know you’ll have what you need when you need it.
Data Cave is a privately owned and operated fully redundant Midwest data center located in Columbus, Indiana convenient to Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati. Please contact us for more information at 866-514-2283.
Halloween 2011, New England. Mother Nature provided more tricks than treats when she dumped a massive amount of snow and ice. 1.8 billion homes and businesses were without power for over a week. A Symantec Disaster Preparedness Survey estimated that downtime costs $12,500 a day for small to medium sized businesses. Potentially, businesses in New England could have lost at least $87,000, if they weren’t prepared.
Data is quickly becoming one of the most valuable assets a company has, but many companies don’t take the time, effort and money to be prepared and to protect their data. If you are a business owner or rely on data for smooth operation of your business, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have an emergency or disaster preparedness plan? 66% of businesses don’t. (Ad Council)
- Do you think it’s important to recover data after a disaster? 71% think it is important.
- Do you have any remote data backup? Even though 71% think it’s important, only 31% take action to back up their data.
Too many businesses are falling victim to myopic vision and the ever popular “That could never happen to me.” Company executives are focused on revenue, but forget about their backup plans. This limited thinking can (and will) cost them a lot of time and money.
Luckily, hindsight is 20/20. Past disasters, like last Halloween, have painted prime examples of other companies.
- Honda (and other Japanese car manufacturers) halted their supply chains and manufacturing processes for months after the tsunami in 2011.
- American Express suffered great data and equipment losses in the September 11th attack of the World Trade Centers.
In fact, in 2011 the U.S. broke its record for the cost of natural disasters at a staggering 1 billion dollars.
The risks are real, and your data and equipment is important. So what can you do to prevent loss and continue operating in the case of a disaster?
- Use off-site backup
- Use disaster recovery
- Have business continuity services available
It is crucial to move your data somewhere else. Diversify your data’s location to minimize your risk. By doing this, you will create your own insurance policy and ensure that your valuable data is protected.
At Data Cave, we’ve made it our business to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. We strategically chose an Indiana location with a low risk of natural disasters. Plus, we purpose built our data center to protect against the most common Midwest disasters – storms.We don’t only offer your data a safe home but we also have the option to provide you with an office, should yours become inoperable.
Nowadays, your information, data, and technology are incredibly valuable. Using Data Cave to protect these is your best insurance policy.
Today’s businesses rely on electronic data, from simple customer information to complex server and network connectivity needs, and are one power surge away from serious data loss.
Even small to mid-sized businesses are vulnerable to an IT disaster – whether caused by a simple gas leak, an extended power outage, a hacker or virus attacking a server, or serious natural disasters such as devastating tornadoes, floods, ice storms and fires. Any one of these events can destroy an organization’s data, their software applications and connection to the internet – leading to complete server loss or worse.
An IT disaster can cripple your business and most businesses aren’t prepared to respond. A study by the Info-Tech Research Group, found that nearly 60 percent of small to mid-sized North American businesses lack an IT disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery center such as Data Cave can provide you services that will protect your data and make recovery quicker and more efficient. Midwest data centers can be particularly appealing to businesses looking for a disaster recovery center. Since Data Cave is located in rural Indiana, land, power and operating costs are substantially less than data centers located on the east and west coast. This allows us to pass on savings to customers.
An extended period of downtime can cost you big time — in lost revenues, lost credibility and ultimately, lost clients.
At Data Cave, we’ve just published a whitepaper entitled, “Top Ten Tips for IT Disaster Recovery Planning.” Check it out and learn the steps you need to take to protect your IT assets.
Here we are at the beginning of March. This winter has been the most mild I can recall in Indiana history. I didn’t even shovel snow once this season.
On Feb 29th, the high temperature at Data Cave was 66 degrees. That warm spell was kicked off with two lines of thunderstorms that came during a 12 hour period, which created tornado and thunderstorm warnings in Southern Indiana and Northwestern Kentucky.
Three days later, on Fri Mar 2nd, most of Indiana is under a severe weather alert. Northern Kentucky, including Louisville, is a 6/6 on the tornado probability scale. There are reports that a tornado touched down in Southern Indiana near Henryville as well. The red patches on the radar overwhelm everything else.
If there’s one thing that’s evident about midwest weather, it’s that the thunderstorms are becoming more and more violent. Today’s line was the first of the year, and a reminder and wakeup call for just how powerful mother nature can be. Storms are predicted again Tuesday of next week. It’s going to be a busy season.
With all of this in mind, it’s the perfect time to be thinking: is your data center prepared? Any halfway decent facility will be prepared for power outages. But is yours protected from lightning strikes? Transient surges? Tornados?
What about your office building? Are your records properly backed up off site? Is that facility far enough away to be safe if something major happens to your primary site?
These are the questions you should be asking, and reasking, at least every year. The beginning of storm season is the perfect time to revisit it.
Let us help you build a solid disaster recovery plan.