When it comes to downtime I'm not talking about your upcoming beach trip to Playa Del Carmen. Instead, I'm referring to what length of time is acceptable for a system in your organization to be down.  It could be anything from an enterprise application to data stored on your server to your vacuum. I personally have a high level of downtime tolerance for my vacuum, but it keeps on tick’n :)

Here are some areas to consider when deciding on a duplication/backup/recovery plan:

  1. Loss of Revenue - If you run a coffee house and 90% of your transactions are credit card, then you may want to make sure you have a reliable and/or backup internet. Maybe you run a manufacturing warehouse that heavily relies on its ERP system to fulfill orders. In this case, you might want to virtualize your server environment and have spare server(s) for load balancing.  Which applications or services must remain or have minimal down time?

  2. Alternatives during Blackout- The next item to consider is what alternative process will allow your business to continue operating during downtime. In our previous example with the coffee house, while the transaction rate for credit cards might be the dominant source, many of your customers may have cash. In the manufacturing environment it’s still very common to pass hard copies of the order, and you may be able to work off those until the system is online. Or maybe there are other areas of business that have been neglected and could be improved while your system is down. What alternatives can you use to remain productive or stay efficient in other areas?

  3. Cost to Replicate/Backup - Lastly, what will it cost to build out your environment for minimal downtime? If most of your services are cloud based then your cost could be minimal in comparison to your sales. If you generate $5,000/day, and it’s going to cost $5,000 to develop a virtualized environment to ensure uptime it’s probably worth the investment. Of those essential systems that are revenue generators, what is the cost to increase uptime?

Hope this helps you in your decision making process. Remember, in the event of a system disaster, take a deep breath and continue to move forward. Learn from your mistakes and plan better next time. If you need help thinking through this process, don't hesitate, contact me today!

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