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High Availability - How To Deliver An Effective Strategy

Written on: Jul 23, 2019 10:30:00 AM

Written by: Alex Raben



Although disaster recovery is one of the biggest IT essentials, another way to counteract downtime is to deploy a comprehensive data platform from a single vendor.

It’s no secret that downtime is a killer of businesses, after all, Gartner has estimated that the average cost of downtime per minute is US$ 5,600 (£4,300) – and rising. However, despite of this, it appears that a large number of organisations lack an effective ‘high availability’ (HA) strategy.

Unplanned downtime is something that cyber-security practices are there to prevent, essentially protecting the business and enabling availability. As downtime can happen at any moment, an organisation and its cyber-security team should always be prepared for the worst, which is, unfortunately inevitable. Although disaster recovery is one of the biggest IT essentials, another way to counteract downtime is to deploy a comprehensive data platform from a single vendor.

Along with benefits such as higher IT productivity, infrastructure simplification, and condensed annual spending, single vendor solutions can also deliver quicker, more reliable backup operations, reduced downtime and increased productivity.

As a result of this, organisations can drive better business outcomes, achieving complete data protection while eliminating the associated risks of unplanned downtime.

Building the foundations

Fast-moving multi-cloud, hybrid IT environments need flexibility and security to deliver business agility and having an effective HA strategy goes hand-in-hand with the increasing need for data protection. Data protection and backup are critical for HA, as is using a platform with flexibility as well as versatile features, such as deduplication in cloud environments, and virtual infrastructure-friendly licensing policies.

Alongside this is the need for both flexibility and regulatory compliance. Enterprises need to rely on the ability to reduce any risk that may impact their data infrastructure, and flexibility not only assists with this, but also ensures that HA is possible. Different businesses will have a different set of requirements, and therefore having a solution in place that allows for in-built adaptability, as well as any combination of cloud storage choices, is beneficial. This can then help with businesses’ attempts to meet the requirements of GDPR, as enterprises are capable of adapting their solutions to fit the latest compliance needs.

Developing cyber-security that you can trust

There is unlikely to be an industry that isn’t aware of the increasing challenge of cyber-attacks, and the threat that they can pose to any organisation. It is key to stay on top of the current security methods and measures that are available to prevent downtime, such as data threat detection techniques that can highlight any unexpected irregularities in an environment.

Businesses need to be confident that all of the data they hold – including their customers’ – is kept secure at all times, and is restricted so that only those with permission have access. Having effective backup and disaster recovery solutions in place is part of this responsibility, but businesses also need to test their recovery and continuity strategies on a regular basis to ensure that when, not if, the time comes to use them, they know that they have an effective solution in place. These strategies should also be fully audited and able to encrypt data to increase the all-round security.

WannaCry, Petya and NotPetya caused endless challenges for businesses across multiple industries last year, and across over 150 countries. To assist businesses with keeping their data fully backed up, a single use platform approach can help to decrease the risk of data breaches in future, and thereby confirming a level of high availability for all data being stored.

Don’t let disaster recovery drop

More than 60 percent of companies currently lack a fully-formed disaster recovery plan that is available on record for all employees to refer to. This is a staggering amount, given that disaster recovery plans can be the difference between picking up from where you left off, and having to start from scratch.

The most effective plans will be those that provide a range of options to meet the business’ specific needs, such as having a trusted partner or using an off-site data recovery. But keeping these up to date is just as important as creating the plans in the first place – making sure that it can work effectively in a variety of scenarios will give you confidence that you can rely on it.

To develop and maintain a HA strategy involves understanding the environment that is in use, and the tools that are available to help manage this. HA can provide a wealth of benefits to those businesses that implement them effectively, as long as the effort is made to continually test the strategy repeatedly, and companies are willing to adapt the tools as necessary, to create the most suitable solution.

Contributed by Mark Jow, regional VP of EMEA at Commvault.

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