Advantages of Google Apps Cloud Services, Part 3: Simplified Disaster Recovery

by Paul on November 21, 2011

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Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are buzz-words that make a lot of people, a lot of money.

Why?

Because disaster recovery has been over complicated and involves regular duplication of data. And these both incur a cost.

The Cloud Computing model, as exemplified by Google Apps, reduces many complications associated with disaster recover.

In this article I will outline what exactly disaster recovery is, and the typical savings you stand to gain by adopting a cloud computing model, such a Google Apps Business Edition.

Just what is Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning?

Turn on the news any day of the week and it’s more  a surprise to not hear of a natural disaster or terrorist plot. Take the earthquakes in the Asia Pacific region as an example? If your business is based in a region that is at high risk of natural disaster, your business needs a backup and recovery strategy.

Period.

Business continuity planning is the process of putting in place measures and processes that mitigate the impact of various potential disasters. It usually doesn’t have to be complicated, but this depends on your business procedures.

After an initial period of risk assessment and systems reviews, a plan can be drawn up usually quite quickly and implementation usually is dependent on available budget. In a traditional IT infrastructure disaster recovery is usually quite costly, and as you’ll see later, with cloud computing many risks are inherently covered.

Here are some statistics which should, at the very least, alarm you regarding disaster recovery and its impact on businesses and their survival post-trauma:

  • According to an NFIB National Small Business Poll: man-made disasters affect 10% of small businesses, whereas natural disasters have impacted more than 30% of all small businesses in the USA. Hurricanes are by far the most destructive force causing power failure, flooding, customer loss, and the closure of many businesses.
  • According to a Touche Ross study: survival rate for businesses without a disaster recovery plan is less than 10%
  • According to analyst firm IDC: 70% of all successful attacks on computer networks are carried out by employees and insiders.

If those sorts of statistics don’t get you starting thinking about disasters and their impact on your business, I don’t know what will.

Examples of potential risks that call for a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan

A disaster that impacts your business can take many different forms from technical, to personal, to environmental.

Below I’ve listed some disaster scenarios you might have already thought of, and some you probably haven’t:

  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami, flooding, heavy snow!
  • Loss of key/critical personnel due to injury or death
  • Company-wide virus attack
  • Server and hardware crash – such as a simple hard disk crash on an email or file server
  • Sensitive data theft
  • Proximity to perceived highly-sensitive terrorist targets – access to premises may be restricted.
  • Fire – direct fire damage or water-damage from fire-prevention systems
  • Sabotage and network attacks
  • Internet/network failure

Disaster mitigation with Google Apps and the cloud computing model

Disaster recovery is all about information.

The greatest assets a business has are the skills offered by the employees and the information they have and share. When you lose any of that information or skills, your business is in trouble.

Cloud computing can’t help directly with the skills, though it does so with information sharing and collaboration. Google Apps, however, creates a shared experience, reducing risk from loss of any personnel for whatever reason.

As for information and data, Google Apps and the cloud computing model solves many of the problems inherent in a traditional IT systems. Data is stored in a remote location, by a service provider that builds in redundancy to the data storage model.

When a natural disaster threatens to wipe out your office, or prevent you access, your data is still immediately accessible from wherever you are.

Local disasters only prevent access to your local resources – i.e. only the machines that you use to access your core business data stored in the cloud!

With in-built redundancy, the days when a hardware crash means you lose all your information are gone. No longer will you lose critical data only to find that for the past month your tape backups haven’t been working!

If your systems are attacked with viruses or there is a serious network intrusion, sure you may not be able to use your desktop computers until security is restored, but you can go to any internet access point, any where in the world, and plug back in!

Host Like Toast can help you move to the Cloud

For all new Managed WordPress Hosting for Business accounts, we automatically set you up with a Google Apps Standard account for free.

Alternatively, we can perform a one-time setup for new domains for only £75. Migrations to Google Apps can be complex, but we have a lot of experience and are happy to discuss with you your options if you decide to make the switch.

Click the following link for further information on Google Apps.

To find out more about what Host Like Toast can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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