By the DynaSis Team
In looking at disaster recovery options, we recently came across an interesting article on “future proofing a colocated data center.” It offers suggestions for how companies can make the right choice when hiring another company to “colocate” their data (replicate it to a second location). It focuses on companies that are moving away from maintaining their own data centers, and it’s an interesting read.
It made us think about the specific questions business leaders should ask an IT service provider regarding off-site data storage, not only for backup but also for disaster recovery. Increasingly, business decision makers are realizing that creating and storing physical backups, whether onsite or offsite, is a tedious task and often not the most practical choice. Especially in the case of a true disaster, like the tornados that swept through the south last week, being able to access business data quickly, if not immediately, rather than going through an arduous restore process with new equipment, can truly be a business lifesaver.
Today, let’s consider three top issues that business leaders should never take for granted when purchasing hosted disaster recovery services—and yet, they often do.
Availability: Does the provider own or lease data center space at a location that is geologically, politically and economically stable? Many business owners know that weather is a consideration, but what about data centers hosted outside the U.S., or even data centers in economically challenged areas within the U.S.? Before you purchase data storage and retrieval services, make sure you are comfortable with the location where your data will be stored.
Resource Continuity: Does the facility have multiple independent power sources, on-site power generation that is reliable and can run for a long time (preferably, a week or more), and redundant Internet connectivity options, such as both Internet service and telecommunications providers? If the data center relies on a local water source for cooling, is the water source stable, year-round? A data center is only as reliable as the resources that service it.
Stability: How about the stability of the company running the data center? Does the firm have a long history of stable operation, or has it recently changed hands? Does the firm that will manage your data stores (whether they own their data center or lease it) have in-house personnel working for you, or do they rely on independent contractors or offshore assistance?
Furthermore, are you comfortable with the escalation process if a disaster occurs, or if you have a question or problem? It does little good to have your data stored in a safe, available facility if you cannot get anyone to help you in the middle of the night. Remember that during a true disaster, the provider’s staff may be the only team that's available to keep your business in operation.
All of these details, and more, should be spelled out in your SLA—Service Level Agreement. Don’t take anyone’s word or assurance that a feature or function is guaranteed. Get it in writing.
Specializing in managed IT services and network security, Atlanta based DynaSis has been supporting small to midsized business for almost a quarter century. Among the services we provide are cloud computing through the DynaSis Business Cloud, 24 x 7 x 365 helpdesk support, and real-time monitoring enabling us to deal with “issues” before they become problems. For more information, please call DynaSis at 678.218.1769 or visit www.DynaSis.com.