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Invest in Your Recovery Before Disaster Strikes

In the digital economy, business continuity is inextricably bound to technology. From retail and travel to finance and public sector, services being moved online and employees working remotely means businesses are more reliant on their digital infrastructure than ever before. While organizations can take steps to protect their digital services from incidents caused by user error, system failure, or cyber-attack, some events are beyond the control of any business. Extreme weather events, natural disasters, or regional power cuts can lead to downtime and loss of services.

Every minute of downtime could cause critical damage to the business, such as the loss of sensitive data and customer confidence. According to the Veeam Data Protection Report 2021, the vast majority (96%) of organizations in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) suffer unexpected outages and over one-third (36%) have experienced outages on more than a quarter of their servers in the past 12 months.

When such incidents occur, getting services and employees back online fast is of paramount importance. So, businesses must have a robust, well documented and tested plan with clear owners, roles and responsibilities, emergency contacts, and priority actions. As well as having a plan, businesses also need the technical capability to recover to their pre-incident state. This means recovering data, applications, and services fully, and doing so within a defined timeframe that minimizes impact on the bottom line. All of this amounts to a robust process businesses must go through to ensure they are fully prepared when disaster strikes from both a business continuity and technical recovery perspective.

Preparing your teams

The ability to anticipate and act is what separates those who succeed from those who fail. When it comes to preparing a business to recover from an unforeseen technology disaster, the ability to anticipate exactly what zero hour looks like and the next steps that need to be taken in that moment is vital. IT leaders must put themselves into that situation to understand how they should react, rather than wait for disaster to strike and find out how they do react. These realities can be incredibly different, so it’s important to simulate those events from A to Z before they happen.

Ultimately, the business is reliant on its data systems and infrastructure to fully recover its mission-critical applications within an adequate timescale. But before you get to this stage of recovery, you must prepare teams within the business who will take the key actions to initiate recovery. This can be broken down into stages depending on your organization’s needs. As a general rule, start by ensuring you have a full and up-to-date inventory of the applications and services currently deployed across the business. Once these are fully accounted for, think about prioritizing them in order of importance – aligned to the organization’s most critical functions. This is where you think about what applications you need to get back online first. For example, an online retailer may prioritize the recovery of its stocking and supply chain functions before getting its ecommerce platform back online. Whereas service-based businesses like solicitors and marketers may prioritize email and collaboration applications to enable communications across the company.

Once you understand what applications you need to bring back online first, you can think about putting together an action plan, which is written down, centrally stored, and backed up across at least two other forms of media, one off-site and one offline. These action plans need to be detailed and specific. They must also assume the worst. Assume that your lead sys-admin is on holiday or sick leave and his/her team need to restore data systems without their leadership. As well as key actions and instructions, the plan should detail contact numbers to reignite communication across the business. Who needs to be informed right away? Who will the IT team need to call to gain vital information? This must all be in the plan. Think about practicalities. Will a team of admins need to work through the night restoring servers in a data centre? What are they going to eat and will they need a place to sleep? The most detailed Disaster Recovery (DR) plans leave no stone unturned, including information from pizza delivery companies to taxi firms and hotels.

Automating recovery

As well as preparing a plan for recovery based on the critical business functions which must be restored first, organizations must ensure that their data systems are fully protected with Backup and DR across all forms of storage. Off-site and offline backups of data help to mitigate the effects of disastrous events. Veeam advocates the 3-2-1-1-0 backup rule. There should always be at least three copies of important data, on at least two different types of media, with at least one off-site, one offline, with zero unverified backups or backups completing without errors. Of course, backup and DR are solutions are inextricably linked but we shouldn’t conflate the two. DR refers to a set of initiatives and processes designed to ensure the survivability of data, regardless of the scope of a calamity or crisis, with a focus on resuming IT services as quickly as possible.

Using Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) by a third-party DR provider, organizations can automatically test, document and execute DR plans in as little as one-click, recovering everything from a single application to entire sites. Going back to the planning process, businesses can choose the best protection method based on the Service-Level-Agreement (SLA) they need. The fundamental question and objective behind the DR plan need to be: How quickly does the business need to recover? Whether that refers to getting mission-critical apps back online or fully recover data in its pre-incident form. With DRaaS, customers can take advantage of a fully managed, monitored and secure method for protecting critical data, all without needing to maintain an off-site repository. All-in-all, DR best practice combines a business-led and IT-centric strategy for ensuring business continuity across the business. One cannot work without the other and given the reliance of organizations on their digital infrastructure, they need a robust plan as well as Modern Data Protection solutions that fully protect the business.

By Beni Sia, Vice President of SEA and Korea at Veeam Software

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.