Backup is NOT Disaster Preparedness

I just got done reading a survey report put out by Symantec on the topic of SMB disaster preparedness. It stated what I think most of already know, that something like 50% of small and midsize businesses (SMB) don’t have a disaster plan. This is a terrible state of affairs, and I applaud Symantec for highlighting the issue with the report.

Much less laudable was Symantec’s recommendation for how SMBs can address the gap. As I read, and then re-read the report to be sure, I realized that all the advice had to do with performing backups of data, and said nothing about doing real disaster recovery.

I’m not surprised, of course – as far as I know, SYMC sell backup software but do not offer any DR solutions. So a piece of marketing collateral like this survey report is bound to support what they sell.

But it’s a shame that they have used the word “disaster” throughout the document, as they have nothing to say or offer for true disaster recovery. Yes, having a backup of your data is a good thing. It is necessary but not sufficient, for being able to recover from a disaster.

What’s missing is the ability to spin up servers – complete replicas of the primary servers – in minutes, with all the data, and with the OS and application as well, at a separate, remote data center, that end-users can connect to and get back to work. That’s disaster preparedness. Business downtime is measured in minutes. With backups, downtime is hours or days while IT finds a new co-lo, servers, pipe, power, etc., rebuild the servers, and finally, restore from the backups. Ouch.

Until the advent of virtualization, continuous data protection, IaaS and DRaaS, DR solutions were largely out of reach for SMBs. DR used to be expensive and complex. So most SMBs settled for backup, called it “disaster preparedness” and hoped for the best.

But DR is affordable now. Cloud DR providers like nScaled are now able to build such cost efficient cloud data centers that they can provide true DR for less than the price of traditional backup systems.

The world has changed and SMBs should be aware that the old choices are no longer the only ones or the right ones.

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