Data on Wheels

Mike-Osborne-Daisy

Comms Business Magazine talks to Mike Osborne, Managing Director Strategy & Business Continuity, at Daisy Group about the importance of businesses having a business continuity plan in place and what options are currently available in the market.

At Daisy we offer our customers the option of mobile data centres in the event that they suffer a loss of access to their data centre or computer room for any reason. We currently have five purpose-built mobile data centres within our fleet. These are 40ft trailers, all of which are kitted out with on-board power generation, air conditioning and uninterruptible power supplies. So effectively, they are data centres on wheels that can pull up outside a customer location and provide them with a physical backup solution.

These mobile facilities can be configured to meet the technology requirements specified by each customer. The trailers are ready for action at short notice, so that should the worst happen, they can be mobilised and on the road very quickly. An example of this is a hospital in Cumbria that has been affected by the recent flooding. We are currently on standby with one of our mobile data centres that has been configured for the detailed specifications of the hospital, so should their backup generators fail, the hospital is able to remain up and running.

The amount of data that businesses store nowadays can have a major impact on how quickly a business is able to recover. Often, customers take advantage of our integrated cloud backup and recovery service that protects all of their data and automates the process of moving the data off-site.

This means, there is immediately, a copy of the customer’s data stored within a tier III aligned Daisy data centre. So should their data centre or computer room go down, they are able to initiate the recovery of their data, from within our data centre, providing a resilient recovery solution.

I believe that the pressure on businesses to be “always on” has increased significantly over the last decade. 10 years ago, for a business to be able to recover from a power outage in a considerably short space of time, they would have had to duplicate everything from one data centre to another and pay for that communications link between the two. As you can imagine this duplication of infrastructure is extremely expensive, and something that only the larger firms could realistically afford.

However, with the cloud and the digital economy, there is an expectation that all businesses, regardless of size, should be operating around the clock and if you aren’t it is very easy for people to find out about it via social media. Now with developments in the industry, these disaster recovery and business continuity solutions have become much more accessible.

For the SMB market, there is a packaged service which incorporates both hardware and data recovery, along with help in business continuity planning.

Working with a competent provider, a customer will have access to cloud services and the virtual and physical recovery platforms to provide them with the ability to recover and run their systems following an outage.

Amongst the enterprise market, we have noticed a big uptake in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) because firms now realise that there is no longer a need to duplicate everything. There may be come business-critical operations that they still choose to duplicate for extra peace of mind, but ultimately they now tend to spend more on those critical systems, coupled with a more cost-effective DRaaS solution.
Looking at events in the last month alone, flooding in the north, knifings on the tube, and yet more large-scale data hacks – it is fair to say that we haven’t seen this scale of complex risk to day-to-day business for a number of years. It should be compelling enough to ensure that businesses have DR and BC plans in place. It is no longer purely linked to cyclical, environmental events.

One thing that is worse than not having a plan, is having a plan that is out of date. It is dangerous for a business to rest on its laurels, knowing that three years ago it developed a business continuity plan. People may leave, information becomes out of date and ultimately the plan becomes useless and the customer is lulled into a false sense of security.

It is important that businesses carry out regular health check exercises to ensure that the plan works and if not, any updates that need to be made are actioned.