22 Mar What is Redundancy Really?
Some people think of redundancy as repeating yourself or saying the same thing more than once in different ways, but in disaster preparedness redundancy means a positive duplication of systems, servers, files, backups, power, etc. that ensures business continuity.
In business continuity, you need to have two or more of everything. When a natural or man-made hazard or disaster strikes, your redundant systems allow you to continue business operations.
If you ask a database developer, they’ll say data redundancy is bad. If you ask an information technologist working with disaster preparedness, they’ll say data redundancy is good. They are both right.
In a database, you share a single piece of information between forms, reports, etc. In disaster preparedness, you need more than one copy of each piece of data – every contact, e-mail, file – stored in vastly different locations.
Key Redundant Items
Redundancy applies to more than data, although that remains a central and key piece of a business’s preparedness. That means installing redundant systems of multiple types. While hazard preparation and mitigation may seem a costly investment, ignoring preparedness costs more. Each dollar spent in mitigation saves society $4 in disaster response and recovery. Preparing your business with positive redundancy means reducing your ultimate costs.
For example, your local electric company provides your main power source. To ensure business continuity, you should have a backup generator capable of powering your office or plant during an outage. These commonly use gas or propane as fuel, but some solar models exist.
Using multiple servers, including at least one remote server, protects your data and operations by providing separate storage locations for these. Housing a complete copy of company files on each server and automating backups means never losing a piece of data. You can purchase server space in locations with few natural disasters, such as Idaho, to improve the chance of uninterrupted service. Remote server hosts design their operations to provide 100 percent uptime and run on renewable energy, such as hydroelectricity. These data centers provide medium and large businesses collocation services to ensure continuity.
Backup your data fully every day. Business that can afford the bandwidth use synchronized, real-time backups. A less expensive alternative conducts backups every few hours or once per day. A major data loss spells disaster for the business. Many companies – 43 percent – that suffer a major data loss never re-open. About 29 percent that suffer a major data loss close with two years of the incident.
Many businesses without dedicated personnel trained in business continuity contract with a managed service provider. These firms provide Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), which includes remote servers, personnel, backups and restoration. The service provider guides the business through its redundancy needs and handles most items for it.
Don’t think of redundancy as a bad thing. Your redundant systems, servers, files and power source keep your business up and running no matter what happens.