Guest Column | March 25, 2013

4 Tips For Disaster-Proofing Your Customers' Businesses

Unitrends Paul Nashawaty

By Paul Nashawaty, director of product marketing and alliances, Unitrends

Are you confident that your customers’ backup and recovery solution will protect business-critical operations in a disaster? Are they confident?

When it comes to disaster recovery (DR) planning, many businesses start out well enough: They conduct initial testing of their backup and restoration approach. But then the downfall: They rely on this plan thereafter. Meanwhile, these same businesses continue to grow, and so do their data stores — leaving their original disaster recovery plan outdated and their operations at severe risk. 

Need proof? Consider these statistics: According to Gartner, 40% of all companies that experience a major disaster will go out of business if they cannot gain access to their data within 24 hours. McGladrey and Pullen estimate that 43% of companies that experience disasters never re-open and 29% close within two years. 

Become A Trusted DR Adviser

Whether a simple power outage or major earthquake, all types of disasters require a customized plan and accompanying technology to meet that plan’s objectives. As a business partner to your customers, it’s important to become familiar with the components that make up an effective disaster recovery plan, as well as the data protection solutions that drive it. Your customers are looking for you to advise them on all things disaster preparedness — from selecting the right technology for their business to determining how much storage they need to making sure they have the right components in their plan.

Don’t panic. Here are four key considerations to keep in mind when advising your customers on disaster preparedness:

  1. Be Ready for Anything — When it comes to disasters, all are not created equal. Real-world disaster recovery planning means considering various disaster scenarios, evaluating how disaster recovery processes may change as a result, and then putting customized plans in place for each scenario to ensure your customers’ data protection needs will be met.
  1. Meet Customer Objectives — To get the right protection for your customers’ environments, you need to know what data they want to protect and, in the event of a disaster, how quickly that information needs to be brought online. To determine this, work with your customers to specify a recovery point objective (RPO), or the age of data that needs to be recovered from backup storage for normal operations to resume in the event of disruption. It’s also important to identify customers’ recovery time objective (RTO), which indicates the timeframe their business can tolerate disruption of operations.
  1. Test, Test, & Re-test — Once you’ve helped your customers implement a disaster recovery strategy, it is imperative that they test, test and test again on a continuous basis. Why? As a business and its data grow, disaster recovery strategies must adapt to meet evolving business needs. Continuous testing helps companies identify areas within their disaster recovery strategy that need to change, and enables them to check for proper completion of backups and ensure that data is not becoming corrupted. You don’t want to find out after a disaster — and when it’s too late — that your disaster recovery plan was ineffective.
  1. Ensure Continuous Operations — Business continuity is a must for companies, and to achieve it, a failover strategy must be paired with a disaster recovery plan and effective data protection solutions. What does this mean? In simple terms, as restoration proceeds for primary systems, failover ensures secondary systems take over to provide seamless continuation of business operations.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Unplanned interruption of business operations can cause loss of customers and prospects. The strategy your customers choose to guard against these losses will vary based on three factors: how much data they need to protect, how long they can endure downtime of operations and their IT budget.

Pairing the considerations above with data protection solutions that scale with your customers’ business, leverage existing IT investments and offer complete protection across heterogeneous environments will propel your customers to disaster recovery success and your business to new heights.

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Paul Nashawaty is the director of product marketing and alliances at Unitrends. In this role, he is responsible for product messaging, marketing and go-to-market strategies, and oversees the company's strategic alliances. Contact Paul at