The role of Cloud Services in disaster recovery

The role of Cloud Services in disaster recovery

David Wigley, Operations Director's second installment of the Insider Media's "Ask the Expert" this time he was asked: Can Cloud Services help businesses cope better when disasters strike?  

As protection costs money and might not be justifiable it is worth agreeing;

• How much data you can afford to lose

• How long can the business be without data or systems

This depends on the nature of your business, for instance; A law firm can’t afford to lose any data; a customer service operation can’t afford to be down for minutes; many businesses would suffer without email access for more than an hour…

On Direct experienced several disasters first hand during the past six months. Our building suffered repeated power losses lasting for hours at a time.

Our core service operations i.e. those that run the cloud services we provide to customers were completely unaffected. Indeed these operational services are so well protected and duplicated that they have never allowed a customer to be affected in spite of incidents.

But our head office was impacted – business functions such as sales and technical support were jeopardised.

Our disaster recovery planning had ascertained essential business functions such as technical support could be down for only minutes compared with marketing that could be down for a day.

So with no power in the building at 11:00am, the office full…what happened?

Losing power means losing internet access, so when our routers ‘failed over’ to stand-by 3G and connected us back to the cloud it allowed us to;

- Continue to receive emails via hosted Office 365

- Access documents hosted in SharePoint

- Retrieve backed up documents to local machines

- Access our hosted telephony solution and re-route in-bound calls to mobiles and home workers

After four hours power resumed, by which time we had relocated most customer critical staff to home; allowing them to pick up where they left off with full access to our cloud services.

So disaster struck – and, although it was disruptive, our customers were unaffected. Being in a serviced office the majority of the tenants business’s suffered. Especially when the same issue struck three more times.

It was the full adoption of enterprise-class Cloud Services that made the difference to us.


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