Resilient Companies Move Employees To The Cloud –

Resilient Companies Move Employees To The Cloud

The threat of a catastrophic “Black Swan” occurrence haunts many businesses every year as the Atlantic hurricane season approaches. Black Swan events are a persistent threat in Florida, where coastal storms disturb numerous neighborhoods. If essential data is lost or corrupted, this risk is magnified for firms that rely on online data storage. But black swan events aren’t restricted to Florida or large-scale disruptions like hurricanes. Black swan events are disruptive occurrences that occur unexpectedly, have huge consequences, and are typically wrongly justified in retrospect. The word comes from an old proverb that assumed black swans didn’t exist until they were discovered in the wild. Consider this case:

“We often associate disasters with the World Trade Center attacks, Hurricane Katrina, or other mega-events. However, less visible disasters might have catastrophic effects on a firm. In February 1981, an electrical fire swept across the basement of the State Office Building in Binghamton, New York, igniting a transformer storing over a thousand gallons of toxic oil. The toxins contained dioxin and dibenzofuran, two of the most hazardous compounds ever manufactured. The smoke filled the 18-story structure immediately. The smoke from the transformer reached the building’s ventilation shafts, quickly spreading deadly soot everywhere. The building was so toxic that it took 13 years and nearly $47 million to clean it up. The building and its contents, including all paper records, computers, and personal goods of the employees, were destroyed by the fire. Many firms would be unrecoverable in such a case. ” -McGraw Hill’s Operations Due Diligence

What impact might a major hurricane or a localized disruptive event like a fire have on your business? Could you withstand such adversity? As businesses rely more on online data, the risk of data loss has increased, potentially causing economic disruption or even catastrophe. As the volume of online data continues to rise, the tactics employed to reduce these risks have evolved. Originally, disaster recovery (DR) was conceived as a method for restoring IT operations in the case of a disaster.

Disaster Recovery (DR) is a collection of policies and procedures that allow for the restoration of essential corporate data and IT infrastructure. DR was first seen as the duty of the IT department. To reduce the risk, frequent system backups and aggressive DR plans, including server cold start processes and data backups, were implemented.

The goal was to restore the infrastructure to the last backup point (at the time, typically on tape). When the facility’s electricity was restored, appropriate DR measures allowed the IT system to be rebooted. Or maybe the off-site backup storage facility was also flooded. In either situation, the facility’s operations could be temporarily halted, and data restoration could be compromised depending on where backups were stored.

Let’s forward the calendar a bit… As technology advanced, so did disaster recovery solutions, leading to new concepts and the need for a business continuity solution to mitigate risk. Shadow servers, scattered data locations, and high-speed bulk data transport with hyper connections are now considered IT domains. Data no longer had to be “recovered”, it was only connected in various locations to be accessed remotely. Because the servers never went down, Business Continuity reduced the risk of data loss and allowed businesses to recover quickly and efficiently from black swan events.

Business Continuity was initially defined as the ability to quickly recover from a Black Swan incident using an organization’s IT infrastructure. With today’s technology, data and applications are stored in remote “cloud” locations, reducing the danger of online data loss or corruption. Some argue that with highly networked, completely distributed technologies, the necessity for business continuity may be waning. That is far from the truth…

The risk was never just data loss, but loss of commercial competence. Some businesses can not accept any kind of downtime. Local governments and major logistic suppliers are among those affected. During Black Swan events, these businesses’ services and goods may be most needed. Other, less vital enterprises, whose activities could be disrupted for days or weeks but who face significant financial risk, may also be forced to shut down.

The cloud has totally removed business processing and data from the user. Cloud technology allows users to operate remotely, but it does not completely eliminate operational risk. It means people now outnumber computers as the critical road to survival. The firm is more likely to be disrupted if critical individuals aren’t prepared. They lack a facility designed to support activities during long-term disruptions. Particularly in Florida, where severe natural catastrophes like hurricanes can disrupt entire communities’ services, resilient businesses must prepare ahead of time for uninterrupted operations. The ability of a business to continue operating in the face of adversity is a measure of resilience.

Business Resiliency: elevates business continuity by bringing it under the operational management umbrella rather than just the IT department. People who can remotely operate vital systems are becoming an increasingly critical link in disaster recovery and business continuity planning. Staff can work from home or other distant locations, but this is not always an option and even when it is, firms often find themselves rushing to figure out who does what and “how can we get it done under these circumstances.” During black swan events like hurricanes or local disruptions like fires, many of the people who rely on business may not have power, internet, or even a phone to work from home. Because you can’t place people in the cloud, business resilience takes planning, training, and practice.

Because resilient firms include Black Swan reaction into ongoing operations, everyone knows how to respond efficiently and effectively when needed, and where to go to give that response. Business resiliency necessitates a specialized building intended to support both the people and the IT infrastructure. Business resilience needs proactive planning, integration of operating procedures into standard operating plans, and proactive practice to guarantee that when remote activities are required, the personnel are ready.

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