SMBs Should Approach Disaster Recovery Differently


One question that has probably crossed the minds of SMB CEOs and IT managers would be the differences when planning for disasters compared with their enterprise counterparts. Is it necessary to adopt the same kind of expensive hardware and procedures often deployed by these larger companies? Or should small and medium businesses be taking a different approach to disaster recovery?


According to Michael Bilancieri, senior director of products of Marathon Technologies, the difference in size is an important consideration when it comes to implementing DR. Marathon deals with automated, high-availability solutions. Bilancieri brings to the table more than 10 years of experience in various engineering, management and support aspects of high availability and disaster recovery solutions.


In an e-mail, Bilancieri wrote:

While it may be worthwhile for enterprises to invest a large amount of money in data de-duplication that can store petabytes of beta on a single system, SMBs can implement a successful DR program on a much smaller scale -- and at a lower cost.

He elaborates:

The size of the IT staff and available resources will be a big consideration in determining which plan and software to implement. For some businesses, a DR plan may constitute a data/system backup plan for systems with a manual recovery process defined. This may be completely suitable for businesses without strict RPO and RTO.

RPO here stands for recovery point objectives while RTO is recovery time objectives.


In a nutshell, what it translates to is this: SMBs with an RTO that does not require an immediate and automated failover could reduce their cost by relying on less premium technologies. For example, these companies can use low-cost disk backup or snapshot solutions with the backup data manually transferred to remote locations.


If you are an SMB contemplating DR, there is good news for you. Bilancieri pointed out that business-continuity solutions for implementing DR did not meet the needs of small businesses until recently. This was due to inherent complexity that placed it beyond the capabilities of smaller IT departments, as well as the high costs of acquiring and paying for the various hardware components, software licenses, vendor services and requisite training to properly implement it.


The situation has changed however, and solutions sized for SMBs are on the market.


A recent paradigm shift to virtual server technologies also benefits small and mid-sized businesses. Bilancieri pointed out how virtualization is changing the landscape by reducing complexity and enhancing flexibility, which is also leading to a set of simpler, cheaper solutions for small businesses.


For more insights on disaster recovery, check out my interview with Bilancieri at "Best Practices for Creating Disaster Recovery Plans for Your SMB." Alternatively, you might also be interested in our "SMB Guide to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery."