“Compliance alone won’t save you from disaster,” says Beaumont, who is the CEO at iSquared. “Your IT infrastructure should not be built around meeting compliance targets – you need to be aiming much higher than that. It’s all about keeping the business going with minimal disruption, no matter what happens to your IT environment.”
One of the most important ways to avoid disruption, says Beaumont, is to ensure that backups are regular, reliable and tested – and that files and servers can be quickly recovered.
Beaumont says it’s not at all unusual for a client to spend millions on “all-singing, all-dancing” high-end hardware – only to suffer days or weeks of business interruption when that hardware fails. “Even 100% virtualised environments still depend on physical servers and physical storage arrays,” he says. “Recently it took one of our clients two weeks to rebuild their storage array after a multiple disk failure. They made their time-to-recovery target in terms of the compliance rules, but it still hurt the business.”
“Nobody admits to it in public,” he adds, “but hardware failure is very, very common. It all still depends on mechanical moving parts, and it’s a fact of life that those are not immortal. We see disk failure in our own arrays. You have to plan for that inevitability.”
When IT budgets are constrained, says Beaumont, protecting core business infrastructure and data should be the top priority. “Never mind the software updates and the website,” he says. “You need to build and maintain a best-practice architecture, particularly if your business is running a virtualised environment that needs high availabililty.”
“If you’re already committed to spending millions a year on licences for your existing backup solution, it’s always going to hurt to replace it with something new,” concludes Beaumont. “But the costs of data loss can be much, much higher. No CIO or CEO of a company running a virtualised environment can afford to be without the right backup and recovery solution.”