Eliminate Single Points of Failure: And Don’t Overlook the Cloud
Data protection is nothing less than business protection, and to be effective it must be as nearly invincible as possible. Yet even the most technically sophisticated organizations, those familiar with the fine points of data backup, can make a particularly dangerous mistake: not noticing a single point of failure. This means any significant part of a system that is without redundancy. If one major component ceases to function, it can set off a cascade of collapse and the system can stop cold.
With mechanical equipment, single-point vulnerability tends to be easy to see, understand and remedy. Failures such as a broken belt on a washing machine, an empty ink cartridge, or a flat bicycle tire may be minor, but something like the loss of a boat’s rudder or a malfunctioning fire extinguisher can have grave consequences. The shutdown of an entire IT system by a single point of failure risks comparable disaster.
It is imperative that you eliminate single points of failure via redundancy. Otherwise, you are open to major damage, even the loss of your business.
Today’s systems have fewer sites for single points of failure than in the past, and there are reliable and economical methods for providing redundancies. In addition, it is now common practice to implement alternatives using less sophisticated solutions that will do the job until the main system is back online. These products and methods may not be the equal of what they replace, but the company’s business can continue without interruption, even if not at peak performance.
Make an exhaustive list of critical points and their redundancies. No doubt you will find redundancy capabilities in place, but there may be points that are not covered, and it only takes one to bring you down.
Don’t forget the less-obvious elements. Your smaller applications can be easily dismissed as consequential, but their position in the overall system may be crucial. People can also be single points of failure, perhaps because of insufficient training or missing skills or too many responsibilities shouldered by too few staff. Sabotage is also a possibility.
Take into account the possibility of physical catastrophe. Fires and natural disasters and thieves can destroy your facility, but you can set up an offsite data solution that can keep your operation going under just about any circumstances. Keep in mind that your people need to know how to shift to the alternate site.
This brings us to a possible single point of failure that is both more common and less misunderstood than you might think: cloud computing.
What makes companies particularly susceptible to single-point failure of a cloud connection is that, since the cloud’s very existence is dedicated to providing redundancy, we tend to think of it as bulletproof. But while the cloud is the ultimate backup, it may be a single non-redundant conduit through which all your data and programs pass, and if it is cut, you are in serious trouble. But when you have additional systems in place of an alternate method of backing up your data, using your own equipment or other resources, Server Recovery, DraaS solutions are within your reach.
Our cloud backup options are designed with redundancy and layering on server recovery and high availability as key components, but not all solutions are. Some cloud vendors are less dependable than others, and some make it impossible to access your material without buying their add-on services and products. Some forbid you to use your own equipment for alternative backup. If your cloud provider throws up any of these impediments, it may be time to find another vendor. You may wish to consider a customized cloud solution.
Surveying your vulnerability to single points of failure can be challenging and time-consuming, but it is not something to be put off.
If you suspect your system may be hiding single points of failure, we can help you track them down. Take a look at our business continuity capabilities, and feel free to call us at 1.877.834.3684 or email email@example.com.
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