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Interactive Business continuity and data centre: ‘back to back’

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Insights 3 minutes read

Business continuity and data centre: ‘back to back’

By situating your backup data centre adjacent to your business continuity suite, you considerably increase your business resiliency.
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Location matters

Traditionally business continuity suites and data centres have been completely separate entities, which came about because most organisations operate these functions through different parts of the business.

The IT department has typically taken care of the data centre, and the business risk or facilities management team looks after a secondary site for business continuity.

One of the major problems with this approach is that you don’t just have different teams internally looking after these two areas; you also potentially have different external service providers. That adds another level of complexity in a situation when response time and coordination are critical factors in being able to resume operations.

What we’ve been finding is that our customers are looking for a lot more resilience within their business continuity facilities, which can be achieved with a more holistic system that addresses the overall business operations of the organisation – which now fundamentally depend on connectivity and access to critical digital resources and data.

Advantages

By situating your backup data centre adjacent to your business continuity suite, there are some really significant advantages. Here’s a quick snapshot of just a few:

  1. Connectivity. With the data centre within metres of your business continuity suite, there is no longer the additional requirement for connectivity, which is another expense, another service provider and another potential point of failure.
  2. Testing. When you conduct your regular business continuity testing, you are now testing the whole system together, and you can work out if everything works, whether or not it is IT or business-related.

Decentralised working

This trend to combine business continuity and data centre facilities has only been strengthened due to the pandemic. Organisations now are increasingly looking to decentralise. That allows them to limit the risk to their number one critical resource – their people – by operating with physically separate teams. If one team is impacted, the other geographically separate team can operate as normal.

The data centre components in a business continuity facility have typically offered a subset of the resources required by the organisation – those which are absolutely critical to ongoing operations. However, having a permanent arrangement in place with two physically separate teams will work more effectively if you are providing the same level of connectivity and performance to both those teams. This requires a fully redundant, active-active data centre architecture in both primary and secondary sites.

The added complication is in relation to those staff who are working from home. Some of your team will need to operate from your primary or secondary sites due to specialised needs or higher-level security controls, but a proportion of your staff will be able to operate remotely. However, have you fully tested the capabilities of your remote workers to connect to the business en masse via your secondary site?

There’s a lot more to consider with regards to the impact on people, process and technology; but it’s clear that as a result of the pandemic the trend towards combined business continuity and data centre facilities has accelerated, and we are now seeing an emerging demand for something that’s more in line with a high availability serviced office. These trends are likely to only increase as times goes on and making the traditional way of managing data centres, business continuity and even office space a thing of the past.

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