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Guest View: Lessons from the haze – How prepared are companies for the worst?

David Chee | Nov. 13, 2013
When I broach the topic of disaster recovery with business leaders, there is a lack of urgency as many feel that Singapore is still relatively safe as compared to our Asia counterparts such as Japan and Thailand, says David Chee, Country Head, Managed Services, Fujitsu Singapore.

When the haze drafted over Singapore in June this year, the acronym 'PSI' hardly rang a bell with the masses.  The situation however took a drastic turn when PSI levels hit a record high of 401, which saw a mad rush for overpriced N95 masks, air purifiers and calls for stop work orders.  The haze incident was once again a remainder that we should not take our geographic location for granted as it clearly shows how isolated incidents like this can catch Singapore off guard.

When I broach the topic of disaster recovery with business leaders, there is a lack of urgency as many feel that Singapore is still relatively safe as compared to our Asia counterparts such as Japan and Thailand. However what is more worrying is how a study conducted in 2012 revealed that 81 percent of organisations in Asia-Pacific, including Japan, are not confident they can achieve a full recovery of their data and systems in the event of a disaster, while 71 percent say they had lost data or experienced systems downtime in 2011.[1]

The importance of Disaster Recovery Plans (DRPs)

Occurring more often than physical natural disasters, hardware or system malfunctions and cyber attacks are the biggest concerns companies face. From database corruption to hardware failure, losing data goes beyond a matter of lost files. In today's information age where data is the core of any enterprise, what is at stake here could be a firm's competitive advantage, clients' trust or investors' confidence. Losing data means losing profit - 60% of companies that lose their data potentially go out of business within 6 months of the disaster.[2]

Companies can do their best to protect themselves, but in certain situations, the loss of data may be inevitable. This is when the survivability  of an entire business falls on the strength and efficiency of its Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP), which depends heavily on how well it has backed up its data, and how fast it can resume normal operations after a crisis.

With so much at stake, many companies have already jumped on the bandwagon and have DRPs in place. While the reliance of tape for backup may be gradually phasing out to more modern disk-based backup and recovery tools, only a small group of companies are looking to leverage the power of the cloud for their disaster recovery. According to a survey by Kroll Ontrack, only a quarter of respondents who have recently experienced data loss are considering adoption of cloud-based backup.[3]

The evolution of DRPs in cloud

Companies that are ahead of the game know that implementing a disaster recovery in the cloud comes with a wealth of benefits, including lower energy consumption and costs. Of the multiple advantages, backup systems in the cloud are known for their scalability and agility. The volatile nature of businesses may require flexible storage capacity and the cloud allows companies to do so seamlessly. Cloud providers like Fujitsu provide the scalable and agile environment that businesses can benefit from for future business growth - for one, providing for the testing of a customer's recovery environment to no more than 2 days' notice, significantly reducing the longer notification periods typically associated with traditional disaster recovery services. Yet, as with every type of technology, potential risks still loom over the use of cloud.

 

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