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Disaster recovery plan seen vital for companies

Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - June 19, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - DataOne Asia Philippines, the leading independent provider of managed IT services to enterprises in the country, urges businesses to acquire a disaster recovery plan (DRP) that will allow them to prepare for the rainy season and other disasters.

DataOne Asia president and chief executive officer Cyril Rocke said that to ensure business continuity in times of calamities like typhoons, companies must have a DRP.

"Companies should have a DRP in place because the lack of such a plan could mean the end of a business.  The DRP prevents or lessens the damages that companies may get from sudden catastrophic events," Rocke said.

Disaster recovery planning is when a company creates a backup of its IT system and files in an offsite location in preparation for both natural and accidental disasters. 

Rocke said that while many businesses in the country are required by law to have a DRP, there are still those who overlook this important business component. 

A must for Phl companies

Having a DRP is a must for companies in the Philippines, which is frequented by typhoons throughout the year, he said.

"During typhoons, we know that the streets become easily flooded.  Some companies, especially those located near large bodies of water, can have their buildings infiltrated by water, which may damage servers and lead to data loss," Rocke explained.

While servers damaged by floodwaters can be easily replaced through insurance policies, it may still take some time to restore the entire system back to normal.

DataOne Asia director of operations Alex Fernando said a company may have to wait at least a month for its IT operations to resume after purchasing a new set of servers.

"Replacing damaged hardware cannot be simply done in one day or even one week.  If you don't have a DRP in place, it can take a company at least a month to buy new equipment, install programs and restore everything," said Fernando.

High rate of failure

Aside from hardware glitches, the data stored within the servers can create a worse problem for companies.  Rocke said companies without DRPs that lose data after a disaster have a high rate of failure.

"Once a company loses its precious data, it will have a hard time getting back on its feet.  In fact, around 80 percent of businesses will go bankrupt in their first year or within a couple of years after a disaster," Fernando stressed.

Aside from floodwaters, another problem that might spring from severe weather disturbances is power failure.  Fernando explained that typhoons can actually take a company's entire IT system offline, which can create detrimental effects.

"When a company's IT system is down, it means that all the applications will not be available for their use.  Say that you are a logistics company that has a dysfunctional IT system because of power outage.  If your system is down even for just an hour, it means you cannot book sales and orders, process inventories and release stocks.  Basically, you can't do anything," he added.

"Once your business takes long or never recovers from a disaster, your clients will lose confidence in your service, which prompts them to move to more reliable providers.  It is impossible to have your clients wait for a few weeks while you fix your system when it is so easy for them to acquire the services of another provider.  The loss of business is by far the biggest consequence," Rocke said.

Things to consider

When acquiring a DRP, a company needs to consider a lot of factors.  For one, they have to identify which data will be backed up. 

Another important factor that companies have to consider is the location of their disaster recovery (DR) sites.  Rocke added that companies need to choose DR sites that are easily accessible.

The Philippines, a country pelted by an average of 20 typhoons every year, the resulting floodwaters and power outages are two of the problems that even businesses are worried about.

With the announcement from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) that the rainy season has officially started, Rocke further urges companies to have a DRP. 

However, he stressed that a DRP is not something that companies should only avail of during the rainy season, as disasters can strike anytime.

"While typhoons typically come during the rainy season, there are disasters like earthquakes and even building fires that can occur anytime.  Think of a DRP as your business' life insurance. It's something that you need to have in order to protect your company from any sudden incident that may have catastrophic consequences on your business," he emphasized. /JMD (FREEMAN)

ALEX FERNANDO ASIA PHILIPPINES ASTRONOMICAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION BUSINESS COMPANIES COMPANY DRP FERNANDO ROCKE
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