For many businesses in the modern world, data availability has never been more important. What would happen, for example, if your company suddenly lost access to vital data? In many cases, entire operations would grind to a halt, and this need for data availability is partly what has led to such a surge in the use of cloud-based platforms and sync software for global file sharing.
The costs of just a single data outage can build-up by the second, leading to almost catastrophic consequences, depending on the size and scale of your business, along with the importance of the data in question. A recent study looking at outages and brownouts in businesses across the globe found that those with frequent outages can experience up to 16x higher costs than those without.
In short, downtime can be immensely costly, harming businesses both in the short-term and the long-term, and this is why it’s so important for any competitive company to make data availability an absolute priority. But how to do this? Well, we’ve already mentioned the advantages of global file sharing solutions and cloud platforms, but there are other tips and techniques to bear in mind too.
Always Prioritize Availability
Data availability should not be an afterthought or a footnote in your company plans, especially in regard to disaster recovery. If it’s not already, you need to make it a priority. This includes focusing on recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) targets to make your data available again after an outage.
Data disruptions may still occur, as they do for businesses in industries across the globe, but taking data availability seriously and looking at ways to maximize availability for your business will help you get on the right path towards minimizing downtime and reducing the amount of money, resources, and time lost if outages do occur.
Figure Out Your RTO
Your RTO basically tells you how long your business can keep running if access to data is lost or some kind of disruption in the data supply occurs. Many companies don’t actually know what their RTO is, and this can be a serious issue, leaving them utterly lost when a disruption occurs.
Preparing for the worst-case scenario can help you navigate it a lot better, so it’s vital to put in the effort and calculate your RTO. For some businesses, this might be less than an hour, for others, it could be a week or more. Either way, it’s something you need to know.
Automation Of Failover
In computing terms, failover basically refers to stand-by or back-up systems that come into action when the main system fails. In essence, it’s like having a back-up generator for your data, and automating the failover process can be one of the most efficient ways to maximize data availability.
When you automate failover, it means that if a component of your system fails or goes down temporarily for whatever reason, the proper replacement will automatically activate and take over the necessary duties, without any actual downtime or any real negative consequences.
This can save so much time and money that would usually be wasted in having to first detect an issue, then identify the details of the problem and then send a physical engineer out to fix it. What’s more, automating failover is actually really easy and can be set-up in less than a day in most cases, so you won’t even need to wait around or invest lots of time and resources into making this happen.
Make The Most Of Redundancy
One of the simplest ways to improve data availability for your business is to make the absolute most of redundancy. In data terms, redundancy essentially means having multiple copies of the same data, so even if one of them becomes unavailable for some reason, it won’t actually affect your operations as the data will still be accessible via the second, third, or subsequent copies.
These additional copies of data can be stored in two separate areas of the same database or in entirely different data centers and software platforms, and one of the challenges faced when dealing with data redundancy is knowing how to make copies without overdoing it and spending too much. It might be tempting to safeguard data as much as possible with lots of copies, but this can come at a cost as new resources are needed, so a fine line needs to be walked to strike the right balance.
Regular, uninterrupted access to data is so important in the modern era, and clearly, it’s essential for businesses to understand the risks of losing this access, as well as taking the necessary steps to ensure they’re ready when disruptions and interruptions occur.