Business Continuity During a Disaster

We have already talked in the last article about backups and the ability to get up and running quicker using a proper DR option, but if the worst happens, and it is not just your servers or server room that are no longer accessible (think fire, flood etc), how are you going to access the data and from where? 


With Microsoft 365 your email is in the cloud and can be accessed anytime from anywhere under normal circumstances or in the event of a DR scenario, but what about your local files, that ancient database you have been using for 20 years? With our DR option we can get your systems up and running quickly in the cloud for you, but what next? How do you access it? What do you access the DR system with and from where? These are commonly missed questions or are left to be dealt with if it ever happens, but with a few simple steps prior to anything ever happening you could make recovering easier and quicker. 


How do you access it? 

Our DR option can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to gain access to your data from your devices, giving you normal file access easily. But if we were to supply and configure an RDS (Remote Desktop Services) remote access server to your current system, not only could you use it for normal day to day remote access in normal circumstance, but in the event of a DR issue it exists in the cloud giving you consistent easy access to the data. You would however still need a device of some sorts to access the DR system…. 


What do you access it with? 

It is still common to have the bulk of business users / office staff using normal desktop PCs that live permanently in the office. But one lesson learned from the Covid Pandemic is the flexibility that laptops can make working out of the office, accessing via VPN or RDS much easier and it is better to have this in place before an issue occurs than trying to resolve it afterwards. Consider replacing desktop PCs with laptops and docking stations, with a take your device home policy. In the event of another global pandemic, or fire / flood causing your office to be inaccessible users can the work remotely from the laptop they already have to access the DR system in the cloud getting people back working much quicker. 


Where do you access it from? 

Historically companies could / would have a DR office location available, through a contracted colocation / DR business centre for instance, giving desks and internet access but not hardware. In the event of a DR situation where your office is out of use you may need to consider what your plan would be: 


  • Use a secondary office location / sub office you already have? 
  • Paid DR workspace? 
  • Colocation shared office space? 
  • Work from home using VPN? 


The best option for you may vary based on your requirements, cost or if you require colleagues to be physically together but with mobile devices, cloud DR and collaboration suites like Teams you could reduce costs by allowing staff to work from home – ideally using a company supplied device they already had prior to the incident occurring.