Delivering Business Continuity in the Face of Unexpected Disasters

Application Resiliency March 20, 2024

In the rapidly evolving data landscape, the concepts of high availability (HA), disaster recovery (DR), and understanding the shared responsibility model are central to ensuring business continuity. These elements are not just about safeguarding data and systems but rather the foundation for ensuring business resiliency in the face of disruptions. This comprehensive exploration will delve into the importance of high availability, disaster recovery, and the shared responsibility model, while illustrating how these components serve as the cornerstone for robust business continuity strategy.

High Availability and Disaster Recovery: Key Pillars of Business Continuity

High Availability ensures that services are consistently available with minimal downtime. HA systems are engineered with redundancy and failover capabilities to maintain operational performance despite failures or maintenance activities. The goal is to achieve near-continuous availability, thereby maintaining business continuity.

Disaster Recovery, conversely, focuses on restoring services and data access after a significant disruption, such as natural disasters, accidental deletion or corruption, or system failures. DR plans are comprehensive strategies that outline specific steps for recovery, emphasizing the rapid restoration of critical services to mitigate the impact of the disruption on business operations.

The Significance of HA and DR – Key Reasons for:

  • Minimizing Operational Downtime: Operational downtime can lead to significant financial losses, decreased productivity, and erosion of customer trust. HA and DR strategies are critical in reducing downtime and resuming operations to deliver business continuity.
  • Data Protection and Recovery: In an era where data is a critical asset, protecting and quickly recovering data through HA and DR mechanisms is crucial for maintaining a competitive advantage.
  • Customer Confidence and Brand Reputation: Continuous service availability and the ability to recover from disasters are key to maintaining customer confidence and a positive brand reputation. Businesses that demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges can strengthen customer loyalty.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Many industries are subject to regulations that require specific levels of data protection, availability, and disaster preparedness. Implementing effective HA and DR strategies is often necessary to meet these regulatory obligations.
  • Adaptability to Unforeseen Events: The ability to adapt and respond to unforeseen events is a hallmark of a resilient business. HA and DR provide a framework for this adaptability, ensuring that businesses can navigate and survive disruptions.

The Shared Responsibility Model: A Collaborative Approach to Business Continuity

The Shared Responsibility Model is a framework that outlines the responsibilities of cloud service providers (CSPs) and their customers in managing and securing cloud environments. This model is crucial for businesses leveraging cloud services for HA and DR, as it clarifies who is responsible for different aspects of data and system security.

  • Service Provider Responsibilities: CSPs are responsible for the security and availability of the cloud infrastructure. This includes physical security, server hardware, networking, and the foundational services that enable the operation of cloud environments.
  • Customer Responsibilities: Customers are responsible for securing and managing their data, applications, and operating systems within the cloud. This includes implementing access controls, data encryption, and the configuration of services to meet specific HA and DR requirements.

Integrating HA, DR, and the Shared Responsibility Model into Business Continuity Planning

Strategic Planning and Risk Assessment: Integrating HA and DR into business continuity planning starts with a thorough risk assessment. Understanding the potential risks and impacts on business operations is essential for designing effective HA and DR strategies.

Implement Dedicated Solutions:  Under the shared responsibility model, you are responsible for ensuring your critical applications are always available in the cloud. Veritas Alta™ Enterprise Resiliency is purpose-built to ensure your critical applications and data are always available with real-time monitoring and fault resolution, plus near-zero RTO and RPO, enabling failover between clouds or regional zones.   

Comprehensive DR Planning: A comprehensive DR plan should detail the steps for recovery in various disaster scenarios. This includes identifying critical systems, data backup and recovery processes, and communication plans for stakeholders. Veritas Disaster Recovery Solutions provides you with a clear blueprint and toolkit to enable you to easily plan your recovery. Practice it without disrupting production so you can rapidly recover your critical data when disaster strikes. 

Regular Testing and Maintenance: Regular testing of HA and DR systems is essential to ensure they function as expected. This includes testing failover mechanisms, data recovery processes, and the effectiveness of your backup systems. This testing is essential to meeting customer expectations for business continuity in the event of a disruption or disaster. The testing process allows you to identify gaps in your data backup and restoration procedures. It can even expose possible dark data gaps that need visibility and governance. 

Training and Awareness: Ensuring staff understand their roles and responsibilities in supporting HA and DR efforts is crucial. Training and awareness programs can help build a culture of resilience within the organization.

Adapting to Regulatory Requirements: Businesses must adapt their HA and DR strategies to meet industry-specific regulatory requirements. This may involve implementing additional controls, encryption, or data protection measures. Veritas Alta™ Data Compliance and Governance portfolio provides you with an extensive toolkit to automate your data classification to meet new policies and regulations.

The importance of High Availability, Disaster Recovery, and the Shared Responsibility Model to business continuity cannot be overstated. These components form the backbone of a resilient business, enabling organizations to minimize downtime, protect valuable data, maintain customer trust, and comply with regulatory requirements. By understanding the roles and responsibilities outlined in the Shared Responsibility Model, businesses can effectively leverage dedicated cloud solutions to enhance their HA and DR capabilities. Ultimately, integrating these elements into a comprehensive business continuity plan ensures that organizations are well-prepared to face disruptions, maintain operational efficiency, and secure long-term success in an unpredictable world.

To learn more about the importance of application resiliency in the cloud, read this comprehensive white paper.

Joe D’Angelo
Director of Product Management – Application Resiliency