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Executives of midsize businesses may wonder how to prepare for the possibility that a calamity could wipe out their IT operations. The words "disaster recovery" (DR) evoke images of the earthquake in Northridge, California, or flooding in Chicago and Nashville - events that took businesses of all sizes offline.
However, it's important to know that many business-disrupting outages result from causes far less dramatic than natural disasters. Everyday events - such as construction crews cutting through a power line, an air conditioning failure, a network provider interruption, or a security issue - can take systems offline. These interruptions happen more than most midsize business managers expect and with increasingly critical impact, as customers become more accustomed to accessing online information and placing orders online.
It is clear that midsize businesses must prepare for these "disasters" just as larger enterprises do. What are the critical next steps? Relatively few midsize organizations have reached a high level of disaster readiness, even if they have taken the first steps to protect IT assets against unplanned interruptions; they're much more likely to have in place high-availability (HA) measures or data replication software. But given midsize organizations' reliance on Web-enabled applications and online systems, they must prepare to recover key IT systems from a disaster without severely interrupting their business. This paper looks at these concerns and presents an approach through which targeted solutions and management can reduce business risks by planning to address disruptions and by addressing technical challenges to business continuity.
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