Nationwide customers faced repeated interruptions to their banking services around Christmas, unable to access their funds or pay their bills. While the construction company described the outage as a “technical problem”, some experts identified a server failure.
The outage demonstrated how much damage a technology failure can cause and how critical servers are to smooth business operations, with millions of users unable to receive or make payments.
Whatever the causes of a server crash, ranging from simple hardware failure and power outages to software glitches, cyber attacks and natural disasters, the consequences can be catastrophic. Businesses, large and small, depend on connectivity; in the digital age, it is the lifeblood of commerce. As a result, organizations are increasingly dependent on servers.
As screens go blank, digital and human connections are severed. The affected organization loses productivity, orders, and profits, while customers are affected, leading to reputational damage and potential loss of future business. Additionally, if private data is lost, regulatory fines and penalties, as well as class action lawsuits, can result.
The servers support essential connections, which facilitate business operations, including interaction with staff and customers. Its importance means that more and more companies use a network of servers in the cloud.
These servers now play a vital role in business technology. They provide a central repository, which receives, stores, retrieves and sends data, ensuring that all team members have timely access to the information they need.
Web, email, and file servers, to name just a few, are essential for employees, equipment, and systems to perform the tasks that make up their jobs. The pandemic and the resulting shift to remote and hybrid working have necessarily accelerated cloud-based and data-centric digitization, making businesses increasingly dependent on the 24/7 operation of their servers.
But have servers (a computer with advanced hardware running a server program) become an Achilles’ heel? Essential for business operations, what happens when servers fail? How can an organization quickly recover and get back to work?
Azeem Javed is a consultant at Creative Networks, specialists in telecommunications and managed IT. He says that encapsulating backup as part of a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy “is critical for every business, as it ensures continuity of operations and proper recovery. This should extend to all aspects of the business.”
Contingency planning and a system backup strategy (setting up local or remote backup servers or backing up to an external hard drive and disaster recovery software) can certainly help the CFO. technology to sleep better at night. If a business has alternate backups for its files, it can quickly recover and resume operations.
A full backup is a complete copy of an organization’s data assets. This process requires all files to be backed up to a single version. However, the dataset must be copied in its entirety and stored in a separate location, away from the server.
Such an offsite backup, which can be accessed, restored, or managed from a different location, ensures a high level of security and peace of mind by allowing for offsite and online data storage.
“If your data is mission critical to your business, backup servers are absolutely vital to ensure seamless business continuity and prevent data loss,” says Jake Madders, director of Hyve, a managed cloud hosting provider.
“We now live in an ‘always on’ world, where a single hour of downtime can cost anywhere from thousands to millions of thousands of pounds, depending on the size of the business. Time is money.”
Worst of cases
Regardless of server location, a BCDR plan is essential for worst case scenarios.
“The pandemic has forced businesses to realize that being prepared for even the most unlikely scenario can no longer be considered an optional part of business planning,” says Madders. “While it may seem difficult to measure the return on investment of a disaster recovery solution, because it’s a precautionary feature that ideally would never need to be used, it shouldn’t be seen as a ‘luxury’ add-on service just for larger customers. companies. It should be a fundamental part of every business’s IT strategy.”
A disaster recovery plan is a structured and documented approach that outlines how an organization can get back to work quickly after an unplanned incident. It is an essential part of a business continuity plan and should be applied to those aspects of the operation that depend on a functioning IT infrastructure.
The step-by-step plan consists of precautions to minimize the effects of a disaster so that the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume mission-critical functions. Disaster recovery planning typically involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs.
Before generating a detailed plan, an organization must perform a business impact analysis and risk analysis, and establish recovery objectives.
All strategies must align with the goals of the organization. Once a business continuity strategy has been developed and approved, it can be translated into a disaster recovery plan, complete with an incident response team and a list of important contacts.
The plan must be reviewed by management, tested, audited and updated regularly. It must be substantiated by testing, which identifies deficiencies and provides opportunities to fix problems before a crash occurs. Furthermore, it is important for companies to control and protect their servers with software that can detect potential problems.
And before you call in the techies, here are some basic cleanup tips that can reduce the chance of servers crashing in the first place. Prevention measures include keeping the server room isolated and cool with air conditioning. It must also be clean because dust can cause overheating.
Internal technical staff can fix a server failure, but more complex issues might require outside help. This means that properly training your technical staff on how to deal with a failed server in the first place is a good investment, as is maintaining a working relationship with an outside IT specialist.
Of course, if the server is in a remote data center, the organization is at the mercy of an outside agency’s best practices and relies on their quick action to get systems back up and running, so choose your provider carefully.