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Your Systems May Be Down - But That Needn’t Mean They Are Out!

Updated on September 9, 2013

What Did We Do To Get To Where We Are Today?

I’ve been writing about I.T. systems in one way or another for over 30 years and one thing I’ve definitely noticed is that, generally, what comes around, goes around.

During the early part of the 1980’s I was working in what was known as a computer bureau. This was an arrangement whereby a number of different companies, in different geographical locations, all shared a central computer system, usually an expensive and rather large mainframe. They were linked to it by means of very expensive, but by today’s standards, very slow, private communications circuits.

At their end, the client end, there would probably be a number of “dumb terminals”. These terminals, usually with green screens and a basic keyboard, had no processing power of their own - they were simply used as a means of inputting data and viewing data that had been processed by the central mainframe.

It sounds primitive and, by today's standards, it was, but at the time it worked very well both on a practical level and at a commercial level too. The client companies did not need to employ computer specialists and their equipment costs were relatively low as all data storage and processing was carried out on the bureau mainframe. The communications cost was the only serious overhead. Expensive software was unnecessary as all of that was looked after by the computer bureau.


Freedom, at Last - or Was It?

Fast forward a few years and the cost of computer hardware began to tumble. IBM had introduced the PC, with a single floppy drive at first, and useful software slowly began to appear that would run on it. Gradually, the hardware got faster, and cheaper and the software got better and cheaper. Pretty soon, it began to make little or no sense to have your computer systems hosted elsewhere and the affordable Local Area Network, (LAN), was born and became affordable to most businesses.

This brought financial savings and freedom from being dependant upon outside suppliers for most computing requirements and it was a development that was widely accepted and welcomed. There was, however, a quid pro quo - with freedom, usually, comes responsibility.

It was that responsibility that I am really referring to when I refer to the whole question of disaster recovery. When you bring the computer system in house it becomes the responsibility of someone within the organisation to ensure that, should anything go wrong, there is an escape route and the business could continue even if the computer system could not.

The likely causes of such a disaster are many, fire, theft, vandalism and equipment failure are just four of the most commonplace. OK, so you may have your data backed up onto a tape or other remotely stored service but do you have the wherewithal to restore it onto suitable hardware and continue trading in the event of a disaster?

Technology Comes To Its Own Rescue

In many cases the answer would be a resounding NO and it is in those instances that those concerned should be taking a long hard look at their future stability. Just a few days of being unable to process a sales invoice, book stock in or out, print delivery notes or chase payments could be enough to cause serious harm to the business and its finances. Customers lost in this way may be lost forever.

Thankfully, there is a solution that can give you complete peace of mind and it needn't be prohibitively expensive either. Using the technology I'm about to suggest to you, not only is your valuable data backed up onto a remote site but it is replicated onto standby equipment such that, when disaster strikes, your enterprise can be up and running again very quickly, often in a mateer of a few hours.

If you run a business that is in any way dependent on its data and computer systems, and most businesses are to some extent, then maybe its time that you took a look at this kind of solution today, before something terrible happens and makes life really difficult for you.

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