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Business Continuity and the Cloud

Implementing sound business continuity practices within the workplace allows organizations to avoid disruptive events and continue operation without stoppage. Today, email is a mission critical application that must be accessible with minimal outage since even momentary downtime can have serious consequences for an organization’s bottom line. It’s for this reason that businesses of all sizes should have a plan to maintain the continuity of email during planned and unplanned downtimes.

Benefits of the Cloud

Building a highly available network and server environment can be a costly undertaking. Fortunately, cloud-based services can lower the financial burden of performing in-house IT maintenance by outsourcing the responsibilities to a service provider who oversees a company’s network and information system.

Moving email to the cloud has a number of business critical benefits. First, customers may add layers of protection and eliminate the need for deploying and supporting applications internally. Protection is provided in real-time to thwart off threats before they enter the network. Second, there is no hardware or software to maintain, upgrade or support. Third, the financial cost for cloud-based services is minimal when compared to traditional in-house IT costs. The ability to adopt on-demand services on a pay-as-you-go basis give many customers greater cost controls and flexibility.

Potential Challenge

Once a business elects to use a cloud-based provider, they could be moving their business critical email hundreds, to even thousands, of miles away from their location. So what happens if there is an outage on the Internet? Most of the time, the Internet is very stable and able to handle issues with minimal impact to users. However, as with all things in the computer/technical world, problems can and do happen.

Performance issues can occur outside the service providers’ control, including Internet bottlenecks and other latency issues. To combat such problems, look for cloud-based service providers who use technologies that optimize the route between customer location, mobile device or desktop computer, to where customer data is stored. Such technology achieves LAN-like network consistency, performance and reliability over the Internet.

Business Continuity and the Cloud

While most businesses think of catastrophic events, such as a hurricane or an earthquake, when devising a business continuity plan, something as simple as a power failure can create the need for a call to action.

Whether a company chooses to partner with an outside vendor or not, a good business continuity plan can keep a company up and running through interruptions of any kind. In order to create a plan, there are a number of policies to take into consideration: a solid business continuity plan can take months of planning and each aspect of the business should be involved in the process. Business leaders and IT leaders should work together to determine what type of plan is necessary and which systems and business units are most crucial to the company. Sound planning from the start will pay off large dividends later.

About James Dean

James Dean joined AppRiver in 2008 as the Senior Exchange Engineer. Dean is primarily responsible for managing AppRiver’s Secure Hosted Exchange and SecureTide environments, which supports a customer base of 45,000 (and 6 million users) worldwide.

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