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Many tech-driven organizations are in the middle of a perfect storm: knee-deep in an ongoing pandemic, managing their financial and personnel resources while experiencing a surge increased customer requirements — which is potentially taxing their data storage and management platforms. 

Data needs were already on the rise. How many times this week did you hear someone say "exponential growth"? It's kind of overused and annoying, but I know that it's true. Shelter-in-place selling and buying, remote learning, home offices and other signs-of-the-times have ramped up requirements — and expectations.

The fact is that companies weren't necessarily on top of Disaster Recovery Orchestration before the 2020 pandemic. According to the 2020 IDG Cloud Computing Survey, the biggest challenges or obstacles to most organizations' ability to take full advantage of public cloud resources was data privacy and security challenges (41 percent), followed by controlling cloud costs (37 percent). Managing cloud resources (29 percent) fell behind, and cloud performance and reliability was a paltry 17 percent.

Fragmented data storage goes beyond resource issues. First, it becomes difficult to come up with comprehensive Disaster Recovery Orchestration (DRO) — to create, meet and surpass recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) during, say, a pandemic — if you can't see the entire data picture. It is nearly impossible to plan if you don't know what you've got. 

Second, leaders and executors will need to assess security, stability and access for each and every area data is held. Managing the data workloads becomes the focus, rather than maximizing the potential of the data. That said, the potential value of the data should be high on the list for someone in the organization.

DRO should go hand-in-hand with the company's data storage vision — particularly how the data will be stored. Businesses don't always recognize that the best storage and archive options vary for each type of data being stored. Furthermore, as technology advances, there is a natural inflation that occurs as better, more intelligent approaches happen. 

The best technology today may slowly become obsolete tomorrow. A DRO strategy should account for this reality, both in how the company sees itself using the data in the future and how it puts aside its time, money and other precious resources towards that fact.

Unfortunately, virus and ransomware risks are even more powerful, especially as the pandemic creates a higher demand for data and, consequently, more potential exposure to malicious parties. As experienced leaders know, unexpected downtime is almost always more expensive than investing in the infrastructure ahead of time. 

Prepare now for the next challenge 

Right now it is a pandemic, but tomorrow it could be a massive power outage or a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Leaders have the opportunity to create a blueprint for the next challenge. The higher data demands, supply chain challenges and increased security issues are par for the course. It is (quite directly) why having Disaster Recovery Orchestration matters, as it is not a matter of if, but when.

Ironically, agility may be one of the best defenses to security issues. Fragmented data, limited vision and onerous service levels (SLAs) make tracking appropriate patches, upgrades and stability changes much more difficult. Keeping up with a smaller number of data workloads means more precise security. 

Without a clear strategic vision, it is hard to set the security standards that are acceptable for your specific business. Lastly, lock-in SLAs means the business' security compliance is directly affected by the quality of the data storage provider. Lost agility from diffused focus, mishmash of standards and inappropriate SLAs can directly hit the company bottom line. 

In fact, it hits financial resources on two fronts. The first pain point is internal: inefficient data storage means paying a premium when in a crunch, and that's not considering major crisis but just natural business growth. The second pain point is external: limited options for the business means limited options for the customers being served, and they may happily leave for a company that is growing with their own needs.

Companies should be looking to modernize and eliminate the manual, time-consuming and repeatable processes that hinder necessary DR planning by automatically testing, documenting and executing disaster recovery plans from single applications to entire sites.

The economic, data and security challenges are already here. It is too late to worry or prepare for the current pandemic. However, the backup and recovery investment made now will help ensure your business is ready for the next unexpected turn as well as the natural growth of your organization. 

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