Is your business disaster proof? With much of our business lives now taking place online, it’s essential that everyone has a system in place in the event of a crisis. In much the same way you need to know your important documents are protected if a fire breaks out (i.e. you’ve got some sort of fire resistant safe), you need a disaster recovery plan in place to ensure things continue to run smoothly in the event of an IT failure.
Let’s assume you’re an online retailer with a single server. If that server comes under attack or the provider experiences a temporary outage, what do you do? Well, in this situation, there’s not much you can do. Without a backup server to share the load, you’ll be forever at the mercy of the internet and that means you could lose money and customers.
Many Servers Make Recovery Light Work
Indeed, as Incapsula’s team points out, global load balancing is perfect for disaster recovery as it essentially prevents customers from getting locked out of your system and, potentially, going elsewhere to buy their products or acquire the information they’re looking for. Essentially a method for spreading workloads and traffic across various networked server, global load balancing allows online businesses to seamlessly push users from one server to another without delay.
Although the DNS method for load balancing was previously seen as the best way to distribute traffic, the security experts at Incapsula point out that this system operates on a “round robin” methodology. In simple terms, the balancing isn’t intelligent and connections are sent to different servers in a linear fashion. That means that connects are sent to a server at the top of the list, then second on the list and so on – so the system is not load-aware. Today, however, cloud-based technology has vastly improved not only global load balancing in the event of a system failure (i.e. users are redirected from one site to another automatically), but it’s also helped to provide improved geographical access.
Cloud balancing solutions can ensure remote users are routed to the best data server for their region. The upshot of this is that they receive a better online experience with faster page load times and fewer connection drops. Moreover, as we’ve said, it allows users to ping from site to site in order to avoid any unforeseen downtime.
Costs Mean You Can’t Afford to be Down
Global load balancing with the help of cloud technology can help prevent users dropping off, but you may be wondering “why should I care?” Well, even if you’ve never experienced any server downtime, it doesn’t mean you’re immune from the problem. According to an article on the topic of downtime and its costs, the Ponemon Institute found that a data center outage will now cost, on average, $740,357.
Of course, that sort of cost assumes the data center is a large operation and out for several minutes, but it does highlight how costly an outage can be. In fact, when you also consider that a 2014 study by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council found that only 27% of those surveyed made the grade for recovery, it’s an issue that clearly needs addressing.
In the online world, just as is the case in real life, accidents can happen and you need to be prepared. A server going down means a loss of business and money, which means it’s essential for companies to protect themselves. Strategies such as global load balancing should be used in conjunction with the latest security provisions, such as web application firewalls, to ensure that not only is your data safe, but that your users always get the most efficient service even in the event of a disaster.