Things don’t always go as planned; that’s why it’s imperative that public sector organizations have the right tools in place when it comes to disaster recovery and continuity of operations. This month on GovDataDownload, we are focusing on best practices around business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) for public sector organizations. We recently had a chance to sit down with Frank Alcantar, Hybrid Cloud Solutions Architect at NetApp, who shared some insights into how public sector organizations can prepare for both natural and man-made disasters.

GDD: What would you say are some of the most important things agencies should consider when planning for disaster recovery and business continuity?

FA: Agencies need to stay in line with the industry and the industry is moving to the cloud. They should be focusing on technologies that can be introduced in their environment with minimal amount of disruption; tools that are easy to use and scalable. Agencies should also look for flexible and agile solutions. The worst situation an agency can get into is being locked into a solution that could potentially cripple or prohibit future growth due to new or changing requirements.

GDD: Can you talk a little bit about business continuity/ disaster recovery and the importance of having the right solutions as IT becomes more mission critical?

FA: As more and more agencies are looking to move to the cloud, they must have the right infrastructure in place for backup recovery and data protection purposes. Traditional disk storage is great but leveraging cloud for data archive is a great way to extend a private network to the cloud.   I recommend looking at a solution that is on a cloud-enabled open platform that integrates with most backup applications and cloud providers, like NetApp AltaVault. When systems go down, there is no need to spend hours searching for data on old disks or tape drives or libraries; you can find what you’re looking for directly from locally cached backups on the AltaVault appliance. The process is automated and seamless.

GDD: Do you have any advice for public sector organizations looking to implement technology solutions for disaster recovery?

FA: I think there are a few things that public sector organizations need to consider when it comes to preparing for disaster recovery and the first is having an executable plan in place. Agencies should look for technologies that are intuitive and easy to understand, and a plan that is easy to understand and executable. They should also be able to run test disaster recovery scenarios regularly. I think all of these things are key to being sufficiently prepared for an unfortunate situation.

GDD: Are there any customer success stories you can share?

FA: In King County, Washington, they were really looking to simplify and enhance operations by replacing their legacy approach of disk-to-disk-to tape backup and leveraged AltaVault. In doing so, they were able to avoid over $1 million in infrastructure refresh and spent significantly less money on a new solution, which ended up being an enhancement for them. They also saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by eliminating tape and the tape management process from their legacy environment. Their infrastructure now provides instant recovery for data restore needs so when older data needs to be retrieved, they do it directly from their backup application and the data is always available via the AltaVault whether its stored locally in cache or in the cloud.

Want to learn more about how King County simplified their BCDR processes while reducing spend? You can read an in-depth case study, here.