No Down Time Allowed
Recent outbreaks of severe weather and other natural disasters have reinforced the importance of developing, managing, and maintaining business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) plans for acute and ambulatory healthcare facilities alike.
IT is one of the mission critical systems that help sustain patient care—along with electrical power, a water supply, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Because healthcare providers increasingly rely on IT for business and patient care operations, careful continuity planning is essential, with multiple provisions for emergency power, communications, mirrored computing sites, and secure off-site data storage.
A business continuity plan encompasses strategies and solutions to help ensure continuous uptime and high availability of IT systems as well as secure and swift data storage, backup, and recovery.
Built-in Business Continuity
A physical or virtual business continuity solution that enables you to automate movement of data can help you optimize performance and security at an acceptable cost/performance ratio, while enabling seamless failover.
For hospital data centers, virtualization can simplify disaster recovery by reducing the number of physical machines. It offers numerous ways to build a DR solution that scales alongside your virtual servers to protect your infrastructure and maintain access to, and security of, patient data. Unlike traditional environments, virtualization allows you to consolidate multiple applications on a single machine in the recovery data center for maximum efficiency. The ability to recover quickly from failure is a huge benefit.
Although a virtual machine (VM) is independent of the physical hardware that it's running on, you still need protection against failures within physical server hardware. Reducing the amount of hardware means that the availability of each physical server becomes more important. Loss of a server within a virtualized environment affects each VM running on the platform. This must be factored into business continuity planning.
Integrating DR capabilities into your virtual environment from day one lets you take advantage of the scalability that virtualization offers. A key strategy is to look at virtualization and DR as a combined unit. Put aside the notion that disaster recovery means a 1:1 ratio of live to redundant machines. What you really need is a flexible solution that grows to match your requirements as they evolve.
Plan for Power
Comprehensive emergency power systems—including uninterruptable power supplies for healthcare modalities, server rooms, network closets, and data centers—support IT availability and reduce the likelihood that a power failure will put patients at risk and damage sensitive equipment. These systems ensure a reliable, 24/7 power supply while reducing energy consumption and delivering uninterrupted power for medical equipment and critical care, precise temperature, airflow, and humidity control.
Ensure a Healthy Recovery
A virtualized environment inevitably makes the smaller pool of resources you rely on that much more important. That's why it's vital to build a storage solution with advanced data protection capabilities. The agility offered by SANs enables better recovery, increased resilience, and seamless failover for planned or unplanned downtime. Take advantage of automated recovery processes designed to work hand-in-hand with virtualization. This helps reduce recovery time objectives (RTO) and keeps critical applications and data online and available.
DR for Physicians
It is just as essential for physicians' offices to have a plan in place to recover critical data and get your practice up and running after a disruption. Back up your data regularly and frequently and rotate and replace your backup media periodically. Test your restore process, and if you have issues, take time to resolve them. Don't wait for an emergency to try to restore your data for the first time.
Your written DR plan should include instructions for finding your backups, using the backup and recovery software, testing the system, and synchronizing restored data. A benefit of vendor-hosted and Web-based solutions is that your data is backed up off-site. If the application is Web-based, you can log in securely from another location to access your data. In your DR plan, include a copy of your vendor's Service Level Agreement, contact information, instructions for activating disaster recovery, and verification that the solution is HIPAA compliant.
For hospitals and physicians' offices, storing, securing, and managing healthcare data gets easier with Connection. Services such as our Storage Assessment, Storage Healthcheck, Power and Cooling, and Backup and Disaster Recovery Services can help you create solutions that ensure high availability of your mission critical IT systems and protect your data.
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