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IBM Evolving Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity for the Cloud Era

Disaster recovery is a mature decades-old business, but the cloud is providing new avenues for business continuity.

The Disaster Recovery business is old hat for IBM, with over 40 years of experience providing services to companies around the world. In the modern cloud era though, that business is evolving as new services and opportunities emerge.

Helping to lead IBM's effort in this area is Laurence Guihard-Joly, General Manager for IBM's Business Continuity and Resiliency Services. Guihard-Joly is a 29-year IBM veteran who took over as GM of the business continuity group in November of 2013.

"The big transformation in the business is the cloud and what I see as the always-on world," Guihard-Joly told Datamation.

IBM's Business Continuity and Resiliency Services include the ability to help organizations recover from a disaster, whether it's a natural disaster or a power outage. IBM also has a services business to protect compute infrastructure as well as capture, protect and manage data and applications in real-time. Guihard-Joly explained that IBM is able to protect cloud data and also runs the protection service in the cloud as well.

Since she took over as GM of the business, Guihard-Joly has come across a few surprises about the disaster recovery and continuity world. One surprise was how fast the cloud is growing, putting a new point of pressure on the resiliency business. But at a deeper level, the other thing that Guihard-Joly encountered when she entered the disaster recovery world is how people talk about it.

"It's a secret world in the sense that people do not like to talk about their level of maturity regarding business continuity and it's a very sensitive topic," Guihard-Joly said.

One of the reasons why disaster recovery and continuity is more important than ever before to a business is because in the modern cloud and always-on era, bad news travels faster than ever before. The impact of social media to spread a message about how a service is down or not available can have a significant impact on brand reputation as well.

"Business resiliency is now a c-level and board level issue as the costs of recovery and costs to reputation are now higher than ever before," Guihard-Joly said.

The idea of having On-Demand services is one that pre-dates the cloud-era at IBM. On-Demand, however, isn't quite the same as what the new cloud-based services offering can now enable.

"The maturity on provisioning and pay as you use, have been evolving dramatically," Guihard-Joly said. "We sell and we price by the Gigabyte and we also sell and price based on the virtual machine."

The cloud has also enabled a virtual server recovery service that IBM delivers, providing real-time protection that can enable an enterprise to rapidly recover.

"That's something we didn't have 8 years ago and there has been a big acceleration in particular in the last year with IBM Softlayer," Guihard-Joly said.

A recent study sponsored by IBM and conducted by the Ponemon Institute, found that most organizations today still do not have a business continuity plan in place. Looking forward, Guihard-Joly said that it is her mission to change that.

"When the next Ponemon Institute survey is out, I want many more than 17 percent of organizations having a business continuity plan in place," Guihard-Joly said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.




Tags: cloud computing, IBM, disaster recovery, Disaster Recovery Plan


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