Disaster Recovery Strategies This Holiday Season

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Black Friday, typically one of the best and most profitable sales days for many retailers, was a nightmare for Best Buy. The electronics retailer’s website and apps went down unexpectedly for several hours, sending prospective customers into the arms (and shopping carts) of its competitors. Indeed, December is when most retail businesses begin to see their yearly profits, and as commerce shifts from in-store to web and mobile, retailers must ensure uptime for online customers lest they lose out on critical year-end revenue.

An October 2014 survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Dynatrace found that among U.S. owners of smartphones and tablets, 46 percent will shop elsewhere if a mobile website or app fails to load in three seconds or less, up 9 percentage points from last year, and once they connect, 80 percent say they will abandon a mobile app or site and shop elsewhere if it is buggy, slow or prone to crashes.

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As online commerce grows in popularity, it is vital for the retail industry to ensure that its IT infrastructure can keep up with demand. Cyber Monday sales in 2013 increased by 16% from the previous year according to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). Meanwhile, small businesses reported an average of 17 cyber-attacks on Cyber Monday in 2013, up by 50% the previous year.

Clearly, the holiday season is a critical time for the retail industry to have a solid disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place.

Alarmingly, poorly executed business continuity and disaster recovery strategies put businesses and the larger retail ecosystem at risk during this peak time. Organizations must ensure that their systems are ready to handle the massive traffic surge to their online sites while protecting customer data and preparing to recover or restore if anything fails. If time is money, then downtime can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line.

Quorum’s top three business continuity and disaster recovery tips for retailers:

– Run tests to determine peak capacity and do your best to break your site.
– Establish recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) that are realistic.
– Have a plan and backup plan for system outage or failure that includes on-premise and cloud-based recovery options, depending on your business needs.

As retailers evaluate their disaster recovery and business continuity strategy, it’s important to understand their level of risk and the associated cost of downtime to their business. In the case of Best Buy, the company likely lost thousands or even millions of dollars. For many retailers, any downtime will result in lost revenue, so it’s important to consider the short and long-term impact on the business’ bottom line and adopt a strategy that is in alignment.

By Walter Angerer, CEO of Quorum

quorumQuorum provides mid-size businesses with fool-proof disaster recovery plans, all without the complexity or high cost of data center replication. With the Quorum Hybrid Cloud Service, clients’ recovery solutions are tested daily! And if disaster strikes, up-to-date VM clones of their protected servers take over. With just one click. – See more at: http://www.quorum.net/why-quorum-disaster-recovery-business-continuity/#sthash.kbSBcfKS.dpuf

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