The costs of outages at federal agencies exceed $1 million in about 60% of cases, according to a study by cybersecurity provider Infoblox. The costs are related to data loss, operational disruptions, lost user productivity, and mitigation. Expenses associated with mitigation can be especially high when downtime is caused by a cyber-attack that requires recovering data and rebuilding systems
Of course not all outage-related costs are financial. If an outage is bad enough to grab headlines, it has an effect on the agency’s reputation, eroding trust with the people who rely on it for services.
Unfortunately, outages at federal agencies are not uncommon, often interrupting services for hours or days. In February, the Federal Reserve suffered a three-hour outage that disrupted the ability of banks to send and receive payments from other financial institutions. In 2016, a hardware failure temporarily shut down the IRS’ tax processing system. Another IRS disruption occurred in 2019 as a result of software problems.
Preventing outages is a must for federal agencies, especially as they increasingly rely on digital systems to operate. And when downtime does occur, agencies should have strategies in place that reduce the number of resources required for recovery, and keep data loss and downtime to a minimum.
Why IT Resilience Is Important for Federal Agencies
Agencies can best avoid downtime costs by implementing a robust IT resilience platform that delivers multiple functions, such as disaster recovery, hybrid cloud integration and ransomware protection. IT resilience, as defined by IDC, comes down to having the “ability to protect data during planned disruptive events, effectively react to unplanned events, and accelerate data-oriented business initiatives. As such, a resilience platform not only helps to prevent downtime but also accelerates recovery and reduces outage costs.
Currently, most federal agencies rely on legacy disaster recover (DR) solutions that don’t quite meet the definition of resilience. While the government has made serious strides in recent years to adopt multicloud and digital transformation strategies, federal agencies typically lag behind private-sector organizations in adopting new digital technologies, so they are less prepared to spot issues that cause outages. When downtime occurs, it is longer and costlier.
To change that, agencies need tools and processes to gain visibility into their full environments and effectively manage their data. Combining these capabilities in a multifunction platform is especially critical as agencies increasingly rely on environments that include hybrid, multicloud infrastructures and mobile or remote users.
How the Zerto Platform Can Help
The Zerto platform is ideally suited to the needs of federal agencies by providing continuous data protection and disaster recovery. It can help federal agencies achieve resilience and minimize the costs of downtime.
Zerto delivers data backup, disaster recovery, ransomware protection and cloud mobility in a single, scalable platform managed from a single pane of glass. The convergence of traditionally disparate functions helps significantly reduce the costs and complexities of managing multiple solutions. In addition, an environment built on various solutions for single functions requires a steeper learning curve for administrators and increases the chance of error.
The Zerto Platform can help reduce operational costs related to downtime by:
Reducing resources required to recover from an outage
Zerto simplifies administration, typically requiring only one person to manage the platform with minimal maintenance. The console is accessible anywhere and provides a complete view of the environment, making it easy to identify issues while reducing troubleshooting and accelerating resolutions. In the event of an outage, failover and the recovery process can be initiated from the same console in only a few steps. Most DR solutions make recovery cumbersome, requiring teams of people and hours of rebuilding and restoring systems. The Zerto Platform enables recovery with minimal resources and only a few steps
Minimizing data loss
Government agencies cannot afford to lose data because they have the critical responsibility of serving American citizens. Whatever the cause — natural disaster, human error, or cyber attack — data loss is costly and extremely risky. Research shows that data loss volume and costs increase every year. The need for a business continuity strategy to ensure uptime, diminish data loss, and maximize productivity in the midst of any compromising situation is a necessary digital assurance policy for any agency. It’s no longer a question of whether disaster will strike, but when. The Zerto Platform’s continuous journal-based replication makes it easy to roll back to seconds before any disruption, minimizing data loss
Resuming operations as quickly as possible
Traditional backup or snapshot technologies have Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) of as little as 15 minutes and up to 24 hours. In modern, ubiquitously digital government agency environments, RTOs and RPOs need to be as low as possible – down to seconds, not minutes or hours. Though many organizations focus on RTO to resume operations as soon as possible, it is the inability to reproduce the loss of data (RPO) that will haunt an organization long after a disaster.
To learn more about why legacy backup solutions aren’t meeting Federal agencies’ data protection needs, read the whitepaper.