One of our customers was located in the World Trade Center. Fortunately, they had a Business Continuation plan, and were able to resume operations almost immediately from another location after 9/11. There are blackouts, there are natural disasters, there are catastrophes – do you want your website to still be available?
Ask your potential provider what their business continuation plan is. Having UPS (Uninterrupted Power Source) is great – but if a disaster hits the building, the UPS may not be helpful enough. A real Business Continuation plan must include off-site servers that will kick in when the main servers are down. The service should have regular exercises where they simulate a disruption of service at the main location and pick up from the remote location.
Have you read stories of New Orleans companies that managed well after the hurricane in 2005? The ones that managed well had a Business Continuation plan in place.
There may be stages involved in Business Continuation. There may be a minimum level of service that will kick in immediately, and full service only after a certain amount of time has passed and resources have been redeployed. The purpose of the exercises is to make sure the personnel responsible for keeping the remote site running are trained in their duties and confident in their ability to carry out their duties.
The phrase “Business Continuation” implies a more proactive approach than the term “Disaster Recovery”. It implies making a plan, having resources in place, having personnel trained, running mock disasters to see how it works, and updating the plan as necessary.
If your service does not have an effective Business Continuation plan, you may suffer much down-time and loss of business as a result.