Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) Solutions for Retail Companies
Published: 28 January 2022
In a world of uncertainty, retail companies need to be always prepared for the worst
In a time of uncertainty and rise of risks, companies are facing an extended range of challenges expanding through the growth of their digital footprint and type of technologies used to ensure their operational excellence, business agility and sustained innovation: other than cyber threats such as ransomware attacks, the external risk of a region-scaled failure which can be caused from natural causes (flood, fires, earthquakes and etc.) jeopardizing the entire datacenter cannot be neglected. Apart from disasters, unavailability of a company IT environment can halt all internal and external operations, which can be seen as dramatic for companies in terms of financial and reputational losses. Therefore, to fully prepare for the risks, establishing a mature Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) program is critical for companies across all industries.
Comparing to other industries, retail companies usually have a broader business scope, which even may involve products' entire lifecycle: from the production, provisioning, inventory management, order reception and fulfillment, the processes can generate massive amount of data. Moreover, to expand the user base, the retail industry players have decentralized their e-commerce activities on several different platforms instead of narrowing down their online offering to one specific channel, which can result in a complex architecture between their internal business system and other external e-commerce companies' systems. With the raising complexity of business processes and the exponential increase in data volume, it is crucial for retail companies to formulate appropriate BC/DR strategies in a timely manner to ensure the availability and integrity of the operating environment in the event of a disaster.
From our past experience of serving retail companies and helping clients to build BC/DR capabilities, we will introduce our methodology in BC/DR strategy selection and solution implementation through the series of articles "Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) Solutions for Retail Companies". This article will focus on DR location strategy selection, and how retail companies should determine the most appropriate deployment plan based on their IT characteristics and business needs.
For retail companies: Cloud DR is the optimal BC/DR strategy
Among the DR technologies available on the market, common deployment solutions include on-premises deployment, hybrid deployment and cloud deployment. The pros and cons for each option are listed below:
While selecting from the three options above, companies should consider their own IT architecture and business characteristics to determine if they are suitable for cloud migration. In addition, investment budget, recovery objective and resource requirement need to be taken into account to find the appropriate DR location. The diagram below proposes the logic to be followed while making a DR location decision:
From our past experience with retail industry, most clients are experiencing the business needs listed below, while Cloud DR can adequately address them. Therefore, we suggest that Cloud deployment is the optimal location strategy choice for retail companies to help them achieve higher operational efficiency.
Operational disruptions can bring immeasurable financial and reputational losses, while datacenter failures are often the leading cause. For retail companies which involves massive amount of transaction and customer data and requires steady operations, it is more essential to devote considerable amount of time and resources to building a BC/DR program to ensure the continuity of their operations, and choosing a suitable DR strategy is the cornerstone of settling the foundation for BC/DR capabilities.
The next article in the series, "Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) Solutions for Retail Companies – solution implementation", will introduce our main objectives and implementation steps taken while supporting companies to establish BC/DR solutions and optimize recovery capabilities. Please stay tuned for it.