If a disaster recovery plan does not include remote access, “business as usual” is virtually impossible, warns business continuity expert Tim Clark, partner with The FactPoint Group in a new white paper on the subject. The goal in disaster recovery is to keep core business functions operating under all circumstances. For this reason, says Clark, remote access is key to disaster recovery, because typical business disruptions keep employees and other users away from the office and the local area network (LAN).
“The inability to operate normally or provide access to critical resources can hurt revenue, damage a company’s reputation, or mar the corporate brand,” says Clark. “This is why it’s so important for enterprises to anticipate and plan for potential disasters, and why responsibility for disaster planning requires the involvement and commitment of both technology and business sides of an organization.”
According to the paper, one technology has emerged as the leading solution for remote access: SSL VPNs, because of their inherent security, granular access controls and ease of use. With an SSL VPN, all users can access network resources from any Web-enabled system. The specific benefits of an SSL VPN for disaster recovery outlined in the white paper are: SSL VPNs are clientless, They work from any Internet browser, They operate at the application layer (not the network layer), SSL VPNs enable fine-grained access controls, They have strong end point security, SSL VPNs provide strong encryption.
To meet the requirements of a disaster recovery plan, the SSL VPN must also be able to scale quickly and easily, advises Clark. With a disaster, whether something as critical as the avian flu or something as basic as a snow storm, the number of remote users can instantly spike by the hundreds or thousands. The solution should have adequate capacity plus failover capability to ensure it can handle the increased traffic and have no downtime.
SSL VPN market leaders, such as Aventail, are making it easier for companies to prepare for such spikes. Earlier this month, Aventail launched its Spike License Pack, which works like an insurance policy toward any future eventuality requiring an instant increase in remote users. In addition to being an ideal part of a company’s overall disaster recovery plan, the Spike License also works for companies that experience seasonal spikes, such as accounting firms during tax season or retailers during the holidays.