In our previous article in this series (Data Isn’t Part of Your Business), we looked at some of the noise surrounding disaster recovery, whether it is all justified, and the vital components of an effective disaster recovery plan for your business to meet modern demands.
In this blog, we turn our attention to four key aspects of disaster recovery and how it should be viewed within the wider business as more than data back-up or recovery.
It can take years to build up a reputation as a business, but literally seconds to lose it. The impact of IT outages or data breaches on a company’s reputation in terms of dissatisfied customers, falling share prices or reduced sales cannot be understated. Or given consumer behaviours of wanting everything right there and then, even a booking website being down for a matter of minutes can have significant consequences.
Much, much more likely than any earthquake, lightning strike or alien invasion is the threat of human error from your own users – yet disaster recovery is still mainly linked by some as being worth the risk.
We’re not talking here about malicious insiders or deliberate actions – just the threat of a good employee going about their work and mistakenly opening up a ransomware email that has bypassed the company’s spam filter or firewall. Or it could be simply a case of an employee deleting the wrong folder or file, losing a laptop on a train, or using the same password as they one they use for their personal email that, unbeknown to them, was recently hacked – you know the problems.
It’s not just humans that make mistakes – machines fail too. Server need to be maintained and inevitably reach end of life, and on it goes. A comprehensive programme of back-ups is therefore a crucial part of any credible disaster recovery plan.
How regularly are you backing up data? Are back-ups conducted in real time, or on scheduled windows? And perhaps most crucially of all in terms of your disaster recovery plan, how quickly can you spin up your back-up environment should it be required? These are all important considerations when planning and considering your disaster recovery plan.
Linked in many ways to reputational damage, the need for 24/7/365 availability is crucial for some businesses. Whatever the nature of your business, downtime for your IT systems can range from anything to inconvenient to business critical. If your customers rely on your services, this can also result in lost sales for your customers. Similarly, for retail businesses that operate on thin margins for example, even the loss of one trading day as a result of IT system failure likely justifies the investment in a robust disaster recovery solution.
It’s not all doom and gloom!
Risk is a natural part of business, and life. What is important when evaluating a disaster recovery plan is to accept the risks that are potentially the most damaging to your business, and to take the appropriate measures to mitigate against them. In today’s world, this is about being able to quickly restore and re-access data, and getting your IT infrastructure back up and running as soon as possible (ideally instantly).
This is made possible through a robust approach to back-up, recovery, archiving and disaster recovery, which, if done correctly can reduce costs as well as providing full peace of mind and satisfy regulatory compliance obligations.