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Disaster Recovery Plan Barriers… and How to Overcome Them

Authors Photo Christopher Tozzi | February 28, 2020

Disaster recovery should be as central to your data management strategy as data security and reliability. But the fact is that it’s not at most organizations. Here’s how to overcome the challenges that most organizations face in implementing an effective disaster recovery plan.

According to our “State of Resilience” survey from January 2018, a full 85 percent of IT professionals report that their organizations either have no disaster recovery plan in place, or are not confident in the ability of their disaster recovery plans to meet their goals.

That’s a pretty remarkable figure. Although disaster recovery may not be the most exciting topic for many IT professionals, it’s a crucial one for any business that wants to guarantee its survival following unexpected events.

Six common disaster recovery plan hurdles

To build an effective disaster recovery plan — and avoid being counted among the 85 percent of professionals whose organizations lack one — you need to overcome the following disaster recovery hurdles:

1. Thinking backups are enough

Backing up data is part of the disaster recovery process. But it is only a part.

A full disaster recovery solution requires data backups and a plan for restoring data quickly following a disaster.

2. Thinking cloud data is safe

If your data is stored in the cloud, you may think it can never disappear.

In reality, there are lots of reasons why cloud-based data can be lost, ranging from cyber attacks and accidental data deletion to a failure on the part of your cloud provider. Even if you make extensive use of the cloud, you should still have a disaster recovery plan in place.

3. Only focusing on compliance

In some cases, organizations may fail to implement effective disaster recovery because there are no compliance pressures for them to do so. Compliance frameworks are less likely to mandate disaster recovery than they are to regulate things like data security. However, compliance requirements shouldn’t be the reason you implement disaster recovery.

You should have it in place for the sake of protecting your business and your customers, not because a government regulator tells you to create a disaster recovery plan.

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4. Failure to understand what “disaster” means

The term disaster recovery can be a bit misleading.

To some people, it implies that disaster recovery is necessary only for organizations that are at risk of suffering a major disaster, like a hurricane or massive fire that wipes out their data center. Those types of events are rare (especially if your data center is located in a region not prone to major natural disasters).

The reality is that disasters come in many forms, and they may not always be large-scale. The failure of a single server could be a disaster if the server contains critical data that you cannot recover. Disaster recovery is about preparing for all types of disruptions, not just the fire-and-brimstone variety.

5. Lack of training

Your IT staff are well versed in tasks like installing software and storing data. Those are the things they learn in training programs and from on-the-job experience. But chances are that most of them lack prior experience with disaster recovery, and never formally studied the topic as part of training. This means that teaching your team to implement proper disaster recovery will require them to invest time in learning something new.

6. Lack of time and money

Spare time and money tend to be in short supply at most organizations. But this shouldn’t be a reason for not investing in disaster recovery planning — especially when you consider how much the absence of a disaster recovery solution will cost you in the long run.

Downtime costs vary according to the size of your business, of course, but put simply, they are enormous. Downtime also leads to employee productivity loss on the order of 78 percent. That’s a lot of money and staff time that can be saved by having an effective disaster recovery plan in place before a disruption occurs.

To learn more and to obtain a basic understanding of the building blocks of IT and business continuity, read our white paper: The One Essential Guide to Disaster Recovery: How to Ensure IT and Business Continuity