When it comes to preparing for the always-possible but never-desirable data disaster, it’s important for enterprises to have a strong recovery plan in place to ensure minimal—or no—disruption to the business or its customers.
Among the most important components to any disaster recovery plan? Financing. It’s not enough to plan for the technical aspects of recovery only. To ensure continued long term-success, businesses must also consider the financial costs associated with deploying a fail-proof disaster recovery plan across the business.
For this eWEEK Data Point article, featuring industry information from Adrian Moir, lead technology evangelist at Quest Software, we discuss best practices for financing disaster recovery and keeping costs in check.
Data Point 1: Identify exactly what you have and what systems and applications are most critical across the business.
Costs can rise quickly due to elements needed to recover systems and data that were not originally accounted for. In the event of a disaster, identifying all business critical systems ahead of time will help you more easily and quickly answer important questions, such as: “How much will a changeover to an alternative data center cost?” “How many people need to be involved?” “Which systems need to be brought back first to reduce the impact on productivity?” and most importantly, “What is going to be the customer experience during the phase of recovery?” This will help the business identify the most important aspects of your disaster recovery plan and will allow you to estimate the cost for time and resources needed to complete the task.
Data Point 2: Focus on achieving business continuity and avoiding downtime at all costs.
Measured costs attributed to lost productivity over time can mount up quickly. Your No. 1 goal should be maintaining business continuity with zero impact on your employees and customers. Downtime means staff are not active, which means customers cannot be serviced. This not only has a measurable financial impact, but arguably worse is the impact on business reputation and customer trust. In some cases, this damage can be irreversible.
Data Point 3: Learn from doing with regular disaster recovery simulations.
Running regular simulations can help you gain a clear picture of how strong your existing disaster recovery plan is—and pinpoint issues and fill any gaps in your current plan accordingly. While this may seem like extra work, it will ultimately save time and money when a disaster actually happens. Unplanned expenses can impact the business the most and increase the amount of time your business remains down or offline, affecting your most valued asset: your customers.
Data Point 4: Consider cyber insurance and align insurer requests with regulatory requirements.
As more attacks, intrusions and natural disasters impact IT systems, cyber-insurance adoption has become more popular over the last few years. While some cyber-insurance naysayers view it as a lazy approach to security, the reality is that as regulations become more prevalent, organizations need to strike a balance between securing and protecting their data while also protecting their losses. For businesses already investing in cyber insurance, it is in their best interest to meet regulatory requirements to streamline financing for disaster recovery.
Data Point 5: Communicate the plan internally—all the way up to business leaders.
One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is not communicating what the entire disaster recovery plan looks like. A common disconnect lies between the C-level executives and IT teams. Business leaders should understand the impact of a well thought-out disaster recovery plan and should ask for updates on a regular basis to gain a better understanding of business, financial and customer implications of a disaster.
Data Point 6: Execute on your plan unswervingly when disaster does strike.
When disaster does strike, you need to be fast, agile, thorough and remember the goals you set in place. Execute on the plan unwaveringly; distractions will only slow you down and cost you money. Communicate clearly to all parts of the business and your customers, set clear expectations and remember all information is good even if it’s not what people want to hear.
If you manage to do all of this, your experience through one of the toughest challenges facing businesses today will be as smooth as possible.