Some companies have a dirty little secret. They lack an adequate disaster recovery (DR) plan. Medical software developer Dr. First conducted a DR preparedness survey that revealed that only 29% of healthcare organizations have a comprehensive DR plan in place.
Operating with a flawed or limited DR plan is like playing with fire. According to the IT networking site Spiceworks, 59% of organizations report experiencing 1 to 3 outages in the last 12 months.
The only way to know if your company has a robust enough DR plan is to ask some pointed questions. Once you have the answers, your company can explore the best options for DR and formulate a winning plan.
1) How long can I afford to experience downtime?
Downtime is expensive. Lost productivity means lost revenue. Employees get paid for sitting idle. Assembly lines shut down. Customers can’t request and receive products and services. Some clients may be lost forever.
Statista found that almost a quarter of companies have lost between $301,000 and $400,000 just from one hour of downtime in the last couple of years. Considering the high cost of downtime, your business needs to think about what recovery time objectives (RTOs) need to be met to avoid breaking the bank. Any DR plan you develop must meet these RTOs.
2) What happens if my DR provider gets hit by a natural disaster?
DR providers are supposed to deliver backup and failover after your company’s data center gets hit by a flood, hurricane, blizzard, or blackout. If your DR provider is close by, it may suffer an outage as well, making you unable to recover data.
When choosing a DR provider, there is a sweet spot between finding a provider that is:
- Local and close enough to ensure that when you failover, your applications run smoothly and don’t suffer from high latency that comes with too great a distance
- Far enough away to avoid being hit by the same disaster that cripples your on-site data center
3) How much data can I afford to lose?
Recovery point objectives (RPOs) can be just as important as RTOs. If your company relies on real-time data to make decisions, you need to achieve the smallest RPO windows possible. This means that you may need continuous data replication or frequent snapshot-based replication.
If your company only backs up once a day, you will lose up to 24 hours of new data and information updates when an outage hits. Even if you recover, your data will be inaccurate and incomplete, and your business could be flying blind.
4) What data and applications are essential to my business?
Weathering a disaster is like a rescue attempt on a sinking ship: the most vulnerable, susceptible patrons should be saved first. What information is mission-critical for your organization? Which applications does your business need so it can function? These vital resources get a seat in the lifeboats.
Any disaster recovery plan you develop should prioritize the resources your business needs to operate optimally. Healthcare organizations must ensure access to electronic health records and patient portals. Financial organizations need to back up client-facing applications so customers can access their accounts.
5) How long has it been since my company tested its DR plan?
Spiceworks reported that although 95% of companies have a DR plan, almost a quarter of organizations never test their plan. 29% of businesses test their plan only once a year.
A disaster recovery plan shouldn’t be “set it and forget it.” Conditions change. Your business can outgrow its backup resources. The last thing your company wants is to find out its plan doesn’t work after a disaster strikes. DR plans should be tested at least once a quarter to ensure that they will work when needed.
The Answer to All Your DR Problems
Once you’ve answered these questions, how do you make sure your DR plan meets all your company’s requirements?
Cloud-based disaster recovery is a great solution. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) ensures that your company has robust enough DR to avoid experiencing crippling downtime and data loss.
FirstLight is proud to partner with Veeam for its DRaaS offering. DRaaS will help your company accelerate recovery times and narrow recovery point windows. Cloud-based DR allows for instant failover and scales to meet changing backup requirements.
Get more details on DRaaS from FirstLight. Access our DRaaS fact sheet.