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Top Five Disaster Recovery Risks of Mid-sized Businesses

July 28, 2014
When a disaster strikes, businesses need to be ready to quickly restore their systems to sustain productivity and the integrity of their data. Disaster recovery (DR) is essential for every business, yet the costs and complexity of developing and maintaining a DR plan can be overwhelming – especially for mid-sized businesses with limited budgets and resources.

While MSBs need to be mindful of their budgetary restraints, skimping – or worse, avoiding – an appropriate recovery plan is like inviting disaster. With an effective DR plan, MSBs can maximize disaster recovery efforts to maintain data integrity and productivity. Among the five tops risks that MSBs face in planning for DR are:

  1. Lack of a disaster recovery plan
  2. Inappropriate data center location
  3. Inadequate resources
  4. High costs of DR technology
  5. Response and recovery time
  1. Lack of a Disaster Recovery Plan

    The first step MSBs must acknowledge is their need for a DR plan. In business, downtime results in lost revenue and productivity, so it is in every business’ best interest to maintain peak uptime. Being prepared to handle outages quickly and successfully is key to this. However, many companies do not fully implement a DR plan until it is too late – they react to disastrous situations rather than plan for them. This can likely be attributed to the complexity and arduousness of the process, not to mention the steep costs of infrastructure, ongoing testing and maintenance, and necessary staffing resources. While the direct costs can be high, the peripheral costs – lost data, reduced productivity, and a sullied reputation – can also take a staggering toll. Despite these hurdles, MSBs must commit to a DR plan. One DR option is integrating their DR plan with a cloud service provider (CSP) with the know-how to optimize recovery planning and procedures, minimize downtime, and help alleviate many of the additional DR risks that MSBs face.

  2. Inappropriate Data Center Locations

    While there is no absolute formula for choosing an optimal secondary site, geographic diversity is essential. Finding and then operating the secondary site can be an expensive and labor-intensive undertaking for MSBs with limited dollars and staffing. The research involved in finding the “ideal” location for the secondary site can be staggering – it must be close enough for employees to travel to for testing and recovery needs, yet far enough away to avoid being impacted by the same outage as the production site. Couple this with the need for a secure site with leading-edge technology, a redundant environment, and a professional staff, and the challenge becomes more daunting.

  3. Inadequate Resources

    Every DR solution relies on trained, experienced staff to maintain, monitor and enact DR efforts. With limited budgets and smaller staffs, most MSBs do not have experienced DR personnel. However, skilled personnel is critical to maintaining an effective DR initiative.

    Travel time to the secondary site also effects resource availability, and can be a time-consuming commitment that takes people away from their other responsibilities. When resources are stretched – as they are in most MSBs – day-to-day work can take precedence over testing and maintenance, especially when significant travel time is involved. Despite these challenges, MSBs must make a commitment to providing the resources necessary to for an effective DR solution – and this includes scheduled testing to ensure procedures and systems are functioning properly. A CSP can supplement a DR plan to provide onsite experienced staff to test and monitor systems and react to various risks or outages – freeing MSB staff to conduct their day-to-day business objectives.

  4. High Costs of DR Technology 

    Without a doubt, MSBs have invested heavily in their onsite technology, and of course, want to continue to use these investments. However, DR requires two locations and the costs of a secondary site with leading-edge technology and a high level of redundancy can be exorbitant. Developing this environment may not be the best option for MSBs. A CSP can provide Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to offer state-of-the-art technology, redundancy, and DR best practices now and in the future. Through multi-tenant environments it also offers a cost-effective solution – a potential win-win for MSBs looking to maximize their IT dollars while engaging first-class technology.

  5. Response and Recovery Time

    The costs of having an experienced person at a secondary site may not be in the cards for all MSBs. However, without someone onsite to quickly initiate failover processes, response time can be long – increasing the amount of downtime, reducing productivity, and ultimately impacting profitability. A CSP can offer onsite, trained staff to quickly respond to and initiate recovery – minimizing downtime. With CSPs, service level agreements can also be written into contracts to ensure that response time is appropriate and meets the needs of the MSB.

    Implementing a DR plan can be a challenge for MSBs given its costs and implementation issues. However, without an appropriate DR plan, MSBs run the risk of lost data, disrupted services, and excessive downtime – all of which are detrimental to business. While the costs may be high, the risks are higher. MSBs should take the necessary steps to ensure that DR is part of their corporate plan.


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