In-Depth Disaster Recovery Planning: Questions to Consider

Business Success and Survival Depend Upon Disaster Recovery Plans

What Would Happen to Your Business If Your Most Important IT Infrastructure Or Applications Went Down Tomorrow?

Seriously—think about it. No one is immune to the potential for disaster, and the consequences are often more than most businesses can reasonably handle:

  • Inaccessible critical applications to the entire workforce or customer base
  • Data loss which may be permanent and unrecoverable
  • Halted reporting, ordering, processing, and several other key business functions
  • Staff productivity is halted entirely
  • Harm to your reputation and loss of customers
  • Financial damages, including cost of recovery, loss of profits, and potential penalties

Here are some interesting data points that we discovered while researching this post:

  • 37% of mid-sized companies and 63% of enterprise-sized companies have very little tolerance for downtime (ESG).
  • 50% of organizations can’t tolerate more than 15 minutes of downtime for their high-priority workloads and 40% can’t tolerate more than one hour of downtime for their normal workloads.
  • 20% of organizations have indicated losses of more than $50,000 to over $5 million as a result of the disaster (Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council).

Despite the above risks…

  • Over 60% of businesses do not have a fully documented Disaster Recovery plan.
  • Almost half of all Disaster Recovery plans don’t prove useful when called upon to respond to a disaster event.
  • Nearly 65% of enterprises don’t test their Disaster Recovery plans.

Every organization needs a thorough and up-to-date disaster recovery plan to ensure their critical workloads, applications, and data are protected should a disaster occur. It’s no secret that organizations are exposed to various risks and associated consequences to business should their primary hosting environment fail, including lost revenue, data, and productivity. So, what can you do to put your business in a better position of defense? Know this: if a disaster event occurs, the success and survival of your business depend on the existence and execution of a reliable disaster recovery plan.

Determining How Quickly You Need to Recover From a Disaster Situation

A good starting point for disaster recovery planning is determining your RTO and RPO objectives; these are critical numbers to understand. First, let’s identify the differences between the two.

  1. RTO: recovery time objective – The RTO describes the amount of time that can pass before a business process is restored in order to avoid intolerable consequences. It allows you to define the amount of time it will take to recover after it’s been determined that business has been disrupted.
  2. RPO: recovery point objective – The RPO is the amount of time that can pass before the amount of data lost exceeds the maximum tolerable threshold.

Formally identifying these limitations will enable your business to choose the data backup and recovery plan that best fit your disaster recovery strategy.

How Much Money Will Your Business Lose While Critical Equipment or Applications Are Down?

It’s also key to understand the financial implications of a disaster. You’ll need to analyze the potential for lost money in terms of both operational efficiency and revenue. Specific costs and their significance will be different for every business and across industries.

eCommerce companies, for example, face high costs in the event of downtime, thus will have greater limitations for their RTOs and RPOs. With retail, in general, shifting heavily towards digital, e-commerce has a great deal at stake from a cost standpoint: productivity, opportunities for sales, reputation damage, and even negative impacts to SEO. A data center outage could cost an e-commerce company up to $909,000 (Ponemon Institute). While the range of data points covering this topic is broad, it’s important to note how financially detrimental a sustained outage can be to a business.

Aside from eCommerce applications where the dollars and cents downtime equation is clear, there are often less obvious financial implications associated with downtime across other applications like ERP, CRM, CMS, Databases, etc. Think of the operational costs associated with your entire company’s staff or an individual department that is unable to perform typical tasks due to application downtime. Also, if applications are unavailable for some time, there is often reconciliation work that must be performed manually to get business data up-to-date following a breach, which requires valuable employee time. While these financial impacts will vary across different businesses and departments, it’s important to look at the impacts of a disaster holistically.

Do You Know How Would You Recover From a Critical System or Data Failure Today? Plans Should Be in Place!

Once you’ve defined your recovery objectives and potential costs of downtime, you’ll want to get into the core of your DR plan. Covering all your bases is critical! For this reason, a DRP should be included in your Business Continuity Plan as a complete set of procedures to reduce downtime by focusing on the most effective way to recover.

If you don’t have full confidence that your internal IT resources can execute disaster recovery planning effectively, do not move forward without proper support. Details will get overlooked and you’ll wind up with an ineffective plan in the event of a disaster situation. You’re best off selecting a reliable DR partner who can help you with your planning and offers diverse options. Some common disaster recovery strategies that we have helped develop for our clients include:

  • Failover or backup of data from an on-premises data center into a co-location environment
  • Failover from a primary colocation environment to a secondary co-location environment in another data center
  • Virtual continuous replication (failover) via Virtual Private Servers deployed across two separate data centers
  • Failover from a co-location or private cloud environment into the public cloud (ex: Amazon Web Services)

Business Success Depends On a Reliable Disaster Recovery Plan

In summary, before engaging with a third-party provider, consider the following questions:

  • What would happen to your business if your most important equipment or applications went down tomorrow?
  • How much data can your business afford to lose?
  • How would you recover from a critical system or data failure today?
  • How quickly do you need to recover from a disaster situation?
  • How much money does your business lose while critical equipment is down?

The answers to these questions will vary from business to business, but the most important thing to remember is that for your business to survive in an unexpected catastrophe, you need to have a proper Disaster Recovery plan in place. If you don’t already have the expertise in-house, there are a number of managed hosting providers that offer sophisticated Disaster Recovery solutions, including Centrilogic. We’ve introduced an enhanced Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service solution to help organizations protect their business. Our DRaaS solution enables clients to continuously replicate their hosting infrastructure to a failover environment, either across Centrilogic data centers and/or to specific client sites.