Having No Disaster Recovery Plan is a Catastrophe in Waiting

Recent surveys suggest that an inordinate amount of businesses have left themselves exposed to catastrophic losses because they have no IT disaster recovery plan in place.

Symantec’s 2012 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey reported only half of surveyed business organisations have plans in place for the event of a disaster or situation that could jeopardize data or otherwise inhibit their ability to conduct day-to-day operations. The survey encompassed 2,053 organizations across 30 countries, and was designed to be cross-industry in scope.

The problem is exacerbated by the additional finding that even today, data backup is performed irregularly, if at all. 50% of the organisations surveyed are at risk due to their failure to routinely backup data primary server storage on a weekly basis, or to invest in business recovery systems.

Only 26% of those participating in the 2012 survey stated that they had a full disaster recovery plan in place.

IT services companies are well aware of the consequences of failing to plan for recovery in the event of loss caused by earthquakes, floods, fire, or hackers. Because of the rise in hacking incidents and identity theft, companies are placed at greater risk than when they only faced natural disasters. Without a plan in place, such man-made threats could make it impossible for a return to normal operations.

Invaluable business data includes customer contact information, billing information, customer price quotes, vendor contact information, vendor price quotes, tax collection information and similar critical bits of information. Loss of such data would put a business in an embarrassingly untenable position. In the latest survey, only 43% claimed they had an offsite failover plan in place.

Only 21% of respondents to Symantec’s 2012 survey advised that they were very confident they could restore from the backups they have.

In some cases, data housed in remote locations is never backed up to central office. It is a requirement to perform backup verification. This process ensures that all backed up files are uncorrupted and undamaged, and that they are recoverable and readable. It serves no purpose to backup data only to learn that they are, in fact, unrecoverable at a time when files need to be recovered.

The focus towards profit-intense IT projects has left disaster recovery on the back burner. Some are awakening to the problem, perhaps because of the increased news coverage of worldwide disasters that have left nations, and businesses within, reeling to recover from earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods. However, according to the 2012 survey, it appears that the high cost of prolonged downtime has never been fully considered by business and IT managers – not until they experience a disaster themselves. 55% of the disaster recovery measure have been put into place after a catastrophic data loss has woken up the business to the danger.

It’s clear a disaster recovery plan is something businesses should be taking much more seriously – and should be implementing before the disaster strikes!