It sounds alarmist – complicated – and you don’t need it for you and your company, right?
The real value to your company is not the hardware – it is you, your hard work and your data. Think about that. How long (hours, days, weeks) can your company be out of business while you recover from an unwanted technological “event”.
Let’s talk about what Business Continuity/Disaster Planning and Recovery really means for your company’s technology. Consider these real-life client scenarios
(names and companies have been omitted):
- Your server’s hard drive melts (not kidding) – no one in your entire company can work with network files and no Business Continuity plan has been implemented. Hard drive is unrecoverable – all company data is lost
- Your Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware misses a new piece of Ransomware – your data is entirely encrypted unless you pay the ransom – or can restore from a valid backup created before infection.
- You/ your dog/your cat/your child – spews an undefined substance on your laptop and fries internal components. Guess what? The warranty expired yesterday.
I think I’ve made the case for a sound Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan. Want to hear even better news? It’s not as expensive as you might think – and it is easily implemented.
We understand that most people want to stick their head in the sand, say someday I’ll look into it, someday do a test restore of their backups, someday automate their routine or, the most dangerous:
It can’t happen to me
These things can and do occur – and we charge a lot more to recover the data than the prevention would have cost.
Have you ever been asked for your disaster recovery plan? The foreboding name almost asks for a catastrophe. That is why we counsel our clients to not make one unless they absolutely have to.
WHAT? That is crazy talk!
Bear with me.
The idea of operating a business is one that depends on many factors. For most of us, the technology that we use is the lifeline of operations. How much business could business do without the internet and their computers? In today’s world, not too much. When a disaster strikes, things often grind to a halt. But when we concentrate on containment and rebuilding, we admit to ourselves that we are willing to accept the disaster. On the other hand, what if we planned for something else? What if our plan was business continuity?
Disaster Recovery vs Business Continuity.
|EVENT||Disaster Recovery (DR)||Business Continuity (BC)|
|The server bursts into flames||1) Extinguish Flames2) Get new server
3) Locate backups
4) Restore Operating System
5) Update to latest patches
6) Restore from backup
7) Expected downtime? Weeks
|1) Extinguish Flames2) Spin up image of burned computer on BC computer
3) Continue Working
4) The IT department rebuilds while the company continues to operate
5) Expected downtime? 2 hours
|The office bursts into flames||1) Let the firemen do their jobs2) Find a new building
3) Buy new equipment
4) Locate your OFF_SITE backups (you have those, right?)
5) Start to restore your world
6) Expected downtime? Weeks, Months, NEVER ?
|1) Let the firemen do their jobs2) Spin up the server images from the remote BC server
3) Go to a local store and buy a laptop
4) Attach to remote BC server and continue working
5) Expected downtime? 1 day.
Backups have been the bane of existence of IT people since devices started failing.
- Tape drives are slow and notoriously unreliable.
- Backup hard drives are fine for archiving – but recovery is not ideal
- Backups to the cloud are ok, as long as you have a server and an operating system that will receive them
- People do not have the time to look after their own backups
- Since very few people ever do a test restore, the restoration process is foreign. The time to learn is not while the flames are being extinguished.
I was talking to the Executive Vice President of a national retail chain and he asked me if I would pay $ 1,000.00 for the pencil he had in his hand. When I told him that it was too expensive, he asked me if I would pay $ 1,000.00 for his Rolls Royce. When I told him that I would, he answered “it wasn’t too expensive … it is the same $ 1000.00. The difference is the value”.
Designing Business Continuity systems will not be done from the parking meter money you keep in your car. There is an investment to be made. However, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster. That is an alarming statistic.
The remaining question is simply math. What is the value of your business to you? What if you could prepare to continue on even in the face of natural disaster?