Assessing the Worth of Disaster Recovery Technology

January 11, 2021

As enterprises adjust to full teams that work from home, the question of disaster recovery becomes more pressing. A remote worker may have no experience executing a disaster recovery plan, and even the IT team may be little prepared to handle a crisis when workers are dispersed across different locations and with different technology situations.

Disaster in Its Many Forms

Hardware and software failures are responsible for some downtime, but it can also stem from power or internet outages that impact the network. A disaster can be completely outside the control of the enterprise as well – from earthquakes, fires, and floods to a simple employee error.

Planning for disaster recovery requires a multi-dimensional approach. Teams need to begin by identifying what is within the control of IT, and what can be considered unpredictable. In addition, it’s helpful in early planning to decide which aspects of disaster recovery can be handled in house, versus what needs to be outsourced. Does there need to be an investment in disaster recovery technology? It also helps to think about whether you should consider that technology a cost or if it can be seen as a return on investment (ROI).

The Cost of Downtime

Many enterprises do not take the important step of quantifying what downtime would cost them, and even fewer take into account the cost of potential legal fees or the cost of replacing lost customers. The ITIC 2019 Global Server Hardware, Server OS Reliability Survey revealed that 98% of companies surveyed estimated that one hour of downtime can cost over $100,000; and 86% of respondents put that estimate much higher at around $300,000 or more. Approximately 34% of enterprises say that costs are closer to between $1 million and $5 million.

While these figures don’t include factors like civil penalties for regulatory non-compliance or the cost of regaining a customer, they also don’t take into account the higher risk for small or medium-sized businesses. Downtime during a critical transaction or peak usage hours could even put a smaller company out of business.

Disaster Recovery Planning and Discovery Planning Technology

A disaster recovery plan is executed and fully equipped for use with a hope of never needing it. In this respect, the investment is similar to buying insurance. You will want to calculate what the fair price would be for that type of insurance, while considering both the costs and the likelihood of a disaster occurring. Two important factors to consider:

  • The reasonable recovery time objective (RTO), or the time at which production operations can begin following a disaster. This is generally zero to 24 hours.
  • The recovery point objective (RPO), quantifying the data that could be lost without permanently endangering the enterprise.

Generally speaking, the cost of disaster recovery technology increases as the RTO becomes shorter. Your goal is to identify and itemize the losses created by a disaster so that you can determine the breakeven for downtime versus the disaster recovery technology.

Identifying the Best Solution

When choosing disaster recovery technology, it’s important to consider the wide range of potential events, including those that may be impacted by the current work-from-home workforce. There may be exclusions to the solution you choose, so watch for the following to be included:

  • Hacker or terrorist attacks
  • Earthquake, flood, fire, and other weather-related disasters
  •  Employee error
  • Loss of power at the local level
  • Network connectivity
  •  Software problems

You may determine that disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the best option to provide full coverage or to cover gaps in your own plan. Be sure to closely examine the service level agreement (SLA) so that you can be sure you’re comparing solutions accurately. Watch for vague language or exceptions that can make what seems to be a reasonably-priced solution a costly one in the long run.To begin creating your disaster recovery plan, including all the considerations for your work-from-home employees, contact us at Access Tech. From determining your needs to assessing potential providers, we can assist you in creating a safer IT environment.

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