Why are firms poor at disaster recovery?

10 Feb

If a firm has IT systems inside their business, then Business Continuity is an important part of what they should be thinking about. One of the biggest fears for the IT manager of any company is the catastrophic loss of data – this might be through a server failure, a data loss or a power overload causing a server to go down. Not only will the firm lose the data, issues will arise over compliance, legal implications with regards to loss of data and the exposure and public relations issues, all of which can have a huge impact on the running of a business. It is therefore essential that all businesses have a Business Continuity plan for their IT services.

Disaster recovery used to be reserved for large enterprises, but in the increasingly 24/7 business world, more and more midmarket firms are finding they can’t afford not to keep things running. And high-availability requirements are growing all the time.” [1]

Some companies are just poor at IT disaster recovery in general and there are a number of reasons for this, such as:

  • Regulatory Compliance: A lot of companies tend to be under rules and regulations about how the data should be kept and secured, who should and shouldn’t have access to it and of course the often high cost of having a data recovery infrastructure.
  • Processes and Procedures: These have to be constantly updated and tested. In addition there has to be consideration taken for the risk of errors – a lot of these systems will involve human processes and therefore will be prone to human error.
  • Lack of Testing: A lack of test strategies inside the organisation to ensure the disaster recovery processes actually work. “The impacts of failing to test, however, are a significant erosion in the investment made in developing a technology recovery solution. Failure to exercise plans and people, or only ‘testing’ once a year, leaves an organization and its recovery capabilities unprepared for an actual incident.” [2]
  • Time to Restore the Data: Once the disaster has struck. If a company is only using one tape to store the data on and this gets lost or is destroyed during the recovery process, the data may be gone forever and be unrecoverable.
  • Logistical Problems: If the data is off-site, it may be both difficult and problematic to get it back. This can be particularly so if the disaster happens outside of office hours or on a bank holiday. Sending C.D.’s and tapes between sites may result in some storage devices being lost.

“More than 60% of U.S. small businesses do not have a formal emergency-response plan and fail to back up their financial data off-site, leaving them vulnerable to catastrophic data loss in the event of a natural disaster.” [3] This is a figure released by ‘Small Business Disaster Preparedness Study’ (2012) [4] – In essence, these businesses are simply not prepared for any kind of disaster and are leaving themselves vulnerable to what could be catastrophic effects, maybe even the loss of the entire company.

When a disaster strikes, a business needs to be 100% sure that they can recover their systems and servers both quickly and efficiently.

[1] http://searchcio-midmarket.techtarget.com/magazineContent/Roadmap-to-Recovery?pageNo=1

[2] http://www.sungardas.com/Documents/FiveReasonsWhyDisasterRecoveryPlansFail_EBO-008.pdf

[3] http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/News/20126135

[4] http://na.sage.com/sage-na/newsroom/~/media/site/sagena/documents/surveys/sage%20survey%202012%20backup%20report

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