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Top five disaster recovery risks

These are the Disaster Recovery (DR) pitfalls that most often trip up an IT team

09 / 27 / 2023
4 minute read
Disaster Recovery Team

With malware, breaches, phishing, ransomware and other cyberattacks on the rise, Disaster Recovery is essential for every business. That said, the costs and complexity of developing and maintaining a DR plan can be overwhelming. While businesses need to be mindful of their budgetary restraints, skimping on – or worse, avoiding – an appropriate recovery plan is like inviting disaster. Among the five top risks that businesses face in planning for DR are:

  1. Lack of a disaster recovery plan
  2. Inappropriate data center location
  3. Inadequate resources and lack of testing
  4. High costs of DR technology
  5. Slow response and recovery time

1. Lack of a disaster recovery plan

The first step is to acknowledge a need for a DR plan. Downtime results in lost revenue and productivity, so it is in every business' best interest to maintain peak uptime. Being prepared to handle outages quickly and successfully is key. However, many companies do not fully implement a DR plan until it is too late – they react to disastrous situations, rather than plan for them. This can be attributed to the complexity and arduousness of the process, not to mention the increasing costs of infrastructure, ongoing testing and maintenance, and necessary staffing resources. While the direct costs can be high, the peripheral costs – lost data, reduced productivity and a sullied reputation – can also take a staggering toll.

There is an easier way. Integrating a DR plan with a cloud service provider can help optimize recovery planning and procedures, minimize downtime and help alleviate many of the additional DR risks that businesses face.

2. Inappropriate data center locations

While there is no absolute formula for choosing an optimal secondary site, geographic diversity is essential. Finding and then operating the secondary site can be an expensive and labor-intensive undertaking for businesses with limited dollars and staffing. Just the research involved in finding the “ideal” location for the secondary site can be staggering – it must be close enough for employees to travel to for testing and recovery needs, yet far enough away to avoid being impacted by the same outage as the production site. Couple this with the need for a secure site with leading-edge technology, a redundant environment and a professional staff, and the challenge becomes more daunting.

3. Inadequate resources and lack of testing

Some IT operations have very small staffs, which means they can lack experienced DR personnel. However, skilled personnel are critical to maintaining an effective DR initiative.

Travel time to the secondary site also affects resource availability, and can be a time-consuming commitment that takes people away from their other responsibilities. When resources are stretched, day-to-day work can take precedence over testing and maintenance, especially when significant travel time is involved. Despite these challenges, businesses must make a commitment to providing the resources necessary for an effective DR solution – and this includes scheduled testing to ensure procedures and systems are functioning properly. A cloud service provider can supplement a DR plan to provide onsite experienced staff to test and monitor systems and react to various risks or outages – freeing internal staff to conduct their day-to-day business objectives.

4. High costs of DR technology 

Disaster recovery requires two locations ‑ and the costs of a secondary site with leading-edge technology and a high level of redundancy can be exorbitant. Developing this additional environment may not be the best option for all organizations.

A cloud service provider providing disaster recovery, or DRaaS, can offer state-of-the-art technology, redundancy and DR best practices now and in the future. By providing multi-tenant environments, it can also offer a cost-effective solution – a potential win-win for businesses looking to maximize their IT dollars while engaging first-class technology.

5. Slow response and recovery time

Having an experienced person at a secondary site may seem extravagant, but without someone on-site to quickly initiate failover processes, response time can be long – increasing the amount of downtime, reducing productivity and ultimately impacting profitability. A cloud service provider can offer on-site, trained staff to quickly respond to and initiate recovery – minimizing downtime. With these providers, service level agreements can also be written into contracts to ensure that response time is appropriate and meets the needs of the business.

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