Our reliance on technology has dramatically increased over the past decade and people have much less tolerance to IT downtime. This trend is anticipated to continue and see us become even more reliant on IT, particularly as centennials come of age and become part of the workforce. In this technology dependant world, more than ever, businesses need to be prepared for the unexpected, whether it is a temporary power outage or a full-scale disaster. In a digital era where data is king, the idea of losing that data and protecting assets should be enough to encourage businesses to be prepared for any kind of emergency.
A Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is a structured approach on how an organisation responds in the event of a disaster which negatively affects the daily IT running’s of the company. We recommended that organisations implement their DR plan as part of their business continuity planning process to protect them from various types of incidents including cyber threat, natural disaster, host failure, network outage, fire or flood.
Why do you need a DR plan?
Nobody is immune from disaster and the cost of not having a plan can pose serious risk to organisations. Research indicates that 60% of organisations don’t have a fully documented disaster recovery plan even though a lack of disaster recovery planning can be disastrous for a business.
Without a robust DR plan, organisations face not only financial risk but also operational and reputational risks, which many cannot recover from.
This does not mean that businesses who have DR plans are completely protected from costly disasters. But they will recover from an incident as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Taking the time to understand your Recovery Point Objective and determine how frequently you need to backup depending on how much data you are willing to lose is fundamental. Furthermore, understanding your Recovery Time Objective is also crucial so that you know how long your systems can be down.
But having this understanding and an aligned plan that is tailored to your specific operational requirements is not enough. You cannot write the plan then, tick the check box and forget about it. That won’t cut it. Ongoing monitoring, reviewing and testing of systems is required as well as regular communication and planning. The DR plan should be put through its paces regularly to ensure it evolves as the business evolves. Simple measures like having the correct documentation collated and stored together seems basic but it matters. Does your company know where the following data is saved?
- Details of emergency response actions that are immediately required
- List and contact numbers of key contacts, including the Marketing and Communications team who may have to deal with media enquiries
- Blueprints of the building
- Details of the networks and information on most recent back-ups
- List of all software currently in use
- Copy of building and contents insurance
- Ready to use documentation to help fulfil the DR plan
Compromised IT systems can be devastating if an organisation does not have a DR plan in place. Can you really afford not to have a plan?
Implementing a DR plan is invaluable to all businesses and those with a recovery plan are 96% more likely to fully recover from a disaster. Whereas 90% of organisations who are not prepared cease trading as a direct result.
The Aberdeen Group reported that businesses experience 2.3 interruptions every year. An email or web outage costs between £3837 – £8969 annually and last approximately one hour per episode. In the past five years over 50% of businesses have experienced an outage lasting more than one day and an IT outage is one of many potential incidents that could be costly. Burying your head in the sand and thinking “It will never happen to us” is not really an option – businesses cannot afford not to have a DR plan in place.
And remember, a disaster comes in all shapes and sizes so you must consider all eventualities. Even a small outage can have huge impact. For example, something as basic as an office relying on their software to operate entrance doors to their building can find themselves dealing with a temporary crisis. If staff cannot enter your office, productivity will be down, frustrations will be high, and the end-result will always impact the bottom line.
The development and implementation of a DR plan does take considerable time and resources to configure but is invaluable and will hugely benefit the business on a number of levels in the long term if affected by an event that disrupts or jeopardises the daily operations of an organisation.
If you don’t have a DR plan, don’t take the risk. Get in touch today.