The modern organization’s heavy dependence on using data to drive their business has made having a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in place a necessity. Unfortunately, disasters can strike in a number of ways, including cyber threats, natural disasters and even human error, all potentially leading to catastrophic data loss and downtime. DR is key to preventing serious and lasting damage from these threats.
What is Disaster Recovery (DR)?
So what is Disaster Recovery? DR refers to having a system and plan in place to resume normal operations following one of these damaging events. Recovery is primarily focused on regaining access to data but recovering hardware and software should also be a major concern. The process of recovering data consists of replicating all data present in an organization’s database into what’s called a backup and storing it in a secondary location far enough removed that there’s virtually no way it could be affected by the same disaster.
Disaster Recovery Vs. Business Continuity
This concept may seem familiar to those who’ve heard of business continuity plans. While DR and business continuity plans are related, they are not interchangeable. Business continuity casts a wider net – it’s concerned with recovering all business operations following a disaster. DR is, in fact, a subset of business continuity. It’s focused solely on recovering the IT side of the organization.
Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS)
The best option for preparing for a disaster is to find a disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) provider. Attempting to manually backup an entire organization’s data would be incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive. Using software products hosted on-premises will streamline the process of creating backups and automatically restoring data but because it lives on hardware, it is still at risk.
DRaaS, on the other hand, is delivered over the cloud, so it removes the risk of compromised hardware altogether. Many organizations have shifted to a cloud or hybrid-cloud network, which makes DRaaS a good option due to better integration with their existing infrastructure. It’s also low cost, easy to deploy and offers testing of backups and automatic recovery so you can be sure you’re prepared when disaster strikes.
Reasons You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan
Reliance on Data
As stated previously, modern organizations rely heavily on data to make better business decisions. If large amounts of valuable data is lost, business operations can be brought to a halt for longer than it would take to resolve the issue that caused the disaster because there’s no data to base business decisions on.
Dependence on Cloud Services
Many organizations rely heavily on cloud-based services. If you experience an outage due to cyber attacks or a natural disaster, employees lose their access to critical business applications. While the issue is being resolved, employee productivity will be seriously impacted.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the costs of ransomware worldwide will reach $20 billion by 2021. If data is encrypted and held ransom, you are still in control with DR and won’t have to pay a ransom.
High Recovery Costs
Without a plan in place, frantically trying to resolve permanent data loss and hardware replacement quickly becomes expensive.
The Benefits of Disaster Recovery
The benefits of having a well-laid out DR plan far outweigh the costs of preparation.
Recover Your Business
Without backups of an entire organization’s data, getting back on your feet will be extremely costly. Investing in DR now will save you incomparable costs after a disaster. You will also be able to get your business back up and running more quickly.
Even if a disaster occurs, you may be able to avoid business disruptions altogether with Disaster Recovery. With DRaaS, data and workloads will be moved to a server in another location and will remain operable. You can continue to deliver products and services during and after an event, maintain your competitive position and your employees can continue being productive.
Some industries are legally required to have DR plans in place to avoid the compromisation of users’ sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII). The industries of primary concern are the financial industry, with regulations such as Basel III, and the health industry, with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Protect Your Brand Image
If you’re able to continue functioning despite a disaster, your customers will see you as dependable, and your reputation will be enhanced as a result. Customers will have more trust in your business and won’t go to a competitor because they can’t use your product/service. This also shows current and potential investors you’re prepared for even the worst situations so they won’t lose out on their investment.
Improve Your Position with Insurance Companies
If insurance companies are confident in your abilities to handle a disaster in a financially responsible fashion, they will be more inclined to do business with you.
Find Areas for Improvement
You may find areas for improvement in the business while identifying potential risks and inefficiencies when developing a DR plan.
Disaster Recovery with COVID-19
The COVID-19 global pandemic has made clear the repercussions of not being prepared for the unexpected. Most industries were negatively impacted because they did not take the proper precautions for a disaster. For example, some did not have the infrastructure to support a large team of remote workers, so it took time to get their team set up with the resources to work from home. This caused harmful downtime. Others simply did not have the insurance plans to cover damage inflicted by a pandemic. You should take the initiative to plan for disaster now, to keep you and your organization safe in the future.