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Balancing Cost, Risk and Complexity in Your Disaster Recovery Strategy

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Synopsis

In the face of more frequent disaster situations and a higher reliance on technology, disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity have become absolutely vital for maintaining an edge in today’s competitive business environment. Successful companies embrace a multitiered catalog of recovery technologies connected by a unified management platform. This approach enables IT departments to continuously balance cost vs. risk, leverage the cloud for DR, and protect data accordingly.

Building a solid tiered DR catalog is challenging for most organizations. Companies often rely on third-party consultants and technical experts to help them transform their legacy IT approaches to realize the most value. Disaster recovery should be no exception. This paper outlines key considerations for balancing cost, risk and complexity when implementing a comprehensive DR strategy and provides guidance on how to realize a pragmatic future
state.

THE FACE OF DISASTER RECOVERY IS CHANGING

Disaster management and business continuity activities are absolutely vital for maintaining an edge in today’s competitive business environment. Even our largest cities must deal with the effects of hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes. In northeastern Japan the Tohoku earthquake had devastating consequences on its people and infrastructure in 2011. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami left over 900,000 buildings damaged and interrupted operations for many large Japan based corporations. The most recent, high profile disaster in the US, Hurricane Sandy, impacted the American financial district and affected more than 25% of the US population to varying degrees and brought large parts of the New York City area to a standstill. Since the 1950s, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has tracked disaster declarations and relief requests. The data shown in Figure 1 makes it clear that the long-term trend for major disaster declarations is on the rise. In the 1950s, disaster declarations numbered in the teens annually. During the 1970s, the annual US disasters ranged in the low 30s. During the past decade, declarations peaked in 2011 with 99 declared disasters.

There are many reasons for this spike in disaster declarations; one of which is undoubtedly the growing sensitivity we have towards the impact of environmental factors on our national infrastructure. Computer technology has become a critical component for the way businesses manage their supply chain, market and sell to customers, and even how they communicate with investors. Growth and globalization, along with a fundamental reliance on computer technologies, have enhanced our lives and improved business efficiency. This reliance also means the cost of a disaster is higher than it has ever been.

TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT DISASTER RECOVERY

As companies become more dependent on technology to conduct even simple business tasks, it’s clear that protecting against disaster is vital for business success over the long haul. Disaster recovery planning and design are necessary activities that, if overlooked, will place your company in a very uncomfortable position. Imagine explaining to thousands of customers why you’re not open, when your competitor across the street has actually extended hours. How would you tell your key suppliers that deliveries will not be needed or that payments will be delayed? Will your shareholders be sympathetic to a material impact on revenue and profits resulting from poor disaster planning?