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For some, the term ‘Disaster Recovery’ (DR) conjures up visions of racks of equipment and rows of empty desks with phones, screens and keyboards sitting there doing nothing, waiting for the day when a fire, flood or natural disaster takes out your offices and systems. When disaster strikes, you ship the business wholesale to the DR location, and after a period of recovery you eventually get everything back up and running again.

This kind of arrangement and process defined the nature of DR for many years, and that legacy remains with us as people today frequently associate DR with words like ‘complex’, ‘expensive’, ‘wasteful’ and ‘luxury’.

Yet with modern businesses being so reliant on IT systems and electronic data, the need for effective DR is arguably more important now than ever before. In the remainder of this paper we will therefore be looking at IT-related DR through a more up-to-date lens. We’ll explore how advances in communications, virtualization, cloud computing and management tools have radically changed the game. The notion of DR has essentially been democratized through a dramatic reduction in cost and complexity. This means that protection can now be cost-effectively applied to a much broader range of your systems and data – conceivably even all of your IT.

So, if it has been a while since you thought about your DR measures, or a review has been prompted by a risk assessment, compliance audit, actual disaster or some other scare, it’s worth taking some time to understand what can be achieved in light of important changes that have taken place over the past few years.

Important trends and developments

Beyond an increasing reliance on IT systems, and the relentless growth in data volumes with which you will undoubtedly be familiar, a number of more specific trends and developments have come together to open up a range of new, more modern approaches to DR.