Research: Lessons UK plc wishes it had learned about disaster recovery and business continuity

At the last count there were 1.2m Google search results for ‘business continuity tips’.  You could spend weeks downloading templates, checklists and golden rules, and decades reading it all.

So let me summarise it all for you:

  • Know all your risks
  • Make a robust plan
  • Test it regularly

The fact is, that when it comes to business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) planning, the easiest thing in the world is to scribble down all your asset values, recovery time objectives and risk probabilities.

So here is the 4th one:

  • Deploy the right technology

Selecting a solution that’s right for your organisation is the hardest part about BC/DR. We asked a sample of our enterprise customers what they wished they knew about this subject before they invested the time to ask questions and find out more.  Around half are senior business decision makers within their organisation, in charge of finance, operations and/or overall management.  The remainder have direct responsibility for IT.

This is what they came up with:

Human error always makes a bad situation worse

Human beings really do get in the way of a good technical solution, so look for intelligent automated processes in everything from backup procedures to testing and reporting.  Many of our sample reported how this improves the speed and accuracy of processes, and elevates human intervention to matters of strategy rather than mind-numbing administration.

Hardware, software, cloud – it’s essentially the same thing

The idea that cloud is strange, new-fangled and somehow less secure than traditional approaches to BC/DR is preposterous.  Coming to that realisation more quickly would have benefited a number of our sample respondents.

One Finance Director commented: “Whatever the blend of virtualised server elements, physical infrastructure or managed service connectivity remember that it’s the quality of software and hardware you’re buying into.”

An IT Infrastructure Manager pointed out how established cloud technology actually is: “How long have you used voicemail?  Well unless your phone is connected to a tape machine, you’ve been using a cloud service for decades.”

Little and often is less risky than big and bulky

BC/DR is all about hitting the rewind button to the nearest possible point before the incident occurred.  Our non-IT sample found it helpful to think about the technology in such simple terms, and drove all of them to look for solutions that minimise disruption and conserve bandwidth by making incremental backups.

Ultimately the consensus is that you should expect that the delivery of a good BC/DR strategy has zero impact on day-to-day business operations, and only becomes visible when it’s called into action.

Don’t unwittingly create a honeypot for hackers

The whole purpose of BC/DR is to ensure that your operations are always able to depend upon access to your most valuable data, no matter what happens.  This naturally involves storing data in multiple places, which is where IT security risks can creep up on you.

None of our customers reported any security breaches that they’d suffered as a result of their BC/DR solutions, but high profile cases exist in every vertical sector.  The advice is not to overlook the security aspects of good data governance when evaluating technologies for your BC/DR strategy.  This is essential for regulatory compliance purposes, let alone the other business implications of losing data or enduring hours or days of chaotic business disruption.

Encryption, malware protection and robust access privileges were identified as some of the more common measures necessary to stop determined attackers going after your data goldmine.

BC/DR technology continues to evolve rapidly – so take advantage!

Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic change in storage technologies fuelled by the movement to virtualisation, resulting in lower costs, higher performance and better protection than ever before.  As the building blocks of a BC/DR solution, these technologies guarantee minimal disruption in the event of a disaster or other major failure.

Whether or not you are comfortable with all the jargon – SANs, SSD, hyperconvergence, hybrid arrays; the list is endless – if you can stay focused on your business case and demand the highest standards in uptime and ROI, your organisation can only prosper from it.

Working closely with global leading, best of breed technology providers, Comtec combines technical know-how with experienced managed service capability to deliver complete BC/DR solutions from strategy to continual operation.  Contact us to discuss your requirements.

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