Disaster Recovery – the Truth is Out There

There are statistics, there is business folklore and there are facts about disaster recovery. Some of the statistics quoted may not always be easy to trace back to their source, but it remains a fact that to stay in business, you need to be able to do business. That’s why good disaster recovery planning and management are so important. A recent report from Quorum entitled ‘Disaster Recovery Report Quarter 1 – 2013’ provides an updated point of view. It also quotes a few thought-provoking statistics that should motivate organisations to review and improve their own DR plans and policies.

For example, how long do you think that system downtime typically lasts in an organisation? Estimates often range from one to ten hours, but a survey of IT managers suggested a figure of 30 hours was more representative (Harris Interactive). Likewise, the cost of one hour of downtime for a mid-sized business is given to be around $70,000, which would buy rather more hours of consulting time from a competent consultancy for good disaster recovery planning and even disaster prevention. Add to this a further statistic from Symantec that only 28 percent of SMBs have tested their data backups, and even as ‘order of magnitude’ estimates, the amount of money, business and value at risk becomes even more evident.

Potential causes of disasters are also listed with hardware failure as the number one reason for downtime, followed by human error and software failure in that order. Natural disasters come in at the fourth position. These are overall statistics and individual organisations may experience different priorities. However, whatever the dangers faced by businesses or agencies, preventative actions seem cheap by comparison with the cost of curing disasters. In other words, good planning for the (inevitable?) disaster that will occur at some time becomes a remarkably attractive investment to prevent the losses associated with downtime or even the possibility of permanent breakdown.