Jan 5, 2015
Effective disaster recovery (DR) is a top concern for many businesses, yet few small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are prepared for when major IT outages occur.
These are the findings of a recent report conducted by Dimensional Research, which revealed just 7 per cent of 450 IT professionals believed their SMEs could be up and running again within two hours of a disaster.
This was despite 79 per cent of companies experiencing a significant systems failure within the last two years. Nine in 10 respondents said they have multiple backup and recovery tools in place, but 91 per cent of these admitted the complexity of their setup causes problems.
Among the issues cited were higher costs in maintenance and licenses, the difficulty in overseeing numerous vendors and the steep learning curve associated with utilizing several different solutions at once.
However, it appears real-time replication features are popular, with the research showing 60 per cent of businesses have DR tools that offer duplicate functionality.
Growth in cloud DR expected
Relatively few organizations currently hosted core systems in the cloud, although nearly 90 per cent of respondents feel there is value in cloud-based DR.
Businesses listed various benefits for placing DR processes in the cloud, including:
In addition, over half of companies were more confident they could recover from a major incident within two hours if they used cloud solutions.
While nearly three-quarters of enterprises said they currently have a secondary DR site in a physical location, 79 per cent of them admitted they would move to the cloud if the resources were available.
Risks of poor disaster recovery
Major IT systems failures can be debilitating for small firms. The American Sustainable Business Council and Small Business Majority calculated that downtime from an extreme weather event costs SMEs approximately $3,000 a day.
Dimensional Research's study, which was commissioned by Axcient, said the blame for lost data will often fall on mid-level IT staff. In fact, 50 per cent of those polled said job losses were possible in these circumstances.
However, there is often a disconnect between the business and IT departments regarding DR expectations and actual capabilities.
Anton Els, product manager and architect for Dbvisit, said it is important for IT teams to discuss recovery functions regularly with executives to ensure everyone is on the same page.
"Whereas the IT department may feel the organization can afford a few hours of downtime and lose a certain amount of data, the business side may give a completely different story," he stated.
"For them, two hours of downtime could be problematic because of the multiple areas it could affect in terms of productivity."
Focusing on DR in 2015
Companies face an ever-increasing number of threats to their business, whether it's natural disasters becoming more frequent, malicious attacks from cyber criminals or traditional issues such as human error. This emphasizes the importance of investing in comprehensive DR solutions, such as innovative standby databases that can minimize downtime and data loss.
Protecting IT systems will not only save organizations considerable time and money in the event of a disaster, but it also maintains brand reputation and share value. However, formulating a sophisticated DR plan is just part of the process.
"You can never do enough testing," Mr Els stated. "Test all the apps, every interface and make sure it's fully functional."
"If you think you've done enough testing - do more testing, because if disaster strikes you want to know that what you have documented will work."