Don't wait for a disaster. Start planning today.
Organizations cannot control whether or not they will be affected by a natural disaster, extended power outage or any other unplanned incident. However, they can ensure their business is prepared to respond to and recover from these events with minimal disruption or impact to their customers.
These types of events disrupt business operations, and they all have the potential to cripple a business if a supporting contingency plan is not in place. So what happens after the worst-case scenario becomes a very real disaster situation? Your business is in a crisis. Can you rely on past practices or processes? Common Disaster Recovery framework is a classic risk management mistake that will impact your organization in both reputation and bottom line. The industry is riddled with numerous failed efforts resulting from monolithic Disaster Recovery implementations.
Failure to Deliver When You Need Your Solution Most, "In a Disaster"
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity are organizational imperatives that reduce IT risk. The primary goal of companies with no tolerance for downtime is to achieve a higher level of business continuity, ensuring your IBM i is always available, no matter the underlying circumstances. Having a fully tested recovery plan in place can increase your credibility as a reliable company that is able to meet service and support commitments following a disaster—giving you a competitive advantage.
How Well Is Your Business Prepared for a Disaster?
Over the past ten years, the Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity landscape has changed dramatically. Where it was once normal practice to back up IT systems to magnetic tape media on a daily basis, most businesses now recognize that this will expose them to unacceptable downtime and data loss.
The irrecoverable damage of lost data is staggering when the financial impact includes the cost of lost revenue, the loss of business progress, and the cost to recreate both if at all possible. The U.S. Bureau of Labor states that 93% of businesses that experience a significant data loss will be out of business in five years. Companies simply do not financially recover from a disaster when there is no fully documented and tested plan integrated into the business.
Disaster recovery planning will help mitigate risks associated with failure of your primary facility. The most important goal is to enable your company to remain in business. If a disaster strikes, your company has everything to lose.
Disaster Recovery Has Evolved—Has Your Business Followed Suit?
Insurance can help fund the recovery, but it cannot service or replace your valued customers. The difference between failure and success in business depends on how well you're prepared for the unexpected. If a disaster struck today, how would your company do?
It is safe to say that disasters come without warning. Traditional DR planning focuses only on how to restore your servers following a catastrophic site loss of your primary computing facility. This means recovering afterward from a natural or man-made event or system failure. Tunnel vision does not address the need for continuous operations of your key business processes. While traditional backup and recovery measures remain important, they are far from adequate in meeting today's need for business resiliency in the 21st century. Traditional tape backup and recovery solutions combined with syndicated hotsite providers located in the same FEMA region are not viable in a regional disaster.
Every organization must examine its risk tolerance to ensure future success in a disaster. These trends and lessons learned from major events such as Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, the Oklahoma tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters will clearly change the future landscape for recovery. Customer satisfaction is paramount. Trying to obtain new customers or convincing the old ones to hang around in a disaster is an uphill struggle if your corporate image has been damaged.
What Is a Disaster?
The textbook definition of a disaster and the direct impact on IT service delivery capabilities is "A sudden, unplanned event that causes great damage and loss to an organization." It's the time factor that determines whether the interruption in IT service delivery is an incident or a disaster. The time factor varies from organization to organization.
Our definition for "what is a disaster?" is rather precise: "Anything that stops your business from functioning and that cannot be corrected within an acceptable amount of time to your customers." Disasters are defined and quantified in time. Time is important from the standpoint of when an interruption occurs and how long the interruption ultimately lasts. Is it an incident or a disaster?
When an interruption occurs, there is an immediate need to evaluate what the potential impact may or may not be. The overall outage caused by the interruption plays a role in defining the event as either a disaster or merely a disruption in IT service delivery. Bottom line is that a disaster is defined as any interruption of mission-critical business process for an unacceptable period of time.
This time-related definition reflects the very nature of a disaster and avoids the problems that frequently arise by only applying categorical adjectives to a disaster. Everyone must take a holistic approach to examining what constitutes a disaster, and examine the business and regulatory impacts to your specific organization.