Executives are confident in disaster recovery programs, but IT isn’t

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There has always been somewhat of a divide between IT and C-level executives on technology matters. One recent survey shows the latest cause for concern: Executives think their disaster recovery program will be sufficient, but IT isn’t so sure. 

Evolve IP surveyed both groups about the unpleasant topic of what would happen in the case of a disaster that affected company data or IT infrastructure. It found that 68% of executives believe they are very prepared for disaster, but only 44% of IT pros felt the same way. And 46% thought they were only somewhat prepared for disaster.

Of course no one is fully prepared for a disaster. By its very definition, this type of event will be a disruption, and likely a major one.

What helps companies prepare

One factor that helps determine whether companies will survive or thrive following a disaster seems to be to what extent they’re required to plan ahead. The study notes that certain industries that have mandates to comply with laws do better at disaster recovery than others. For instance:

  • 67% in the banking industry said they felt very prepared and 97% said DR compliance was a requirement, and
  • 58% in government felt very prepared with 74% citing compliance as a requirement.

Meanwhile, educational institutions were some of the least well-prepared for disaster. Only 38% of them felt very prepared for a disaster, and just 52% said DR plans were a requirement.

How they’re approaching the problem

Just as there were a wide variety of DR confidence, there was also a wide variety of methods used to prep for disaster. About a third of companies were using tape backups, an old standby that is likely being stretched to its limit by the massive amounts of data companies are now able to store. Eighteen percent have turned to the cloud for their DR.

Almost half of companies (46.5%) have a mirrored co-location for their data centers. But a third of those had their co-location within 50 miles of the primary one, which could spell trouble in the event of a large-scale disaster affecting an entire region.

That’s not a far-fetched idea, according to survey respondents’ own take on DR. The kinds of disasters companies worried most about included:

  • hardware failure of server issues (48%)
  • miscellaneous power outages (28%)
  • environmental disasters (25.5%)
  • human error (19%)
  • deliberate attacks (13%)
  • software failure (11.5%), and
  • backup/restore failure 8%).

Review and adapt plans

Disaster recovery can be one of the easiest things to slip through the cracks. If you haven’t needed it, chances are your plan hasn’t changed too much since it was first formed. But waiting to address your plans could be a big mistake.

Options are changing for disaster recovery. Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS), as Evolve IP refers to it, is growing in popularity. Three-in-ten companies are looking to this possibility for DR in the coming two years.

If you haven’t looked into DR options lately, make plans to do so immediately. Be sure to consider:

  1. potential blind spots or inefficiencies in your current plan
  2. whether a new plan, added backup options or neither are appropriate for your organization
  3. the potential costs of new plans vs. costs of downtime, and
  4. who the key stakeholders in your plan are, and what assets need to be protected.