Combating Myths About Disaster Recovery

Is your company having problems justifying its disaster recovery efforts? Are you getting push back from the financial side about how to accomplish it in a fiscally prudent way? Well, the problem might be misinformation about disaster recovery. Let’s take a look at the myths about disaster recovery and how it might help you get the right program for your organization.

Probably the biggest myth you’re going to hear about disaster recovery is its expensive and devours company resources. As the blog spf13.com points out, “The truth is as technology continues to evolve; the costs associated with disaster recovery continue to fall.  Virtualization, standardization, and automation have all played key roles in making disaster recovery more affordable.”

With that affordability has come the lesser need for humans to get things back up and running again. That helps keep personnel costs lower. The site claims the right discovery strategy, if implemented correctly, could mean only person is necessary. That’s hardly labor intensive.

Another misconception about disaster recovery is it’s little more than a hedge against potential costs. There are still those who don’t see it as an investment but more like a car insurance policy. Lots of people, the thinking goes, drive for years without ever filing a claim. Theoretically they have “wasted” lots of money.

As the site points out, “Even if a disaster never happens, the recovery plan still provides a variety of benefits to the business. One of the most common uses is as a migration plan template anytime a business switches data centers.”

That’s something frequently not understood about disaster recovery plans. They aren’t just for disaster recovery. When done correctly they can be helpful in other planning for an organization – even a small one.

Another issue raised has to do with colocation. Most folks know what that is. But humor me as I explain. It’s where companies have their servers and other devices in a professional data center. The idea is it achieves economies of scale and provides access to more advanced infrastructure. There’s also the belief that it provides greater bandwidth and access to more security.

As Peak10.com observes, “There’s a frequent misperception that if you have a solid offsite backup, you’ve basically got disaster recovery nailed. To be sure, colocation provides a great platform for achieving secure remote backups. But if that’s all you have, you’ve missed some crucial steps.”

The site outlines some of the steps that need to be covered. The first is figuring out what your data recovery preparation needs to be. You also need to identify what your biggest threat is going to be. Some to consider, according to Peak10.com, are: weather and geological events, cybercrime, network outages, power and utility troubles, data corruption, and disease outbreak. The site adds that “disaster recovery” properly puts the emphasis on its second word.  Work with potential providers to ensure that you’ve thought through the recovery process.

Another myth that bean counters might push is a colocation facility doesn’t need to be local if it can effect cost savings. Don’t buy into that myth. Regional colocation centers might be less expensive but look at the myth above our solutions being labor intensive. Making your staff travel a distance to implement data recovery could further extend your company’s down time.

Peak10.com also cites a Garnter study that shows distance works against your data recovery because of it diminishes backup processing speeds. Farther, it says, means slower. Bringing an entire data center back online after a disaster can be further crippled by a slow long-distance line. You may be able to acquire data from around the world in a blink of an eye but you can’t recover all of your data from just anywhere.

The VMWare.com blog says that 75 percent of companies globally do not have either a disaster recovery plan or backup in place. It says some of that may be driven by the belief that downtime doesn’t cost that much and disaster recovery plans are long-term commitments. It resoundingly says both are mistaken beliefs that could cripple your company. That could be the most damaging myth of all.

Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping, About.com, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.