Focus on business continuity instead of disaster recovery

Why preventing downtime events is better than trying to recover from them

Organizations expend tremendous amounts of time and money to develop and implement disaster recovery (DR) strategies. After all, the risk of business disruption is great—and costly. In fact, according to research rm Aberdeen Group, one hour of downtime costs the average company $163,674.141. This is only cost associated with lost labor and revenue. It does not take into consideration intangibles such as tarnished brand and customer attrition.

There is also more at risk: Failure to meet industry or government regulations may result in hefty fines; and loss of business-critical data could compound the financial impact significantly. The question is, how much of a financial hit can an organization tolerate? Given Aberdeen’s findings, even a few minutes of downtime could mean substantial loss. Yet, most DR plans only address large events such as fire, widespread power outage, or natural disaster. While potentially impactful, these events are rare. Much more common are everyday “disasters” such as server failures, memory meltdowns, and human error. In fact, according to Rick Schuknecht of the Uptime Institute 73% of data center downtime is caused by human error.

In its survey, Aberdeen found that the average organization suffered more than two downtime events in a 12-month period, with some downtime events extending for nearly five hours.   Moreover, the process of recovering took nearly as long. Disaster recovery is simply not an appropriate solution for such frequent and disruptive situations. Instead, organizations should be able to work through system faults or site-level problems and avoid any disruption to business operations entirely.