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Disaster recovery: costs vs minimal disruption

The main obvious benefit of a business continuity plan is to continue business with minimal disruption, says ContinuitySA’s Michael Davies.

The main obvious benefit of a business continuity plan is to continue business with minimal disruption, says ContinuitySA’s Michael Davies.

A majority of organisations (78.95%) have a disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place.

This was one of the key findings of the ITWeb/ContinuitySA disaster recovery survey, which ran on ITWeb Online for 14 days in October, attracting 135 responses.

However, 16.54% of respondents stated they do not have a disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place, while only 4.5% were unsure.

“There are many benefits of having a disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place,” says Michael Davies, MD of ContinuitySA.

“The main obvious benefit is to continue business with minimal disruption. Another benefit is to give clients peace of mind and ensure that delivery to them is reliable. Of course, to maintain or build the reputation of the company is important too.”

The survey also revealed that 66.02% of organisations that do have a disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place said their plans are well communicated throughout their organisations; however, 29.13% revealed that their plans are not well communicated, and 4.85% were unsure.

When asked what the reasons were for organisations not having a disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place, 29.17% stated cost, 8.33% connectivity, and exactly half (50%) selected ‘other’.

“An organisation needs to analyse itself in terms of potential business impacts and risks and then, based on that assessment, the organisation is then able to prioritise exactly what measures need to be put into place with regards to its disaster recovery/business continuity plan,” says Davies.

It also emerged from the survey that 66.13% of organisations experienced power outages/failure issues in the past five years, resulting in their organisations experiencing downtime. Some 52.23% cited system upgrades as the reason for downtime, and 34.69% cited configuration change management issues.

Interestingly, 20.97% of organisations never carry out full scenario testing of their disaster recovery/business continuity plans, while 16.13% do so every six months, 15.32% on a quarterly basis, and 12% only once a year.

“The ideal timeframe will vary from company to company, and from industry to industry, but we would suggest full scenario testing of an organisation’s disaster recovery/business continuity plan takes place twice a year because environments change so quickly in the world today,” Davies advises.

The survey also asked respondents which areas of their organisations use third-party providers; the highest score was for hosting (29.03%), followed by offsite backup (17.74%) and consulting services (13.71%).

The survey also revealed that the biggest concern with putting mission-critical applications in the cloud is security (42.5%), followed by accessibility (20.89%). Some 13.33% of respondents stated that their organisations have no concerns.

“Organisations should perform due diligences on cloud solution providers, including enquiring about their business continuity plans. SLAs should be agreed on between both parties and organisations should make a point of only dealing with reputable companies providing cloud solutions. Also, organisations need to decide what is put in the public cloud and what is put into the private cloud,” Davies concludes.


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