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It’s never fun to plan for something you DON’T want to happen, especially if what you’re planning for can potentially wreak havoc on your business and finances.  However, planning for disasters are necessary.

Why?  Let’s start with an example: Hurricane Katrina.  Louisiana, circa 2005, saw catastrophic destruction that utterly wiped out the communications infrastructure of that whole region- 1,000 wireless towers and 11,000 utility poles were destroyed.  This translated into $400 to $600 million in damages for just the telecommunications sector (not even counting the other businesses who rely on telecommunications to conduct standard operations).  While this is an extreme case, it demonstrates how sudden changes outside of our control can occur, which ultimately become your business, so to speak.

Fundamentally, a disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a set of processes and procedures to recover and protect a business’ IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster.  The base objectives of a DRP are to minimize downtime and data loss.  We work with a number of our clients on managing risk here in St. Louis and Indianapolis- our experience and knowledge really help in this deeper look at how business is propelled by IT.  We work to identify the key business functions and their corresponding IT components that make the functions possible so that business doesn’t have to be disrupted by poor planning or external factors outside of the business’ control.

Now, not every business has a DRP.  Which is risky.  Sometimes this is due to cost or even just not having time to focus on something that doesn’t render immediate payoff (lest a disaster strike!).  Cormac Foster, who is the research Director at GigaOM Research, outlined 5 common mistakes that business make when it comes to dealing with DRP’s… and surprisingly, they serve to support the case for having a strong and up-to-date plan.

  1. Lack of Buy-In: Senior management may have too much going on, so the DRP drops to the bottom of the priority totem pole, or there may be a perception that a DRP is just another tornado drill.
  2. Incomplete RTO’s & RPO’s: “Recovery Time/Point Objectives” convey the maximum amount of time one particular function can be down.  Some functions may not be necessary ASAP, but could cause significantly more damage if left undone (think payroll).
  3. Systems Myopia: Happens when there is too much focus on DR that the other business needs are not taken into account.
  4. Lax Security: When disaster strikes, a business’ processes and data are significantly more vulnerable to threats.
  5. Outdated Plans: Yearly plans are recommended but depending on the business it may be necessary to revisit at additional milestones, such as acquisitions or new product launches.

So as your organization grows, it’s important to have a disaster recovery plan that grows with your business.  Disasters are just that, disastrous (could even be as simple as water damage from a sprinkler system).  And while they’re not pleasant to deal with, a thorough and well documented DRP is essential to keeping the disaster out of your business.  As mentioned earlier, GadellNet helps small businesses in St. Louis and Indianapolis formulate the best plan of action, which sometimes translates to starting small with improved data back-up methods or something much more involved.  Hopefully a DRP ends up being just a fake tornado drill… but if not, GadellNet is just a call or click away.


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