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Disaster Recovery Solutions

So you say you have a great backup and restore plan for your business. What is your plan if those tapes go up in smoke along with your business? Backup and restore planning is only the beginning of a good disaster recovery plan. Unfortunately, many businesses don't realize this until it's too late.

Today's businesses rely on data and applications stored on their computers. Yet it is surprising how few of them put together a plan to make sure their business can go on in the face of disaster.

Perhaps the mistake that businesses make is the assumption that they are too small to have to bother with disaster preparation. However, consider this: If a multinational corporation with dozens of offices across the world loses one location to a fire, how easy would it be for them to keep operations going? They probably could go on with little impact on their customers and little risk to their business. Now look at a small business with just one location and a few computers. What happens to them when all their computers and peripheral are stolen? If they're not prepared, there is going to be a major impact on their business and they may not survive it.

The size of your business is not an indication of whether or not you need to prepare for disaster. Instead, it is your business' reliance on the data and applications stored on your computer systems that is an indication that you need to seriously look at your disaster tolerance and how you can make sure that your business can survive.

Another mistake a business may make in preparing for disaster is thinking disasters are unusual. Understand that a disaster can take many forms: Fire, theft, floods, storms, earthquakes, long power outages, user error, virus infection, security breaches and now even terrorism. Anything that can destroy or render your computer resources or data inoperable is a potential disaster.

Despite all this, there are still those who think disaster preparation isn't for them because it's too expensive. There is some merit to this opinion, but often people arrive at this conclusion because they haven't evaluated the cost of not having a disaster recovery plan.

What is your reputation as a business worth? How do you tell a customer that you've lost his order, or record? What happens if you lose your contact information for all your clients, or your suppliers? If you can't provide your service during a disaster, your competitor can. How much will it cost you to win back your customers from your competitors if you do recover? How are you going explain your downtime to your investors, your associates or the news media?

Disaster recovery can be a large expense. Nevertheless, a well-designed plan that takes into account your needs, your budget and the potential damage that can be done to your business by a disaster will be well worth the expense.

Advantages:

  • Protect the future of your business.
  • Minimizes impact of a disaster by reducing downtime.
  • Stops your competitors from an opportunity to capitalize on your misfortune.
  • Protect your client base.
  • Increases the confidence of your associates, clients, investors and business partners.
  • Protect your reputation.

Disadvantages:

  • A poorly thought out plan can be too costly or even worse ineffective.
  • Requires investment in staff resources for planning and implementation.
  • Senior management buy-in is critical to ensure the long term viability of your plan.

How can disaster recovery deliver a good return on your investment?

What is the best approach to proving the ROI of a disaster recovery plan? Start by considering the cost to your business if a disaster strikes. Once you calculate that cost you will be in a better position to build a cost effective solution for your business based upon your actual business needs. It is also imperative that, once you set about to create a plan and implement it, you stick to your plan. If senior management doesn't take an active role in disaster planning and implementation then you are likely to end up with an expensive yet ineffective solution.

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