Disaster Recovery and Risk Management – Is There No End to the Worry?

If you listed every single risk that could throw your organization into disaster recovery mode, you would be burning the midnight oil for a week. Mind you, you probably wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway from the worry of trying to figure out how on earth to deal with such risks. A better approach is to eliminate some of the worry.

DR and risk mitigation have the following in common: their cost should never be more than the losses they are designed to avoid. So, stop biting your fingernails about a large aircraft crashing into your one and only data centre – here are some other risks that are much more worth the worry.

Disaster recovery procedures tend to be triggered by hardware failures and human error. Even floods and fires cannot compete in terms of probability of occurrence, although the total damage done might be rather greater.

With different studies (e.g. the San Diego Supercomputer Center) in agreement, human error is the biggest cause of data loss. Training and properly automated backup procedures mitigate this risk, and improve staff productivity into the bargain.

Hardware failures may be brutal (a drive grinds – literally – to a halt) or insidious (recording media gradually deteriorates). Spares, backups, and regular inspection can be inexpensive compared to the potential losses they allow you to avoid.

Of course, there’s always the cloud. Apart from rare outages (rare enough to make headline news if they ever occur), disasters are unlikely and costs can be minimal. So, is the ultimate risk management strategy just to upload everything to the cloud, and put solid disaster backup and recovery procedures in place? Not quite.

You’re not alone in seeing the cloud as a great resource. Any number of your colleagues in marketing, sales, production, you name it, may at this very moment be running their own business activities on applications you never heard of, uploading company data with no notion of risk or recovery. So, the answer to our original question is that, no, the worry has not ended. It’s just different!

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