There is no shortage of hardware and software products to help enterprises with their IT, but when it comes to disaster recovery planning, vendors may not be the best placed to advise. The most effective DR also means having the right people taking the right actions at the right time, something that transcends the possibilities of machines and automation. Both dimensions, human and machine, need to be taken into account. Conversely, vendor promises that their solution is ‘all you need for DR’ should be taken with a good pinch of salt.

Good disaster recovery planning includes provision for team training. The aims are multiple: avoid disasters where possible; checking that IT routines and solutions remain relevant and operational; and adjust recovery tactics in real time as required in disaster situations. Like information security, in DR advanced people capability and basic technology is often preferable to advanced technology but only basic people capability. People know what the specific objectives are for their organisation and can adapt and apply different solutions accordingly. Vendor disaster recovery offerings offer the potential to help, but are not by themselves a magic bullet that removes the need for the customer organisation to think for itself.

Smart vendors know that their commercial impact will be greater if they can demonstrate to a customer that they understand the specific challenges to be addressed. Working with a vendor that’s on the ball and that relates to your own particular requirements can facilitate the disaster recovery planning process. Delegation of responsibility can however only be done to people who can prove they have your firm’s best interests at heart. Typically, that either means a dedicated team of consultants or your own internal DR task force. So encourage vendors to better comprehend your specific needs. Keep in mind nonetheless that they may not always have had the same benefit of DR training or practical DR experience that you have had.