For IT managers responsible for recovery after an IT incident, DR is often anything but a game. After all, with so many businesses critically dependent on their IT, any attempt to make RTO and RPO “fun” might seem seriously out of place. Yet gamification might be a smart move for organisations in which IT is being devolved to individual business units and employees. When users start to store business data on their personal mobile computing devices, they don’t always respond to stern injunctions to perform backups. On the other hand, making DR routines amusing or giving them a sense of achievement could appeal.

Research company Gartner predicted that by 2015 gamification would be the main lever used by 40% of Fortune 1000 companies to improve business operations. The US supermarket chain Target has made gamification part of the cashier check-out routine. A red or green signal indicates if the cashier scans an article in the optimal time. Why not have a similar system to help BYOD users to perform data backups at the right frequency? Or to run antivirus scans? Although software may have reminders built in, the fun factor and point-scoring mechanisms aren’t always present.

Paradoxically perhaps, the very people who think DR doesn’t allow for fun may be the people to design a gamification system for DR for the others. Gamification has to be digital if it is to be automated and efficient. And digital means programmed, which in turn suggests the IT department. The IT department will have to put aside any prejudices and think about what end-users really need to be and stay safe from a data perspective. But as any professional entertainer will tell you, getting people to have fun is a serious business – which might just allow the IT department to avoid any cognitive dissonance in aligning gamification with disaster recovery.