Back in 2007, Computerworld published an article about data disaster horror stories. There was an ant-infested hard drive in Thailand: insect-repellent spray killed off the ants and the drive.

There was also a digital camera whose parachute failed to open, and whose innards and memory stick shattered on impact with the ground; a disaster recovery challenge of epic proportions. But after rewinding a decade, suppose we fast forward a decade instead. In 2026, will we realize how ridiculous the following DR mistakes were in 2016?

Here’s a list of 10 DR mistakes that are being made today.

  1. Having people manually backup data files. Now employees are storing critical data on smartphones. Have you automated backup from those devices?
  2. Omitting to test real recovery from backups. You mean, you didn’t actually test that it worked? Imagine how laughable this approach will be in hindsight – and is also today.
  3. Overly trusting your cloud provider. Big players still have outages: you’d be foolish to just assume cloud backup is all you need.
  4. Neglecting to back up non-central, but critical data. Shadow IT and shadow data are realities. Do you have a workable DR plan in place?
  5. Skipping the backup for your backup plan. Don’t stop at plan A, or even at plan B, if you really want to be sure.
  6. Forgetting to perform acceptance testing after recovery. Today’s interconnected virtual machines must be restored to work together, not just on their own.
  7. Missing training for those who must follow the DR plan. Scrambling to make sense of the plan only when disaster strikes is itself a recipe for disaster.
  8. Failing to plan disaster recovery communications with employees. Your brilliant DR plan is useless if employees don’t know everything is up and working again.
  9. Treating disaster recovery as set-it-and-forget-it. The faster technology changes, the more frequently you need to update your plans.
  10. Limiting IT disaster recovery to the IT department. With mobile, cloud and shadow IT, whole organization must pay attention to effective DR.

Will it take 10 years for you to improve your disaster recovery to ensure none of these mistakes will ever happen again?