Disaster recovery has already come a long way since the early days. Back in the 1970s, IT systems were mainframe and batch-oriented, with downtime (grudgingly) accepted of a few hours or even a few days. Since then technological advances have led to big changes in DR management. In addition, the Internet catalysed significant social changes that in turn had impacts on the way IT is used. As a result, expectations have changed from the availability of systems to the way information is communicated about problem resolution. Do the following trends now need to be integrated into your own DR planning?

  1. Geographical distancing of disaster recovery facilities. Separate DR recovery sites are a requirement for many organizations. But ‘next building’ solutions don’t protect businesses against area floods, fires or storms. Cloud backup solutions may be a good solution for mitigating this risk.
  2. Geographical limitation of DR. Sounds like a contradiction to the point above? Not really – this is about the need for many entities to now ensure their data do not move out of the same country. Somewhere between too close and too far, the right geographical separation will have to be found.
  3. Use of managed DR services. Increases in speed, size, conformance and complexity are pushing DR beyond the capabilities of many organisations. The entire DR process may be better done by specialized, reliable third party providers. Savings on in-house infrastructure and staff training may also make such managed DR services more cost-effective.
  4. Social media for communications management in DR situations. If your customers, prospects and employees are all constantly online and in touch via social networks, they’ll expect that from your company too. Email and notices on websites are a start, but micro-blogging with viral distribution (Twitter for example) is the ‘gold standard’ for good crisis and DR status information today.

These are some of the bigger waves washing over industry and government. And each sector also has its own specific needs. What have you been putting in place recently – and what positive effects have you seen so far?