IT Operations professionals are faced with the constant worry of threats such as IT outages, power failures, and disasters. During challenging financial times IT Operations is finding it more difficult to secure the funding needed for disaster recovery from management.
Disaster recovery preparedness can run into millions of dollars depending of the level of continuity you desire and the size of your company. Since the ROI is often seen as how to avoid what might happen, management is often unwilling to properly fund these efforts.
Given the potential loss to the business should such disaster or even a power outage occur IT operations should approach management with facts and cost effective solutions.
- Conduct a business impact study and risk assessment.
- Calculate the cost of downtime to the business for various scenarios. Not just disasters. You are more likely to be hit with a power outage, hardware failure or network failure than a tornado.
- Clearly define recovery objectives. What level of continuity do you seek? What are your recovery priorities?
- Identify all of the likely risks to your IT technologies and examine the effect the loss of them for any period of time will have on your company.
- Develop or improve your DR plan according to what you determined your risks and priorities to be.
- The DR plan should have step by step plans to bring back up IT services. Remember you can’t just throw the switch. Learn the interdependencies of each IT service and in what order they should be brought back up.
- Setup a regular DR testing schedule. If you do not test it you do not know it works. Regular testing will allow you to improve your overall DR plan, expose flaws and new risks that had not been determined.
- Look for cost effective technologies and services that can be used to lower to total cost of disaster recovery.
Armed with a solid disaster recovery plan and the costs of various scenarios present your case to management. Explain how it will give your business a competitive advantage to have a properly funded disaster recovery program. Show them the costs and impact to the business bottom line should disaster recovery not be properly funded. Emphasis the losses for power outages or interruptions to vital services without redundancy since these are the most likely scenarios you will encounter. Explain how disaster recovery is not just investing in what could happen, but investing in what will happen.