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Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Opinion

When Testing Disaster Recovery Plan, It Helps to Count Seconds as Dollars

The effect of downtime costs on your disaster recovery planning

Despite the vast amount of useful data protection advice available online, too many companies are still cutting corners when it comes to their business continuity plans.

Although nearly every company backs up their critical business data continuously or on a daily basis, a significant portion of these organizations have never tested their backups. (This is especially true of smaller organizations)

In fact, it's recommended that you run a full data disaster simulation drill at least once per year. After testing your backups, you might discover certain unexpected problems such as:

  • The data takes too long to restore
  • End users forgot to back up the PST files from their MS Outlook
  • The SQL server hasn't been properly backed up in years
  • Users have been saving files to a folder that wasn't outlined in the backup policy

Unless you've actually run a full system recovery using your backups, it's impossible to know if your files have been properly protected. It's better to catch these issues early on, than to discover them in a real-life emergency situation.

When performing these disaster recovery drills, it's also important to track the restore times. And since every second of system downtime can cost money for the company, it's also a good idea to measure downtime as a function of real-time productivity and revenue costs.

One tool that can help with this process is the free Downtime Cost Calculator, available at http://downtimecost.com. It works on both iPod and Android smartphones. This calculator was designed and developed by our company (http://storagepipe.com) as a means of assisting with the disaster recovery testing process.

When you place dollar values to the elements of your business continuity plan, it becomes easier to justify increases in IT spending to other stakeholders within the company.

If you haven't already tested your system backups, mark a date on your calendar for a thorough disaster recovery drill. You may be surprised to see that your current backups weren't protecting you as well as you had hoped they were. But at least now you can fix it before it's too late.

More Stories By Steven Rodin

Storagepipe Solutions are a leading provider of online data protection for business. Services include business continuity, email archiving, data archiving, and online backup.