Disaster recovery options

When is in-house disaster recovery the right fit for an enterprise?

Many organization officials today are choosing to bring all or some of their traditional or cloud-based disaster recovery services in-house. This is a reasonable choice for companies in highly regulated industries that must adhere to specific recovery requirements, as well as for enterprises that have the infrastructure, expertise and resources necessary to implement and maintain the systems needed to meet their disaster recovery requirements.

How do I measure the benefits, costs and risks of in-house disaster recovery?

Often, company leaders look to in-house disaster recovery in the hopes of saving money and wielding greater control over their infrastructure and information. While do-it-yourself can yield positive business outcomes, many business leaders report that the do-it-yourself approach created a number of unanticipated challenges. Forrester’s 2013 study on the risks of “in-house” disaster recovery showed top challenges for a surveyed peer group.

Five questions you should ask before choosing in-house disaster recovery:

  • Do we have the expertise in-house needed to run and maintain an effective disaster recovery program?

    In-house resources are needed to manage the hardware, software and business processes required to recover critical systems within established time frames. More than one-third of respondents in Forrester’s survey indicated that this was a challenge for them.

  • Can we ensure the ongoing funding to make the program successful?

    Almost 40% of Forrester’s survey respondents indicated that this is a top challenge. The proportion of IT budgets spent on business continuity/disaster recovery is at an all-time high. In 2012, enterprises spent on average 6.2% of their IT budgets on business continuity/disaster recovery, and 28% of firms spent 6% - 10% of their budgets on business continuity/disaster recovery.

  • Can we dedicate proper resources to the program?

    The need for human resources devoted to business continuity/disaster recovery support is on the rise. On average, peer companies in the Forrester study employed more than 31 FTEs dedicated to supporting their business continuity/disaster recovery programs.

  • Can we ensure a consistent testing and exercise regimen?

    Forrester’s study indicated that 48% of companies surveyed assessed their level of testing and exercise as "inadequate." In addition to testing being too infrequent, Forrester’s survey found that 59% of firms were not entirely satisfied with the outcome of the tests performed.

  • Will we be able to keep focus for continuous improvement on the program?

    Respondents to Forrester’s study said lack of focus is the top challenge for organizations running disaster recovery in-house. "Lack of focus on [disaster recovery] relative to other IT projects" topped the list — more than half of the respondents indicated that this is one of their top three challenges.

Assess before you build

Outsourcing options typically fall into two major categories—traditional off-site services and cloud-based solutions. Before committing resources to a do-it-yourself recovery system that may not meet your needs, consider whether outsourcing to an external expert might save you time, money and complications in the long term.

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