Business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans come at a cost that some businesses are unwilling to foot; however, failure to do so can be even more costly.
In the second week of March 2021, there was a fire at cloud provider OVH’s data center complex in Strasbourg, France. It entirely destroyed one unit, damaged another and caused the shutdown of the rest of the units on site. Thankfully, nobody was hurt and OVH has been working since on restoring service.
Fires like the one OVH suffered are certainly not common, but they do happen. So do other kinds of disasters, such as catastrophic weather events, man-made destruction, pandemics, and the list goes on and on. In this particular instance, a lot of companies and the services they offer went offline. For some of them, their data is gone. Irretrievable.
For all of them, their business is disrupted and every day they are offline is money lost. It is likely some of these companies did not have BC/DR plans.
Why not? Well, because BC/DR is expensive, time consuming, and is a lot like insurance – planning for events and eventualities that may never come to pass. There are also some other common misconceptions that non-IT employees often have. These include:
- It’s in the cloud, it can’t be lost/go down, right?
- We do business with Amazon/Google/Microsoft, they back our stuff up, right?
- IT takes care of that, right?
- BC/DR is too expensive!
- That will never happen here.
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BC/DR is a must have
It’s time for business managers outside of IT to realize that having detailed and tested BC/DR plans is part of their basic fiduciary duty to the company, like liability insurance. BC/DR is not optional, an extended downtime or data loss could end the company or significantly wound it. Furthermore, a BC/DR plan that is underfunded, under-planned, outdated, or untested is functionally worthless.
Every part of the business needs to coordinate with IT around BC/DR. Every line of business and its executives need to be part of the planning, testing, budget and constant updates to the BC/DR plan.
This is fundamental business planning, not a function that can be just shoved off onto IT; it needs to involve everyone. The mandate needs to come from the highest executive level. Communication with all employees needs to happen, telling them why they are creating a comprehensive BC/DR plan and how they are expected to support and contribute, even if it’s just in a small way. Any scoffing or doubt cast on the project needs to be swiftly repudiated.
Cloud to the rescue
There is help for BC/DR out there. All the major cloud providers are prepared to help and there are any number of companies and outside firms that specialize in BC/DR services and consulting. It can be done and after creation and testing, updating is a much easier process.
Yes, it will take time and money. But business has to stop treating BC/DR as an optional expense. The Covid-19 pandemic should have taught this lesson in abundance, but some are still acting as if disasters and disruptions are too rare to plan for in any detail. Don’t fall for it and get the peace of mind and business security that a proper BC/DR plan can bring.