What's at Stake
Imagine Scenario One: an employee accidentally deletes a critical chunk of data. Or, try thinking of Scenario Two: a fire tears through the warehouse where servers are stored. In both of these situations, the company's data has been jeopardized and the business cannot continue its regular operations. Consider the disastrous repercussions if this business does not have a disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place:
- Time - Staff are immediately taken away from their typical role to mitigate the situation. This time-suck goes beyond IT engineers; administrative staff and account managers must communicate with clients in a timely manner while trying to keep business moving.
- Money - The investment in the "insurance" of a disaster recovery plan pales in comparison to the possible loss of business, damage to IT infrastructure, and loss of irreplaceable data. Even a "small" data breach can cost $20,000 or more.
- Effort - Projects that are in progress may be set all the way back to the start if their data is lost. Almost more demoralizing than the time & money lost is the frustration of staff who need to recreate their work.
- Data - Consider not only the loss of irreplaceable data, but also its potential corruption.
- Reputation - A poorly handled IT disaster can tarnish the reputation with clients who fear they, too, are at risk. Negative press and word-of-mouth can deter potential new clients who seek a reliable, secure company.
Preparedness is key
IT staff and IT providers should work in conjunction to prepare for potential data disasters.
The Limits of Engineering
Engineers can build a strong, resilient IT environment with checks, balances, and alerts. They can monitor for vulnerabilities. But they cannot predict what will fail and when. Even the most talented IT staff cannot predict the future, whether human-caused (an employee accidentally deletes a massively important piece of data) or natural (a fire tears through the warehouse where servers are stored). DR technology should be implemented as part of the puzzle that forms your business continuity plan.
Practice "Fire Drills"
As Matt Holford explains in his article, Fire Drills for Software Teams, preparation for a potential disaster must include education & practice for the engineering team. Business continuity doesn't just rely on the right technology to recover lost data; it requires educated people and proper procedures, too. A prepared IT staff practices a "fire drill": they carry out DR procedure to iron out the kinks before an actual disaster occurs. The strongest business continuity plan will combine technology, people, and procedure to ensure the best outcome in case of disaster.