The old adage, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” has never been more true than in the growing data-rich corporate market space of the 21st century. With business moving more and more into substantial data dependence, the importance of planning for complete disaster recovery has increased to unprecedented levels. And yet many business are failing to plan for the worst of all possible scenarios.

Disaster recovery comes in two different forms which can be utilized individually or together. The first is the zone or domain level data recovery. This type of recovery platform can often be expensive because of the nature of the amount of hardware and system administration necessary. However, this type of recovery can be created within a cloud platform, greatly reducing the cost and helping to ensure protection.

The second form of disaster recovery is regional, where a number of zones can be managed with a single recovery system. This is more cost effective, but can include more technical complexities due to scalability. Taken in tandem, these two options allow for a planned back up of a back up, allowing for certainty in recovery, in spite of the issues facing each option.

Second, companies must consider whether their goals for disaster recovery are within the scope of possibility. For example, Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) must be discussed in detail in order to rightly know how best to approach a solution. If a company is anxious about having a recovery time in just a few seconds, such a recovery will cost far more than a simple system that allows for a turnaround.

A couple of considerations must be understood as well. The recovery time objective (RTO) – that is, how much data can be lost and still keep the system functionally in control? Again, an RTO in the range of just a second or less will require a far greater cost than one that provides for a backup recovery point within a few minutes.

These considerations, coupled with a cost/benefit analysis, can be weighed to evaluate the best way for managing the planning for a disaster recovery system. The potential options are to have a dual site constantly running, and prepared for immediate use at any time, a warm site that is only updated at regular intervals, and a ‘cold’ site that is simply the shell and structure, and would require a substantial migration in order to achieve full functionality. Each of these options contain, implicitly, a cost/benefit analysis that companies must undertake in order to make the best choices.

Regardless of the type of business or the data/website needs for that business, having a disaster recovery plan is critical for business owners in the 21st century. Companies that fail to make concrete plans with clear objectives, and really just fulfilling the old adage and are planning to fail.

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