If you’re like most executives, a natural disaster ranks as one of your worst nightmares. And if it seems like disasters are occurring more often, that’s because they are. Based on inflation-adjusted government tracking, nearly twice as many billion-dollar weather-related disasters have hit the U.S. annually since 2012, as compared to previous periods.

Despite this alarming trend, natural disasters aren’t the leading cause of data center outages and unplanned downtime. UPS failures, cybercrime and human error each account for more than twice as many outages as weather-related events, according to a recent Ponemon Institute report. But whatever the cause, the report shows the stakes are incredibly high, with the total cost of a data center outage averaging $740,000.

These numbers are sobering reminders of the need to always be prepared and on top of your game when it comes to disaster recovery and business continuity. Yet we find that when a hurricane or other disaster strikes, executives can be caught off guard by the breadth and scale of the impact, as well as and how much time, money and resources it takes to fully recover.

What’s at Stake Without Business Continuity?

Do you know how much downtime would cost your business in the event of a disaster? Are your employees so reliant on IT that they can’t be productive without access to your systems and data? How much revenue would be lost if your customers couldn’t make purchases because your electronic cash registers or online stores weren’t working?

Our free downtime calculator will help give you a quick estimate of what a disaster might cost your business in terms of lost revenue and productivity.

Building Business Resilience

With greater awareness of the costs at risk, leaders can focus more attention and resources on taking steps to protect your organization with thorough and well-tested disaster recovery and business continuity planning. Combining these two related disciplines helps build business resilience, which is defined as the ability to quickly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous operations and safeguarding your people, assets and brand value.

Your business continuity plan goes beyond your IT systems to cover contingencies for your entire organization. It determines what steps your company will take before, during and after a disaster to make sure your business continues with as little downtime as possible. A thorough plan covers how you will protect your employees, minimize your losses, and continue to serve your customers.

>> Related:  Disaster Recovery Guide: DR in Virtualized Environments <<

A critical part of your business continuity plan, disaster recovery (DR), is mainly an IT responsibility, but requires support and commitment from the top. Your DR plan should focus on:

1: Preventing a disaster – whether man-made or natural – from affecting your systems
2: Keeping your IT systems running or restoring them as soon as possible if an event happens
3: Preserving and protecting your mission-critical data

Moving From Disaster Recovery Plans to Real Protection

When a Category 4 hurricane or other disaster is headed your way, the peace of mind that comes from having strong disaster recovery and business continuity systems in place is priceless. Fortunately, with the advantages of cloud computing and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), DR is becoming more cost-effective for enterprises as well as small and mid-size businesses. According to Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service report, cost reduction or cost avoidance is a major driver for rapidly increasing customer adoption of DRaaS.

Most important, with an off-site DR provider, your data can be protected and your operations can keep running even if your own servers are underwater or without power. With DRaaS, production environments are restored to the cloud, enabling you to return to operations regardless of the physical state of your site.

In fact, many IT executives are turning to managed service providers because DRaaS can help decrease data loss and improve recovery time. With today’s 24/7/365 expectations, even one hour of downtime or one day of lost data is unacceptable for many companies. But just as different businesses demand different approaches to IT, you’ll want to structure your DR plan to balance costs with your specific needs and risk factors.

Despite concerns about today’s increasing disaster risks, many IT departments struggle to find the time to make disaster recovery planning a priority. That’s one of the other advantages of working with a DRaaS provider. We’ve made it our mission to help reduce your risks by developing DR plans that fit your specific needs and then maintaining those systems so you can focus on maximizing value for your business.

 

As Vice President and General Manager, Jason Black is responsible for managing all aspects of the TierPoint businesses throughout the Great Plains Region of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. These responsibilities include service delivery, customer satisfaction, business/IT needs analysis, solution alignment, financial modeling, budgeting and P&L management.

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