The missing disaster recovery link

Impact analysis - the missing disaster recovery link
Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas, Contributor

The recent spate of fires, and an ongoing percieved threat from terrorism has certainly raised the level of interest in corporate disaster recovery, but not necessarily increased the levels of protection and redundancy in company networks, according to Terry Carter, general marketing manager at Fujitsu Australia.

Having focused on services provision in a previous role within Fujitsu, Carter is aware of the mistakes companies often make in the creation of a disaster recovery plan.

"Disaster recovery is really about understanding the business requirement, and doing a complete impact analysis," Carter said. "A business needs to know not only how long it can survive under alternative approaches to data processing but how these can then be integrated back into their normal systems once they have recovered access."

Carter said the principal mistake made by most companies when conducting the initial analysis is in failing to understand the way different systems relate to each other, especially when the plan focuses on specific systems within an organisation.

"You can define cold, warm and hot back-up environments, and treat each of these separately, but still fail to realise how they affect each other's performance," Carter said.

While Carter conceded the cost associated with disaster recovery increased steeply in "always on" scenarios, he said the degree of protection set in place needed to match the value of the service it was protecting.

"When looking at the expense associated with systems that will keep you in business in the case of an emergency, you have to consider how expensive it would be not to be in business," Carter said. "Survival is a pretty drastic word, but that is what it comes down to at the end of the day."

Pointing to a "heightened awareness" of disaster recovery issues in recent times, Carter pointed said the main industries taking a serious approach to disaster recovery were those governed by specific industry requirements.

"The banking industry, for example, has to provide assurance its systems will remain online during emergencies," Carter said. "Eventually insurance premiums will make a difference also, as insurers are always looking at way to mitigate their risk, and will take disaster recovery procedures into account. However, at this stage the only companies seriously focussing on disaster recovery have been working on their approach for some time."

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