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Planning before disaster strikes somehow counterintuitive

by on May 15, 2012

It seems only logical that you would build your defenses before an enemy invasion, or work on the walls of your house before you tried to put the roof on, or really just put your pants on before you tried to zip and button them, but for some reason businesses insist on not building up their disaster recovery or properly checking that the system is in place and working effectively before a dangerous event happens.

A review of disaster preparedness in the Eastern hemisphere, specifically the business continuity practices of Asia and Japan after last year’s intense earthquakes and tsunami, found that many of them were struggling to pick up the pieces despite media management and backup tape solutions. More than 80 percent of businesses aren’t confident they’ll be able to recover their data, even though 44 percent are using tape management. Most cited hardware failures as the reason for not getting their systems back online in a timely fashion, causing increasing amounts of lost productivity and cutting business output and revenue.

Other Japanese companies have found success in getting their operations back online quickly. Toyota actually expects to triple their profits almost directly thanks to disaster recovery. Due to their preparedness, the auto manufacturer was able to resume production quickly and is now putting out more than a third more product than it had prior to the fallout in order to make up for lost time. Even if a business stumbles in other areas, it should recognize that one of the most valuable assets it has when it comes to day-to-day function is the data stored in computers and servers. Leaving it out in the open means there may be no way to get things running again if something like a flood or power surge were to damage physical hardware.

Putting a business back together after a terrible natural disaster can be a difficult process, but the alternative can often mean totally closing the company’s doors if there can’t be any data recovery. The fact that more than 50 percent of companies insist on not reviewing their disaster recovery plans until after an incident occurs seems counterintuitive. It could be an awareness issue, or simply a matter of not giving the IT budget enough balance. EMC found more than a quarter of business only spend 5 percent or less on information recovery plans.

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