While most businesses recognize the importance of having a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place, many do not invest in the kind of comprehensive protection they need. The reason for this is simple: cost.
It’s true that DR plans require an investment to create and maintain. Though it may seem that the money could be better spent elsewhere, consider this fact: The Ponemon Institute has found that every minute of system downtime costs businesses an average of $5,600.
Viewed in that light, the cost of a disaster recovery plan is negligible compared to what it would cost for an organization’s computer system to be down for any length of time.
Creating a partnership with a data security company is a smart and worthwhile investment. However, not all data security companies are created equal. As with any other decision, businesses must do some research before making a choice.
There are five questions that any organization should ask a DR provider before committing:
- What measures do you use to assess the unique needs and risks that our organization faces? Disaster recovery companies must display an ability to address the specific needs of the organizations that they protect and the critical applications those organizations need to function properly. Risk profiles vary from application to application, and what would be a minor annoyance to one business could be crippling to another.
- What protections to do you provide, and what level of protection do you offer for specific applications? The advent of cloud-based DR means that organizations do not need to subscribe to “one size fits all” DR models. As part of the assessment process, organizations and DR companies should work together to identify solutions that optimize cost-benefit propositions.
- What exactly happens to protected data in the event of an emergency or disaster? Ideally, important data shouldn’t just be backed up; it should be encrypted and secured. Make sure that the DR provider offers this type of protection, particularly for proprietary information and valuable intellectual property.
- What degree of flexibility does your contract offer? Scalability and flexibility are key. As businesses grow and change, so should their disaster recovery models. Make sure that the DR firm offers easy and efficient transitions to address changing needs.
- What types of emergencies and disasters can you protect us from? Different emergency situations will compromise data and productivity in different ways. Some events may cause only minor disruptions, while others could be catastrophic without the right kind of protection in place. Work with a DR provider to create a comprehensive plan that anticipates varied courses of action for specific situations.
Finally, remember that it is important for businesses to maintain an ongoing dialogue with DR service providers. In the event of an emergency, the last thing that any organization wants is to deal with information security surprises.